The most important thing to remember with parent communication is consistency. Whichever way(s) you choose to communicate with parents make sure you are able to maintain the practice throughout the year. Building strong relationships with families makes all the difference when you need to have difficult conversations about academic or behavioral progress. In-person communication for certain events is necessary, however, there are times when sharing information through apps and tech tools works great as well.
Here are some examples of when to use tech tools and apps to communicate with parents.
There are so many events that go on during the school year—book fairs, clubs, tutoring, plays, sports etc. Using a shared calendar is a great way to keep your parents up to date on the events that are happening in the school. Google Calendar is an easy option for communicating about calendar events.
As field trips come up and projects are due you may need to send out a quick reminder to parents about upcoming due dates. Using an app such as Remind makes sending quick reminders to your parents easy. They are able to receive the messages through the app, as a text message, or email. Text messages are also an easy way to share quick reminders about upcoming due dates.
If a student needs a bit more behavioral support you may want to check in more frequently with their parents than you do with other families. Using a messenger app is a great way to keep families up-to-date on the student's behavior. You can also consider sending an email. Both of these options are great because they create a timestamp that will be useful if you are tracking data. Be sure that you have communicated with families and you both agree that this is an appropriate way to communicate for minor concerns. If there is a major incident it is better to speak in person or have a discussion on the phone.
Sometimes schedules conflict and teachers or parents are not able to meet in person. Using a video conference tool is a good way to meet your needs if you and parents cannot meet in person. This is a good option for classroom meetings but should not be used for any meetings related to a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan. This is also a great option to provide homework help for students if you are interested.
There are great things happening in your classroom on a daily basis. Technology is an awesome way to show all the progress that your class is making on a daily or weekly basis. You can use apps and tools to share pictures and videos of all of the work your students are doing on a regular basis. It makes conversations at home about their day much better. Make sure you use an approved app and get permission from parents to take pictures and videos of their kids before you begin.
You may be surprised by this one but sending a group message is usually the easiest way to communicate with families if there is an emergency. During an emergency, it is all hands on deck and teachers do not have enough time to call families individually. Sending a quick update through an app or text message is the fastest way to keep parents aware and keep your focus on the event at hand. For more serious emergencies, your school should have guidelines on how and when you can contact families.
Each day, the availability of EdTech options are growing and changing, much like the technology outside of education. As educators, we must keep up with the current technology offerings, support its implementation in our schools, and advocate for equity and access in all schools. Here at Kickboard, we have seen the impact on the achievement of students when schools effectively use technology as a tool for improving school culture. To learn more about how Kickboard can support the use of EdTech in your school click here.