Q: What’s your recommendation for an app to communicate with parents?
A: Good communication leads to good relationships, and we all strive to have a positive relationship with our students’ parents. It’s also best to keep your personal and work lives separate, so giving your cell phone number to every parent isn’t necessarily the best idea. Remind is one of the most popular teacher-communication apps to solve this problem, since it allows you to send messages privately to individuals and groups, but there are others out there with more features—plus, they’re free. Like Remind, Bloomz has parents join and allows you to do private or class messaging. If parents don’t sign up, you can still e-mail through the app. Bloomz also has event-scheduling capabilities, so you can use it to set up parent-teacher conferences, organize sign-ups for volunteer activities or request items you need.
Celly (which works through a web portal or an iPhone) has you create your group—called a “cell”—and then connect via e-mail, text or through the app. You can also conduct polls or surveys. Celly can share photos and files from your cloud storage, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, as well. Its standout feature is that you can use it for fundraising, just like any other crowdfunding site, except you don’t have to hit your target goal to get the money.
As I’ve said in the past, advocacy is a big part of any dance educator’s job, and one of the best advocates you can have is a parent of your student. I’ve mentioned using blogs as a way to get parents excited about what you’re doing, but these apps work, too, especially when you use them to send photos or videos, so parents can get a peek into your class.