6 Tech Tools for Enhancing Communication In the Classroom (and Out)
Communication is key to any good relationship, including the parent, student, and teacher relationship. Parents like to be informed about happenings within the classroom and kept up-to-date on projects and tests. Students need a reminder of the classroom agenda and schedule. Teachers are looking for ways to simplify this type of communication for their own benefit. They want to keep parents informed while making sure they know what their students still need help with in the classroom. Let’s take a look at a few digital tools that help ease and enhance several different aspects of communication.
Remind 101 is an app and website used for communication between teachers, parents, and students. Teachers can send a text message to created groups about upcoming tests, quizzes, and projects. This is a great way to communicate using text messages without giving away a teacher’s personal phone number. Parents and students can respond to the message with questions and comments. Teachers can even send pictures of what’s going on in the classroom and important documents, as well.
Students live and thrive on social media, so using some in the classroom for communication is a smart idea. Twitter and Instagram are the top choices to keep parents and students and even the people in the community involved in the goings on of the school and the classroom.
Teachers can post announcements about weather delays or large school events. Twitter is great for short messages about upcoming assignments. Instagram is great for pictures of student work and longer announcements, while both are great for discussions.
These social media platforms can be combined so that one post appears in both locations. One fun aspect of social media is creating hashtags. A teacher can create a hashtag, or several, for students to use when they post something for class. This way teachers can keep track of responses and questions. This is a great tool for communication since most people are already using both of these frequently.
GoSoapBox is a chat room designed for classrooms. Teachers can post different types of questions for students to respond to in real time. The benefit of GoSoapBox is that it encourages student interaction. It can be anonymous for the student, so they feel more comfortable sharing answers. Teachers can still see who is answering but other students don’t know who says what. They even have a “confusion meter” that allows students to tell the teacher how well they are comprehending the topic. This is a great tool for giving students a voice which improves communication in the classroom between teachers and students.
Keeping a blog or having students write a blog keeps everyone informed. For a classroom blog, think about using Edublogs. It is powered by WordPress and is user-friendly for teachers. This is a great place to make a classroom blog where teachers can write a weekly blog post about what’s happening within the classroom. A calendar can be added as well as document storage and photo albums.
If students are going to be doing the writing, check out Kidblog. This website is a safe place for students to manage their own blog. They can write blog posts and create digital portfolios under teacher supervision. Teachers have all the control over the student blogs. Blogging can give students a real life application to communication. Parents can see their own child’s blog and see what they are learning, and teachers can monitor the blogs for content and learning. This is a fun way to have students communicate with their families and each other.
Google Docs is a wonderful way for students and teachers to collaborate on assignments. Instead of students turning in a rough draft of a paper and waiting several days to get the draft back coated in red ink, they can share a link to their Google Doc. As the teacher opens in on their own computer, he or she can leave comments about how to improve the assignment and even open a chat with the student. The student then is immediately notified by email of the comments and suggestions left by the teacher. This allows for faster communication and a place for students to ask their teachers questions about their own work.
Listening is an important skill within the classroom. Silence is usually associated with listening, but that doesn’t mean students are actually paying attention. EdPuzzle is an interactive video given by the teacher where students watch a video that pauses along the way for students to answer a question based on the video. They have to answer the question before moving on to the next portion of the video. Teachers can keep track of those responses and even refer to the videos for class lessons. This digital tool is beneficial for making sure students understand topics.
Do you have digital tools you use to improve communication in the classroom (and out) with both parents and students within your classroom? Share with us on Twitter @Schoology