This content was commissioned by SchoolCircle, an app designed for smarter parent-teacher communication. SchoolCircle is doing a $5000 school giveaway–find more info here.

Teacher-parent communication is, ideally, a two-way street.

It is best thought of in terms of purpose:

  • Why do teachers and parents need to talk?
  • How can learning experiences be designed that require that interaction?
  • What systems can be put in place to respond when the communication–for whatever reason–doesn’t happen?

Apps and technology are secondary in terms of design, but once that curriculum–and those learning models–are in place to really benefit from close parent-teacher communication, then apps like the following can come in handy.

5 Adjustments To Make When Communicating With Parents Online

Communicating with parents online–through apps, social media, text, etc.–requires a few adjustments on your part, including:

1. Be careful use of tone–nothing that can be misinterpreted, especially snark and sarcasm.

2. Use clear and concise language.

3. Positive communication should be more frequent than other.

4. Consider more diverse function–celebration of learning, communication of needs, and so on.

5. Know your audience. Watch what is shared when, and with whom. This is probably obvious enough, but don’t share student info X with parent Y.

See Ten Tips To Connect With Parents Via Social Media for further reading.

  1.  Remind: Safe Classroom Communication

    Remind: Safe Classroom Communication

    Remind (formerly Remind101) offers teachers a free, safe and simple way to instantly text students and parents. Teachers can send or schedule reminders, assignments, homework, assessments, or motivational messages directly to students’ and parents’ phones. Interactions are safe because phone numbers are always kept private, and messages are sent with no open replies. Teachers, students and parents can see messages from all their classes in one place.

    For students and parents, Remind provides an easier way to stay informed outside of the classroom. Students and parents can download the app and opt-in to receive messages faster with push notifications, so they never miss a beat!

    Use Remind to send free text messages to save time, engage students and involve parents with your class. Try it today! And if you love it, share it with your colleagues or write a review!

    BUZZFEED: 25 Clever Classroom Tips for Elementary School Teachers
    “Use the Remind (formerly Remind101) app to communicate with kids and their parents without having to exchange phone numbers”

    POWER TO TEACH: “With students carrying smartphones everywhere they go, using Remind as a tool to communicate with them just makes sense, especially when it is free and the privacy of everyone involved in protected.”

    PARENTING: According to a study conducted by Harvard University, on average, teacher-family communication increased the odds a student completed their homework by 42 percent and decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students’ attention to the task at hand by 25 percent. Parent-teacher communication is clearly key to a student’s success, and Remind can help.

    Note: Remind is only available in English. Stay tuned for more languages!

  2. Communication for Groups – teams, work projects, class lists, sport clubs, organizations and more

    Communication for Groups - teams, work projects, class lists, sport clubs, organizations and more

    Quick & easy setup of any size groups with voice, text and email communication with any or all group members, even those without a smartphone!. Ringya – Real Groups, Real Communications, Real Easy!

    Use Ringya to:
    ◆ Easily create any size groups; just snap a picture or email a file and you’re done!
    ◆ Call, text, email and chat with individuals, groups and subgroups
    ◆ Group chat that everyone gets even if they don’t have Ringya
    ◆ Know who’s call you and how they fit into your world (e.g. Dan, Mike’s dad, Grade 2)
    ◆ Search by title or role to find people even if you don’t remember their name
    ◆ Great for work teams, parents, teachers, communities, clubs and more

    Ringya is the first communication solution especially created for groups like work teams, class lists parents, sports clubs, community organizations, and other institutions. This comprehensive solution supports individual and group communication including one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many group communication from mobile to desktop including voice calls, text messaging, live chat and email.

