As mobile technology becomes more commonplace in classrooms and nearly ubiquitous for school leaders, the convenience of having access to emails, text messages, social media and other tools might be taken for granted.
Using smartphones and tablets, educators and administrators have at their fingertips a variety of tools, strategies and digital coaches designed to make their instructional and organizational goals a reality.
The rise of “convenience” tools is here, from parent-teacher communication apps to programs that help teachers track students’ behavioral challenges and achievements.
Following are a handful of such tools. If you have a favorite and don’t see it included here, leave a comment below with the name of your preferred tool or app.
Bloomz: The parent-teacher communication app is making its current basic schoolwide communication product (currently in beta until the 2016-2017 school year begins) free for schools moving forward. Recent updates include student timelines, behavior tracking, and video support. The mobile and web app integrates communication, coordination, and community-building tools and allows teachers to connect with parents by sharing photos and updates about the day’s activities. Bloomz can send announcements for assignment due dates, reminders of registration deadlines, or alerts for urgent matters.
District Click: This service from Permission Click helps districts create forms and templates and share them with schools. Features include custom approval workflows, accessible policy sharing, parent forms, and multi-site visibility.
Kickboard: This tool promotes a positive school culture through one-click behavior tracking, goal-based incentives and rewards, “culture” leaderboards that recognize students modeling positive behavior, early warning indicators, and multi-tiered supports and behavioral interventions.
Appletree: The parent-teacher communication tool, in the form of a mobile app, email, or SMS, lets users add calendar events with photos and videos, send updates and reminders, share assignments, send progress reports to parents, can notify parents in case of an emergency, and will soon offer chat with multi-language translation.
Google Apps for Edu: The free collaboration tools are well-known and free. Teachers and students can use Gmail, collaborate with Google Docs, save and share files in the cloud, and use Google Classroom to create, share, and grade assignments.
Remind: The popular messaging tool, formerly Remind101, lets teachers send class announcements, group messages, or individual messages. It is free to use from any device and contact information remains private.
Participate Chat for Twitter: Designed for the Twitter enthusiast, this service will curate resources from a Twitter chat so chat participants don’t have to search through the PDF chat archives. Links to all curated resources are automatically archived with participate.