Cloud-based education platforms have revolutionized the way teachers communicate with students in the classroom, making it instantaneous and more effortless than ever. But what if technology could revolutionize how teachers communicate with parents in that same way?Teachers Make the Best Lemonade
It’s a modern cultural zeitgeist: everyone has experienced the frustration and despair of technology that doesn’t do what you want it to do, and that is the worst. And then there is functionality- you may have the most expensive computer or the fanciest app or the latest software, but if you can’t figure out how to drive that Cadillac, it might as well be a big, old yellow lemon straight from a lemon tree. When our technology lets us down, we, as users, generally don’t give up or ask for help; first, we try the thing we already know doesn’t work. Then, we try to come up with another way. Usually, the best way out is through; however, resourceful teachers know that sometimes the quickest way out is around.
School email not letting you log in? If you are a teacher, you don’t have 45 minutes to experiment with solutions- you’ll send the email from your personal email address and move on. Desktop computer bugging out? You’ll bring a laptop from home. You’d prefer to use the school phone system if it’s available, but if it’s not, you’ll text or call from your personal cell phone in a heartbeat. When technology fails you, having to go around can lead to frustration, scattered conversations, missed messages, lost time, an unprofessional image, personal exposure and, of course, a lack of communication.
Educators know how to march through challenging situations, and this is exactly why teachers and administrators deserve communication tools that work like magic and are easy to use. A good communication system can be made up of multiple components for different needs, but ideally, one communication platform would meet the needs of teachers, schools, students, and parents, while making documentation effortless, consistent and accessible.
With a million free communications tools out there, school districts have tried piecing together different options to engage families in student education, and here’s what they found:
- When it comes to technology, options are confusing. The quantity and complexity of available tools for emailing, texting, messaging and chatting apps make the search overwhelming.
- Fit and function matter. Basic products are so…basic. If it only does one function, then you’ll need 10 more apps to do everything else. OH, and you’ll have to log in eleven times if they don’t interface or share data.
- Free isn’t always better. And paid programs can be difficult to test drive without a big commitment.
- Blast apps are only good for sending one-way “canned” messages. Robo-calls and group texting can be useful, but real parent engagement requires two-way conversation.
- Social media is user-centric, so by design it is a good way to publish- but not exchange- information. Most schools have strict social media policies, and it’s tricky to avoid blunders.
- School websites can be a great source for parent resources, but may not be able to support timely, personal communications.
- Not all parents want to communicate the same way. Some don’t have internet; others don’t have a home phone. Some love instant messaging; others prefer an email that will wait patiently in their inbox. Some are unable to answer a phone call or find time to call back.
- Teachers deserve privacy options. It’s already difficult to maintain a hard boundary between work and personal life. No teacher should have to give out their personal email, cell phone or home phone number, ever again.
- Tracking and reviewing communications is key. Districts want to know that communication is taking place. Recorded calls protect both parties from miscommunications and help with quality control. Communications of all kinds should be collected in one location, for quick review.
- Student Data MUST be a part of parent communication. When parent communication is paired with all student data in one place, meaningful and productive conversations happen more frequently.
- Provider support matters. With technology, as with plumbing, occasionally something goes wrong. It’s important to know who to call. Good luck with that if the free-lance guy who developed your app is on his private island in the South Pacific.
Say hello to SchoolStatus, where you can complete all of your one-to-one communication with a student’s parent contacts from the same screen as all your student data. You can place and receive phone calls using the web or a cell phone - all without revealing your personal number. Calls can be recorded for tracking and quality assurance; audio can also be transcribed and translated. You can also text message without exchanging personal cell phone numbers, and organize your emails among all other communication types for a complete view of everything- or just what you want to see. SchoolStatus makes parent relationship management more intuitive and streamlined, giving you the resources you need to build relationships with the family support system. See an overview of all conversations with your contacts, including those made over the phone, via text message, or through email. Identify students who are at-risk and reach out from the same screen. Complete with customized tasks, the SchoolStatus dashboard will help you make sure every parent is engaged and active and engaged..
- Combined communications allows you to view everything from one access point
- All student data integrated automatically for informed interactions
- Filtering for communication type allows you to see only what you need
- Secure SIS integration syncs with your student contacts
- Personal phone numbers are kept private by calling through an alternate number
- Voicemail and School Return calling help parents respond
- Existing email client integration maintains your contacts
- Customized tasks remind you of follow-up communications
- Translation tools help remove language barriers
- Building better family relationships helps students succeed
- Reporting at an administrative level is simpler and more accurate
- Integration with existing data helps you see the whole student
- Educators no longer have to share a call-back system
- Audio recordings promote clarity and quality of calls
- Cloud-based technology relieves pressure on school infrastructure
Technology changes everything. Life really IS beautiful in the cloud.