In this post, I want to take a proactive, positive approach to the question by addressing the Best Practices for Parent School Communication with Mobile Tech. While presenting at the local, regional, and state conferences, and my state's PTA convention, I've asked the questions and am willing to share the answers participants shared.
1. Choose the right Mobile Technology Service for you.
As a classroom teacher or administrator, you must know what you want to share with students and parents. This will drive your choice of services available. If you only want to send short text reminders, and/or many of your parents don't have data services on their phones, then Remind might be best for you. If you want the ability to send longer messages and schedule conferences, then you might prefer Bloomz. For an all inclusive service with messaging, student portfolios, and behavior data, ClassDojo is an amazing choice. It is important that you understand the features available and make the choice that best meets your needs. However, keep in mind that all of the services are continually evolving and improving their services by adding new features.The examples above are overly simplistic. It is important to do your research and chose the service that best fits your needs. Links to three of the most popular, and that I have tried personally, are provided below.
More about Remind
More about Bloomz
More about ClassDojo
2. Know and be able to explain the security features to support the service you choose.
Each mobile communication service that specializes in parent school communication, is continually challenged by student rights and privacy groups, as well as the media. No service is 100% secure. Some teacher or parent may leave their app open. Some student may share their password. A hacker may steal passwords or gain access by impersonating a teacher or administrator. However, each service will make it really obvious to you that they are COPPA and FERPA compliant. Make sure you know the requirements and be careful not to share student photos without permission. The badges below are borrowed from ClassDojo.
Parent/school communication is changing at a tremendous pace, and the tools available are changing rapidly as well. The best practice is to:
Know your parents.
Know their wants and needs.
Know their schedules.
Choose the right service for you and them.
Be able to explain and support your choice to both parents and administration.
- Sixth Grade Teacher in a k-6 elementary school teaching all subjects
- Over 20 years of classroom experience in grades 3, 5, and 6
- Former Interventions Specialist specializing in behavioral interventions
- Technology Focus Teacher implementing 1:1 iPads for the last 4 years
- Just in Time Trainer
- Presenter (Idaho Core Days, Technology Showcases, Idaho State PTA Convention, and Idaho Educational Technology Association conference) on “BYOT-Making it Work in Your Classroom,” “Parent/School Communication with Mobile Tech” and "Build it and They will Learn-Making Space for MakerSpace
- Remind Connected Educator
- Class Dojo Mentor & US Ambassador
- Contributor to the IEA Reporter