    Ringya is great for parents. With Ringya, parents can get in-touch with other school class or kindergarten parents to:
    * Reach a new friend’s parent to schedule a playdate without searching for that fridge list
    * Find a parent to help with pick-up when you’re stuck in a traffic jam
    * Let team members know a game venue has moved due to weather conditions
    * Invite / remind of your kids birthday party via text or email in just one click
    * Share entire contact lists with others – e.g. Babysitters, Cleaners
    * Chat with other parents

    Teachers and educators can:
    * Remind parents about field trips, homework or upcoming school class activities
    * Get feedback from parents and discuss class issues using the message board
    * Chat with other teachers about school or class activities

    Be the office Hero! Project managers, office admins and team members can:
    * Create a mobile office directory or company directory
    * Update about project or team meeting
    * Make sure everyone has all the team or project contact info handy
    * Chat with colleagues and team members

    PTA, PTSA, PTO and school or kindergarten staff can:
    * Publish the school directory or specific class directories in a smartphone version
    * Make staff contact information easily available to parents
    * Manage PTA and PTO teams efficiently as Ringya groups

    Communities and religious groups such as a church or a temple can:
    * Increase the sense of community by allowing community members to interact with each other
    * Announce community events and make sure everyone gets such announcements even if they don’t have Ringya or a smartphone at all

    Clubs (reading clubs, biking clubs, running groups and the like) can:
    * Help members keep in touch with each other
    * Use the Ringya message board to announce activities
    * Coordinate club events

    Homeowners associations can:
    * Publish a residents’ directory on the smartphone
    * Make announcements and facilitate group discussions
    * Send alters in case of emergency

    Coaches and sport teams can:
    * Easily send messages and announcements to all team members
    * Coordinate last minute schedule changes using the built-in message board
    * Allow players and team members to easily call, text, email and chat with each other
    * For younger children (e.g. little league) update parents about team achievements and activities

    Restaurants and other shift oriented establishments can:
    * Manage and share shift assignments
    * Quickly find a replacement when someone calls in sick
    * Update shift managers about new staff and assignments

    Families can:
    * Create an always up-to-date extended family directory which all family members can update and any change is updating everyone
    * Create a family emergency list and share with nanny, babysitters and extended family members
    * Use the built in message board to keep in touch and coordinate extended family activities

  3.  SchoolCircle | Parent-teacher communication made easy

    SchoolCircle | Parent-teacher communication made easy

    SchoolCircle streamlines teacher-parent communication so teachers can do away with the administrative “busywork” that takes up so much of their time.

    No more confusing email threads, lost paper flyers, and unnoticed sign-up sheets – SchoolCircle organizes all teacher communication in a convenient online hub, while parents get daily and weekly email reminders for everything they need. Everyone stays in the loop, and teachers have more time to focus on their students.

    Features
    – Powerful Sharing – Easily share documents, tasks, events and photos at once with all parents in your classroom
    – Uncomplicated Volunteering – Set up one-click, automated volunteer signups without the usual hassle
    – Ideal For Room Parents – Give room parents the power to coordinate your school communication while you oversee parent involvement
    – Happy Partnership – SchoolCircle lets parents and teachers act as a coordinated team so everyone is confident that they’re doing their part

    SchoolCircle is, and always will be, a free app. It’s an ideal tool for busy teachers that love involving parents in the classroom, but need a simpler way to get volunteers, donations, and classroom support.

      

  4. ClassDojo

    ClassDojo

    ClassDojo helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.

    Teachers can use this app to give their students positive behavior feedback and manage their classes, while parents can check on their child’s progress at school. Beautiful reports and easy classroom management are all built in – and everything syncs across all of your devices!

    Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons, and hassle-free data – and it’s free for teachers!

     

  5. Edmodo

    Edmodo

    Edmodo makes a teacher’s daily life easier by providing a safe and easy way for teachers and students to engage and collaborate for free, anytime, anywhere.

    Use Edmodo for:

    • Secure classroom discussions • Posting assignments • Gradebook tracking • File sharing and uploading

    Key Features:

    • Classroom activity feed • Student progress tracker • Educational resource library • Professional learning networks

    With over 38 million users, Edmodo is the largest, fastest growing social platform for education. Awarded the 2013 EdTech Digest Award for Best Product, Edmodo makes the idea of a paperless classroom a reality.

