Beyond the Newsletter: Improving Parent-Teacher Communications

| By Faigy Gilder

When used well, technology can bring people together and help them better understand each other in real life. While both parents and teachers are striving toward the same goal - the child’s well-being and growth - this fact can become obscured or lost in parent-teacher communications. Parents often feel out-of-the-loop, and teachers too busy and overwhelmed to communicate with parents well or often. Luckily, there are now some great online tools and apps that make parent-teacher communications seamless. Here are just a few:

Remind

Remind is a safe, free, and easy-to-use communication tool that helps teachers connect instantly with students and parents. Teachers can easily send (or schedule for later) messages, photos, files, or voice clips directly to students’ and parents’ mobile devices. Phone numbers are always kept private, so teachers, students, and parents can rest assured that their personal contact information is safe and secure. Click here to learn more.

BuzzMob

BuzzMob is a seamless communication system that lets teachers and staff share daily information and vital updates with parents and students, within a private network. With a simple and beautiful experiences interface on iPhone, Android, and the web, BuzzMob is accessible either at home or on the go. The system is designed to display items in order of importance, saving time for busy teachers, parents, and students. BuzzMob's notifications options will alert you of updates via the mobile app, email, or by text. Your choice. You’ll never miss an update again. Click here to learn more.

ClassDojo

Instead of focusing on a grade, ClassDojo is a free tool that allows teachers to document student behavior, instantly giving positive reinforcement, and applauding student strengths and skills. Teachers can easily share a child’s progress and accolades with parents. Parents can engage in their child’s progress, and reinforce their positive growth at home. Teachers can encourage any skill or strength, helping students see their progress through beautifully simple reports. Click here to learn more.

FreshGrade

FreshGrade is a learning collaboration system that is closing the gap between parents and the classroom. It empowers this collaboration through devices and secure technology that people use every day, their smartphones or tablets. FreshGrade provides the tools to allow you to be an effective educator without adding more to your to-do list. Teachers can easily send photos and videos, either directly (to individual parents) or to the whole class. Best of all, it’s free for teachers. Click here to learn more.

Haiku Learning

Haiku, a robust Learning Management System (LMS), has an option to add specific accounts just for parents. This allows parents to be connected to each of their kids’ accounts, and view their returned and assigned work. Parents can receive mobile texts or emails, every time an announcement goes up in a class, or as a daily or weekly digest. Click here to learn more.

Class Hashtag on Twitter

Depending on the demographic of your parent-body, Twitter can be a simple and powerful way to share class news and events. Using a specific hashtag for your class allows parents to easily feel connected to their child’s progress and experiences, by seeing updates on a social network they already use in their day-to-day lives. Click here to read about how one school, and many of the teachers in it, use Twitter to keep parents engaged.

Do you know of or use other great tools to enhance parent-teacher communications? Share them in the comments!