Technological Enhancement of Communication


  This page serves as a reference of communicational technologies used in the education system today. It starts with a broad scope of the softwares districts use to connect with families, teachers, students, and administrators. Then it talks about the most common educational devices. These devices are used for instruction, and connect the teacher to the students. Lastly, it narrows to a focus on personal technology use for teachers. There are numerous apps available to connect teachers to their students and families. 




Communication-based Softwares


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These are many softwares available for communication between school districts and their families. Click on the link to read more about three of the most prevalent software technologies.


Educational Devices


Tablets are the most common technological devices used in schools today. They are easy to transport, durable, and multifunctional; making them great for use in an educational setting. They are also compatible with other devices, such as computers, laptops, and cell phones, making them even more convenient for instructional use. They run numerous programs for productivity, like collecting survey responses, surfing the internet, and creating documents. Two of the most promeninent and debated tablets are iPads and Chromebooks. Each tablet has it's own pros and cons, weigh for yourself what would be most helpful for your classroom. 


  iPads Vs. Chromebooks 



  iPads Chromebooks
Price $400 $200
Running Software iOS Chrome OS
 Application Touchscreen  Touchpad & Keyboard
Battery Life 12 hours 7 hours
 Features 500,000 apps 10,000 apps
Weight 1.5 lbs 3 lbs


Top 10 Apps For Communication 

1. BuzzMob- Created by Jack Jackel because he wanted to bring social media communication to real-world places and events. BuzzMob allows you to send messages, share photos, videos, and receive vital information in real-time. Receive emergency response and important notifications regarding homework assignments, event dates, or general updates in a safe and private network. Similar to Twitter or Facebook on the public social networking side, BuzzMob allows Vose to make quick updates on the fly without having to sit down at her computer to update a website. "In the next year or so," Vose says, "I'm hoping to get the kids to start posting, chatting, and collaborating with one another on this type of app."



2. The Teacher App & Grade Book- Created by Academically Informed to increase parental involvement in the classroom.  This new tool helps enhance collaboration between teachers, parents, students, and schools using parent messaging; an interactive calendar; event notification; and course grade notifications. Parents can check grades, review attendance records, submit absentee letters, and stay on top of upcoming events with the app's calendar. Pre-set, or custom messages can be used to quickly inform parents with necessary educational information regarding their child. Students will be aware of their progress, which will require them to accept ownership for their individual reports. They offer an in-app subscription for Parents and Students to connect with their teachers and stay up to date with events and reach the next level of communication in class. The Subscription is charged every 30 days at $1.99. This subscription gives you full access to the Parent or Student features which allow you full interaction with you teacher.


3. Collaborize Classroom- Democrasoft, Inc. created this app so that students would be able to communicate with classmates on-the-go. At Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, CA, French teacher Nicole Naditz uses this education- focused app to set up a closed network where she can discuss topics, trends, and student progress with both students and teachers. The structured online discussion platform lets Naditz extend the classroom discussion outside of normal school hours and engage with parents who want to be kept "in the know" on how their kids are faring in class. "I post links to articles and videos, upload links, set up discussion threads, and field questions in a closed, safe environment that's only accessible to us," says Naditz. Students can now participate in online discussions in their Collaborize Classrooms using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Students can collaborate online with their classmates on-the-go, anywhere and anytime. The mobile app is a powerful extension of the Collaborize Classroom platform, which provides the ability to extend in-class conversations to a private and secure online site and to students’ personal mobile devices.


4. Remind- Creator Brett Kopf. This app lets teachers create an account that parents can "join" by sending a single text message. Because they can message their entire classes and/or parents quickly from their mobile phones, teachers are able to stay in contact on the fly and collaborate with parents without having to pick up the phone or send out an email. Teachers or parents are allowed to start a safe two-way conversation with each other on the ‘chat’ option. Phone numbers are always kept private, so that teachers and students can never see each others phone numbers. Quickly send photos, videos, documents, or voice memos. “Jessica D, a teacher in Louisiana, uses Remind daily to brief parents on whether their children did well in class and what their homework is for the night. She says the app has led more students to complete their homework and even credits it with improving scores on standardized tests. “The word I use is ‘transform,’ ” she says. “It transformed my classroom. And I think it made me a better teacher.”



5. Google Apps for Education- This free suite of productivity tools (including Gmail, Calendar, and Drive) helps keep parents in the loop on their children's progress in class and any challenging areas that need to be addressed. Rather than waiting for graded papers to make it home in a student's backpack, for example, parents can log into Google Drive and see what their kids have been up to in English class, view their current grades, and communicate with teachers about progress and challenges. When teachers create assignments, folders are automatically created in Google Drive for each student. They can choose to share a single document (like project instructions), or automatically make a copy for each student (like a project template). They can see who has completed the work at a glance and assign grades. Students can easily see due dates on their assignments page, so they can stay organized and submit work on time.Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.



 6. VolunteerSpot- VolunteerSpot is an app that helps organize group meetings, e-mails, and parent-teacher conferences. The app can be used to organize parent chaperones or school volunteers for various events, field trips and more. It sends automatic confirmation and reminder messages, so there are less no shows.


 7. Mailchimp- Mailchimp is an e-mailing service that can be tailored for educational needs. It can send automated e-mails based on each parent, so if you only want one e-mail a day, you’ll get only one, but if you enjoy seeing that little red number on your phone you can get as many as you want. It allows teachers to design the layout of the e-mails and send them anywhere, from any device. Emails can be sent automatically, or scheduled and sent later. Mailchimp lets you see who opened your emails and who has clicked on the link you have provided. This will give teachers an insight into who they need to try to further communicate with. MailChimp is free to use up to 2,000 subscribers. You can send up to 12,000 emails per month without charge.


8. TeacherKit- Teachers can use this app to take attendance, track grades and behaviors, and set up detailed student profiles that even include allergies and health issues. What makes the app especially collaborative is the fact that teachers can use it to email parents directly, and without having to open up an email application to distribute and receive information. The app can also handle multiple classes--all of which are kept separate and easy to delete/edit as needed.


 9. Class Dojo- Class Dojo replaces classroom management tools and behavior trackers like gold-star charts, with positive feedback and parent communication. Teachers choose and customize behaviors that matter most, and then award a student in Class Dojo points when a skill is demonstrated. Parents are able to see how their child is doing in real-time, and communicate with teachers through the messenger. Teachers can also send mass classroom reminders to parents, or photos and voice memos to individual parents.    


 10. School Circle- School Circle is a free app to help strengthen parent partnerships. In this app teachers are able to post messages, assign tasks, create events, ask parents to volunteer, share pictures and upload documents. If you have a room parent, he/she can also share content with your class circle.Teachers are also able to message one-on-one with parents.






 Kristen Bezmen 

 Kayla Picchi