12 Tech Tools for Keeping Parents in the Loop and Boosting Teacher-Parent Communication
As teachers, part of our job is making sure that parents are kept in the loop about their child’s progress and behavior. Luckily, there are lots of tech tools out there to help you do this!
If you want to keep things simple, class blogs as a way to keep your parents up to date have been around for quite a while. Many platforms are designed to be very easy to use, like Blogger and Live Journal. Edublogs was even made just for classroom and school library blogs.
You can also utilize familiar video calling technology such as Skype, etc. for more convenient parent teacher conferences.
There are several apps created specifically as a platform for parent-teacher communication, such as Bloomz, SimplyCircle, and Remind.
- Bloomz has class updates, photo & video sharing, student portfolios, behavior tracking, two way messaging, a class calendar, manages parent-teacher conference scheduling and also has volunteer and item sign-ups.
- SimplyCircle lets you share messages, pictures & files, as well as add tasks, organize events & assign roles. You create Circles by adding email addresses so members of your circle do not need to be a member of Simply Circle to view the emails.
- Remind styles itself as a simple but effective engagement system that’s like text messaging for school communities.
Some learning management systems like Seesaw, ThinkWave and Schoology have integrated parent communication features.
- Seesaw’s communication features include two way messaging, class announcements, a journal students can add video reflections and group projects for their own families to see, and can translate your messages into over 55 languages with the press of a button.
- ThinkWave lets parents view messages, download handouts & files, see upcoming tests, assignments & activities, and view day-to-day results, attendance, & final grades.
- Schoology advertises the ability to communicate with students, faculty, parents, and other shareholders all at once with mass updates, in-platform messages, and mobile notifications, and additionally lets you create parent groups so parents can collaborate with one another. It also features an assignment calendar to help keep everyone up to date.
Popular with teachers who love gamification are avatar-based behavioral management systems like ClassDojo, or for older students Classcraft. These systems let you award student-created avatars with points for desirable behavior and take away points for undesirable behavior. Both of the aforementioned systems also let you connect parent accounts so they can see exactly how their students are acting when in school and allow for private messaging between the teacher and individual parents. You can also use class-wide parent announcements to keep parents in the loop and upload attachments with your messages, such as handouts, worksheets, or permission slips.
You know what will work best in your classroom. If you try one thing and find it isn’t working as well for you as you’d hoped, then try something else next year (or next semester). Whenever you are considering a new teacher-parent communication system, here are the things you should look for:
- easy to install and use
- capable of two-way communication
- can share files such as pics, videos, and documents
- accessible on multiple devices
- can send individual and mass messages can create or notify parents about events, etc.