Social interactions in the 21st century have undergone a paradigm shift, to the extent that it is almost paradoxical. While human contact gets increasingly rarer in the physical world, technology (or people behind it) is responsible for increasingly bringing a greater number of people closer than at any other time in history.
It has been universally acknowledged that the two important pillars of a student’s success, parents and teachers, need to work together symbiotically to ensure the students are set in the right pathway.
But as it turns out, oftentimes one or both parents find it difficult to make it to school for every parent-teacher meeting for wide-ranging reasons – could be the domestic situation or both parents are working in jobs that are taxing or the school isn’t adjacent to the home or maybe students are away at a remote residential school.
Therefore a lot of schools have realised the best alternative is using a piece of software that allows the teaching staff and parents to interact in a digital manner.
While there are many solutions available, we have focussed on the solutions centered on mobile devices as these days; people always carry around their smartphones. The five apps that we feel are best suited for schools are:
It is the easiest and simplest real-time messenger for the schools to connect with guardians and parents of the students. It is a beautifully designed app that seems easy to use. Its remarkable features consist of:
1) Student groups: The school can add any number of students or parents. Construct groups both for academic purpose and for specific activities and assign group ownership to staff members.
2) Calendar: Every group has its own dedicated calendar. This calendar can contain the list of most important events, PTA meetings, exam dates, holidays etc.
3) Online fee payments: It simplifies the mode of collecting fees for school from the parents. The entire process from fee request generation until fee receipt and finally settled into the school’s bank accounts is online with minimum human intervention.
4) Message delivery: The admin and teachers will be aware of who and when someone reads their posted message. If the internet does not work then the option of sending text messages as SMS is available.
5) 3rd party integration: It allows easy integration with any pre-existing school management software / ERP or an online service such as school’s social media pages.
The application is free to download for parents. Schools can avail of both – a free forever plan as well as paid plan for advanced customisations. You can visit them here – https://connect.sqoolz.com
This app is another example of what the guys at Google keep coming up with. The highlights of the app are that it is easy to use, helpful, educational and ingenious. It’s features includes:
1) Calendar: The calendar in the Google classroom helps the teachers notify and remind the parents and students of the important dates such as the test that would take place or an event where the participation of the parents for the encouragement of the students will be appreciated.
2) Students’ work: The assignments and other academic tasks that the students will have to structure and submit will no longer require a physical submission as the submission made through the app are acknowledged by the teachers and makes it easy for them to discuss the performance of the students with the parents.
3) Missed classes: The students who were not able to attend the school for any reason will be able to gain access to the teachings of the class in a single click.
The groups of the students and parents can be formed separately by the teachers which will make it easier for the members of either group to have healthy and meaningful discussions for the betterment of the academic future. For those schools interested, you need to firstly register for the G Suite for Education to avail this solution.
You can visit them here – https://edu.google.com/k-12-solutions/classroom/
Teno is a free application that facilitates interaction between the parents, teachers and students. Like Sqoolz Connect, it is also available for both Android and iOS devices. Its features are:
1) Safe: The contact details of the all the participants are secured. A school code is used to connect with one another.
2) One way communication possible: The teachers can use the app to make an announcement with the liberty to make the option of reply available for students and parents.
3) Fee payment: With a single click, the parents can pay the fee to the school.
You can visit them here – https://tenoapp.com/
Remind (formerly called Remind 101) is the free simple classroom communication app that is designed keeping in mind the need to simplify the process of communication with the school for parents. Its features include:
1) Send messages to the phone.
2) Translate the message into 70 languages for the ease of parents to understand the content.
3) Share handouts, photos, and flyers with parents.
4) Real-time communication with teachers.
It is a great app for parents who are on the go. They don’t seem to have a lot of presence in India though, as it largely focuses on Canada and USA. You can visit them here – https://www.remind.com/
The objective with which SchoolMessenger was created was to simplify the parent-teacher engagement and to unify the interactions across the devices and different platforms. Its features are:
1) School notifications: Teachers can send the parents emergency information, attendance of the kid as well as other alerts via emails, voicemails, etc.
2) Full site access: Ability to access the complete site of the school from the application.
SchoolMessenger too can be downloaded at free of cost. Although it seems like a viable option, it doesn’t seem to have a lot of customer adoption in India. You can visit them here – https://www.schoolmessenger.com/
The five applications explained above are incredible ways for effective communication between parents and teachers. Employ their use to improve the quality and amount of communication, thereby enabling students to deliver their best!