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The Teaching App at the Head of the Class

Remind pushes smartphone messages to students and parents

As kids head back to school, a relatively unknown mobile app is rocketing toward the top of the most-downloaded lists for both Apple’s and Google’s app stores. Remind isn’t a game or social network—it’s a texting tool used in many parts of the U.S. to establish stronger lines of communication among teachers, students, and their parents.

About 1 million teachers and 17 million parents and students have downloaded Remind, a free app developed by a San Francisco startup of the same name. In such states as Texas, Alabama, and Georgia, 40 percent to 50 percent of teachers use the software, the company says. Educators can update homework assignments, solicit volunteers for field trips, and send photos from the classroom without having to count on paper handouts making their way into and out of backpacks or on parents regularly checking their e-mail.