Home-School Communication Just Got Tech-Savvy…

Here’s a glimpse of an all-too-familiar conversation between a parent and child after school:

“How was school today?”

“Fine.”

Silence.

Sound familiar?

As a parent, your goal is innocent: you simply want to know more about your child’s day at school, yet the normally talkative child becomes eerily quiet whenever you utter those simple words:
How was your day?

So, what’s a parent to do? You want to be involved with your child’s school. You want to know what’s happening in the classroom. But your child is happy to leave you blissfully ignorant – and in the dark.

Fortunately, technological advances are making it easier than ever to communicate conveniently and seamlessly between home and school. Here are just a few tools that teachers and districts are taking advantage of to keep parents in the loop:

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• Text messages.

Writing down homework in an agenda book is certainly helpful, yet sometimes in the midst of sports practices, lessons, and other extra-curricular activities, it’s easy for a child to forget to consult his or her assignment book. One solution? Texting students reminders regarding due dates and other relevant information.

There are many options – and some are even free! – for the teacher or administrator who wants to communicate with families via texts. Check out the following article, which highlights nine options for teachers who want to send mass texts to their students to make announcements and remind them of upcoming assignments and due dates: www.educatorstechnology.com.

• Apps.

Lumos Learning has developed an app that allows parents and teachers to communicate easily through their Smartphones and tablets. It’s called Lumos SchoolUp™, and this app allows teachers to snap a picture of a whiteboard, assignment, page in a textbook … or anything else the teacher wants to share. This app also provides access to “stickies”, which include information that teachers and parents wish to share with the local community. Best of all, the stickies can include text, images, and audio! For more information, visit: www.www.lumoslearning.com/lumos-schoolup.

• Eboards.

My son’s teachers post a host of vital information on their eboards, from homework to links to educational games. Eboards.com is one service that promises to “increase communication and collaboration and integrate technology into the classroom by posting links, photos, podcasts, streaming video and other digital content in just minutes.” Visit www.eboard.com for more information.

Of course, these only scratch the surface of technological home-school communication tools. For instance, our school district uses a “global connect” services to send out automated phone messages to alert families of parent nights, delayed openings, and any other information that needs to be relayed quickly to parents and guardians. And it is entirely possible that, as technology progresses, even more options for home-school communication will emerge. The possibilities are endless, but the important part is that the technology is making it possible to connect with families … almost around the clock.

So … the next time your son or daughter tells you that he or she did “nothing” at school, be sure to investigate the options your teachers are utilizing – and you’ll never need to feel uninformed again.

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Julie Lyons