There is a lot of information out there about technology for teachers and their classrooms: the best apps for educators, the best apps for students, the best fill-in-the-blank app. But in a world where most parents work full-time and teachers bemoan the lack of parent involvement, technology can provide a virtual platform where teachers, parents, and students remain more connected.
5 of the best apps for educators—and parents
- Weebly Websites. While the idea of creating a website may seem daunting, the infinite benefits will be well worth your time. Weebly makes web creation super simple. Parents will love having one place they can go to access that week's homework assignments, classroom announcements, or to print the permission slip their child forgot to bring home. The more you use the website, the less work you'll have to do over time, and pretty soon it will be a smooth operation. Use your website to post interesting videos, informational snippets, and other factoids you might not have time for in class.
- Google Docs. We consider Google Docs to be one of the best apps for educators and parents. Almost any document can be digitally translated into a Google Doc. If you’re tired of hearing parents exclaim, "I never got that form,” Google Docs allows teachers to store handouts in a public online forum, where parents can check in daily/weekly if they feel their student's backpack is a little light. Once students are able to use computers to generate their own work, (e.g. write papers), have them use Google Docs; they’ll always have access to documents from school and have the option of printing them at home.
- Ediscio Online Flashcards. Some things never change - and when we say "some things," we mean flashcards. When it comes to rote memorization, flashcards are a parent and student's best friend. Ediscio Online Flashcards are a prime example of technology for teachers, students, and parents. You can begin creating as an in-school assignment to teach kids how to use the program. Then send the letter home (via Google Docs!) so parents can continue to build a flashcard repertoire with their student. An added bonus to using Ediscio study flashcards is that students can borrow and share flashcards within the Ediscio online community.
- Snag Films. Another fun app for educators and parents. With this one, you get to show award-winning documentaries in your classroom FOR FREE without ordering, returning, borrowing, or finagling film access. Students were absent on film day? They can watch it at home using Snag Films. Get parents involved by assigning a Movie-a-Month assignment so families and children can watch an assigned educational film together, and offer credit for a post-movie free-write assignment signed by the parents. Parents can even comment on your new Weebly website. Concerned parents can easily screen a movie before they decide if their student can watch it or not. Plus, the wide variety of available films makes Snag Films a cross curriculum technology for teachers.
- Twitter. Ever wonder what on earth you would have to Tweet about? Now you know - your classroom observations, students' work, upcoming assignment due dates, a list of that day's absent students, or the Star(s) of the Day. Twitter says, "Find out what's happening, right now, with the people...you care about." A teacher-run Twitter feed can help parents have a better idea of what their kids are doing all day. Don't have any homework tonight? Busted - your teacher Tweets differently.
Parent-oriented technology for teachers will help you, and your parents, feel more connected to your students' academic success.