What Parents Really Think about Parent-Teacher Communication Apps
Three parents share how a mobile app helps them stay connected to their children’s education.
By Tracy Everard, Kim Valley, and Shannon LeFevre
In this digital, mobile age, almost 90% of parents own a smartphone. When it comes to parent-teacher communication, though, many schools still rely on paper notes (which may not make it home) and periodic parent-teacher conferences (which happen so seldom that they may give a minor issue the time to develop into a major problem). Plus, when events happen at school, parents often hear about them last minute and may miss opportunities to participate or even provide some needed help.
With the help of apps created to help them stay in touch at the speed of texting, teachers and parents are adapting to new ways of communicating. Here, three parents at Southern Door Elementary School in Wisconsin reveal how connecting in real time with 1st-grade teacher Jessica Meacham has improved their peace of mind—and their kids’ education.
At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Meacham asked the parents what was the best way to communicate with them. Most of us said email or texting. This is why, when Mrs. Meacham announced she was implementing the parent-teacher communication app, Bloomz, I was thrilled. My first thoughts were “This is going to be great! I shouldn’t miss anything now. We are finally going to use the technology that is available.”
With the app, you have everything in one spot. I’ve used it to sign up for parent-teacher conferences and to communicate directly with Mrs. Meacham; and whenever she needs volunteers or classroom supplies, she just posts it on the app and all the parents get a notification.
I remember if we got in trouble when I was in school, we were sent to the office or a note was sent home. I think Bloomz is a low-stress way for teachers to address any issues as they come up so that they do not build up. Whenever there is an issue, or even a positive experience with a child, it only takes a second to send an individual message.
Bloomz is similar to Facebook in some ways, so most parents were pretty comfortable with it. I use it every day to check my son’s schedule. He likes to know what specials are scheduled for the day. It’s so fast and easy. I wish all teachers would use it.
I love getting updates during the day. For example, one day a butterfly emerged in the classroom terrarium, and Mrs. Meacham took pictures of all the students with the butterfly and share them with us. I feel like I know exactly what my son is doing at school. I love watching his short videos. It also helps to open up communication between me and my son at home. I can ask him specific questions instead of the vague, “What did you do at school today?”
Communication between parents and teachers is so easy with the app. Another example: My son turned in his book order but forgot the check in his folder. A quick message from Mrs. Meacham, and we quickly tracked the check down and turned it in. In the same way, I know that if I have any questions they will be answered just as easily.
My parents talked to my teacher once a year, during a face-to-face meeting. Bloomz has really opened up communication between parents and teachers.
I welcomed the idea of a parent-teacher communication app because I was familiar with a past teacher who blogged, and I liked to be able to peek at what my child was doing in school and what I need to prepare for. For example, Mrs. Meacham sent parents a message the week of homecoming so that we could remember to encourage the children to dress up for the theme days.
The app means less paper floating around in backpacks, possibly getting crumpled or lost. With the app, I know that if Mrs. Meacham has something important to communicate to me (or vice versa) the message will get through.
The app was a big help when my son was stung by a bee on a Sunday afternoon, resulting in him having to carry an Epi-pen. I was able to contact Mrs. Meacham that night and get going on his medication plan. It made me feel a lot better knowing she knew what was going on and was prepared to get his plan in place.
Better Communication Means Better Education
Parent-teacher communication apps like Bloomz take the guess work out of helping kids progress at school. Parents know what their kids are working on and what areas they need to improve in, so they can help teachers guide students towards specific academic and behavioral goals. Teachers also know if parents have any thoughts or concerns about their kids’ education, and don’t need to wait for conference time to hear about it. This sort of open, real-time communication creates a team environment where everyone’s goal is to ensure that each student has the best learning experience possible.
Tracy Everard, Kim Valley, and Shannon LeFevre are parents of students in Jessica Meacham’s 1st-grade class at Southern Door Elementary School in Brussels, WI.
To see more go to https://www.bloomz.net.
Want to follow Bloomz on Twitter? Follow them @BloomzApp