Schools have always pleaded for parental involvement in the educational process and the teacher-parent relationship as the ground for academic development and emotional balance of students.
With the help of technology, schools are able to maintain the channels of communication open and this was more so seen during online schooling. Teachers and parents joined forces to ensure learning occurred in normal parameters under extraordinary conditions.
Read more: Best practices for supporting parents with remote learning
While the parent-school connection has always been important, during the pandemic, parents became learning facilitators making communication that more stringent.
Stick to the basics
Sharing news, information, and files with parents have become commonplace for schools, keeping everyone in the loop at all times.
Schools have recognized the benefits of nurturing a partnership with students' families and are constantly looking for tech solutions to support their cause, such as:
Video conferencing tools
With tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, teachers can organize virtual meetings to mimic face-to-face ones. This way, communication is straightforward and parents feel they are an intrinsic part of the community. Schools can organize these online gatherings at any time with teachers and families attending from the comfort of their home or anywhere else in the world.
When parents work abroad or the family's home is in another country, having video conferencing capabilities increases their engagement with the school community, allowing them to be active even if they can’t attend school activities in person.
Text messaging apps or emails
Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Twitter, or email apps are some of the most popular text messaging solutions that came in handy when the pandemic hit. For some schools, Messenger and Whatsapp were the only way to stay connected to parents and students.
Emails are still employed today to inform staff and parents. They are easy to use and can be automated. However, parents nowadays are more into social media, so the solutions mentioned above will help teachers reach parents easier.
Read more: Keeping parents in the loop with edtech
4 Great examples of edtech that eases parent-teacher communication
Nowadays, schools try to find secure communication channels that allow them to share information with families, help them keep track of the latest news and their children's progress, and build a community.
The internet is full of solutions that offer different communication opportunities, but there are a few that provide a complex and comprehensive experience that enhances school-home connectivity and fosters transparency. Let's check out some of the best apps to ease parent-teacher communication:
Remind is a comprehensive school communication app that allows teachers and staff to reach parents through messaging features, event schedules, and content sharing. Parents who are familiar with social networks will have no problem using the platform. This app facilitates their engagement, keeps everyone up-to-date, and supports file sharing. Teachers and parents can communicate in real-time within privacy guidelines. Also, the platform allows anyone to translate the content into more than 90 languages, making it one of the most universal and inclusive apps on the market.
Edublogs is a blogging platform that can act as a school, department or class website where teachers can post classroom activities and showcase students' work. This way, parents know what is going on at schools and what students are learning. It's an easy to update, ad-free site, with privacy tools and moderation options. Teachers update the content on the blog and parents receive school-related information and track students' learning experience. What's more, parents can receive regular newsletters to avoid missing out, but they can also contribute to the blog by bringing relevant information in guest posts.
Seesaw keeps parents in the loop with permanent access to students' digital portfolios where they document their learning. Parents and teachers receive instant notifications when students add posts to their journals. Parents have the possibility to leave a text or voice comment, message teachers in private, and receive announcements or reminders of upcoming events. Students and their families can also access examples of high-quality instruction and improve their understanding of the learning process. Schools can also share large files which would not be possible through email. This app also offers a place for communication where language is not a barrier since the content can be translated into more than 50 languages.
Bloomz is a free app for teacher-parent communication, coordination and classroom management. This platform is useful in creating a supportive community where everyone is coordinated. The school can create common schedules or individual ones, send messages to parents through text messages without the need for an internet connection, and still be informed and included in the educational process. Through communication, schools and parents build a supportive learning environment based on positive reinforcement with Behavior and Reports features. Teachers can post updates, share pictures, or schedule parent-teacher conferences. It is also an inclusive platform that ensures parents are able to receive the information in their native language with approximately 80 languages supported.
Read more: How to keep parents engaged in school activities using an LMS
Parents are part of the school community and should be involved in the learning process to ensure their children benefit from all the knowledge, resources and information available. To do so, schools can use different digital tools to keep families informed and involved. Besides the ubiquitous tools like email, Messenger, Whatsapp, Zoom, or Skype, teachers and schools can manage a fruitful collaboration with parents and families through specific apps that include various communication features.