    Questions? Contact our award-winning Edmodo support team anytime at support@edmodo.com, with ‘iOS’ in the subject line.

    For more information, visit www.edmodo.com.

  6. Schoology

    Schoology

    Get the award-winning app that extends Schoology’s powerful learning management solution to your iOS device. Manage your classroom, create and submit assignments, participate in interactive discussions, perform assessments, collaborate with your peers, and much more!

    With Schoology’s iOS mobile app, you can have rich and engaging academic experiences anytime, anywhere. Start by registering for a free Schoology account today.

    *A Schoology account is required to use this app.
    You can register for your free account at http://www.schoology.com/register

  7. TeacherKit – Class Organizer,Teacher Planner, Gradebook , Assignment List, Attendance and Student ‘s Grade Tracker

    TeacherKit - Class Organizer,Teacher Planner, Gradebook , Assignment List, Attendance and Student 's Grade Tracker

    == FEATURED BY APPLE ==

    TeacherKit is a personal organizer for teachers. It enables teachers to organize classes, and students. Its simple and intuitive interface enables teachers to track the attendance, grades and behavior of students.

    “Maclife”
    Having a teacher’s assistant can be handy, but not every school has the budget for such luxuries.
    But why would anyone need a TA when there’s TeacherKit (Free, Universal) ??
    This app is a teacher’s Swiss Army knife, with tools for classroom organization, behavioural monitoring, and grading. The only thing it doesn’t do is teach the class for you.

     

  8. Google+

    Google+

    Create a closed Google+ community to share classroom info, message with parents, curate student work, and more.

     

     

  9. WordPress

    WordPress

    A simple blogging platform to share classroom announcements and data. A weakness is that blogging is primarily a “one-way” communication tool., but for long-term announcements that don’t require dialogue, it can be useful.

     

  10. GroupMe

    GroupMe

    Set a group for school, each class, with select families that require detailed communication, and more.

     

     

  11. One Call Now Mobile

    One Call Now Mobile

    This new iPhone App makes it even easier for One Call Now clients to communicate with members of their school, church, sports or business organizations. Quickly record and send messages to all members of your group or organization, or to one or more Subgroups. Type-in and send messages using our Text-to-Speech engine. All messages are stored for re-use as needed. View your message reports on your iPhone no matter where you are. You can also use the One Call Now App on your iPod Touch, which requires a Wi-Fi connection and microphone. This app requires purchase of a One Call Now service plan. Please visit the links below for more information or to sign up for the service. 

     

  12. Skype for iPad

    Skype for iPad

    Say “hello” to friends and family with an instant message, voice or video call on Skype for free. There’s so much you can do, right from the palm of your hand.

    Features:
    Join over 300 million people every month using Skype
    – Get started with Skype on your iPad and find your friends in an instant.

    Call friends on Skype
    – Enjoy free voice and video calls to anyone else who is on Skype and make HD quality video calls from your iPad 4.

    Message friends and send photos in an instant
    – Instant message your friends in a flash, add emoticons and even photos.

    Video messaging
    – Stay in touch with friends and family even when they’re busy or offline with unlimited, free video messages.

    Call mobiles and landlines
    – Add a little Skype Credit to send low-cost SMS messages or call friends on their mobile or landline.

    No WiFi? No problem.
    – Skype works on 3G* and WiFi – so you can stay in touch, even if you’re out and about.

    Chat with anyone, anywhere
    – Skype’s available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs and even TVs. Whatever device your friend or family uses, Skype just works. Simple.

    Search the app store for other great apps from Skype:
    – Skype for iPhone
    – Skype WiFi
    – GroupMe

    System requirements:
    • iOS 5 or above.
    • Send and receive video using front or back camera on iPad 2, iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 4th Generation, iPad Mini.
    • Works with any H264 compatible devices, including TVs.

Via TeachThought

This article appeared on TeachThought on September 29 2014 and was written by the TeachThought staff and posted by Terry Heick.

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