Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Digital Tools for Communicating with Parents

Tired of creating printed newsletters that you hope make it home in a backpack?  Looking for ways to connect in real time with parents and families? Try one of these three tech tools for connecting with parents.

Twitter (www.twitter.com)

Twitter can be very daunting for some to take the plunge, which is why I suggest you begin by just dipping in your toe and getting a feel for the water. Twitter is a great way to share updates and information immediately with classroom parents and families by sending out a tweet. In order for parents and families receive your tweet, they will need a Twitter account and will need to follow you on Twitter.  With Twitter, you can “protect” your tweets so that only those approved followers can see them, which is recommended when using Twitter for the purpose of communicating with parents. Take a moment to set up your Twitter account and send out your first tweet in 25 slides.  

Already on Twitter? Be sure to follow @WUSDEdTech for resources and updates in WUSD.  Check out these resources from the Spring 2014 workshop.

Remind (formerly Remind 101) (www.remind.com

Remind allows you to set up an account and have parents and families subscribe and receive updates and reminders via text or email.  The Remind tech tool is a push – meaning that information is pushed to those who subscribe and there is no way for subscribers to respond via this tool.  Creating an account is simple and free.  Once your account is set up, you will need to invite parents to either text a code to a phone number or go to a website to sign up.  You will never see the phone numbers or email addresses of your parents, and they will not see yours.  The Remind tool relies on parents “opting in” for updates and provides you with a document you can send home, tweet out, or link to your website to provide subscription information to parents.

Creating a Classroom Webpage

A classroom website is the easiest way to provide parents and families with one place to find information about what is happening in your classroom. If you already have a website using School Loop, you may want to take some time to refresh it, changing out old information, making sure your contact information is current, and perhaps adding in a calendar with assignments, projects, and due dates.  Feedback from parents and families has indicated that these are the top three needs that the classroom webpage can address.  

If you are new to creating a website and would like to try Google Sites or Weebly as the tool instead of School Loop, feel free to do so.  A template for WUSD teachers to use has been created for Google Sites to support the transition to Google Apps for Education (GAFE).  Tutorials and resources on using Google Sites, School Loop, and Weebly can be found on the Home-School Communication section of the WUSD Ed Tech Resources Hub.

Want some help learning more about these tech tools?  Be sure to sign up for one of the free Open Labs and receive individualized assistance.

1 comment:

  1. Our families love Remind. It is such a great tool and a quick an easy way to share what is happening in the classroom or on campus. Along with the classroom webpage we've also found great success with blogs where students are often the authors. You can find links to all of the elementary classroom blogs here. http://star.natomascharter.org/staff-directory