There are plenty of adaptive and personalized learning tools along with online homework and assessment engines. And just about everything a student needs can be found inside a learning management system. So if students and teachers are doing everything online, why hasn’t parent communication made its way there as well?
Parents are just as consumed with technology as their children. If you’re having a challenge reaching parents, it might be because your methods are outdated. Consider trying a little technology to encourage parent engagement. You can start with something simple like using the various apps in Google Drive.
Create a Contact Form
Without having up-to-date contact information for your parents, you’re setting yourself up to hit a dead end. Contact sheets on clipboards are antiquated, but a contact form that parents can complete online is easy for them and useful for you. Use Google Forms to create a form with all of the information you need like phone, email, emergency contact and whether text messages are acceptable. Once you create the form, share the link with your parents. As they complete it, the information is populated into a spreadsheet for you to access as needed.
Take Your Newsletter Online
Classroom newsletters have always been a great way to keep parents updated on what’s happening inside the classroom. Instead of printing a newsletter and packing it into students’ folders every day, try creating a newsletter using Google Docs. You can still include the same elements such as to-do lists, pictures of student activities and weekly announcements. Make the document “view only” so no one else can edit the newsletter.
Create Conference Signups
With Google Drive, you could potentially get carried away with all the form options, but a conference signup form is something that is worth everyone’s time. Taking conference signups online with Google Forms allow parents to see what times are available immediately and removes the possibility of double booking an appointment time.
Build Student Performance Logs
This will take a bit of work, but the benefits are certainly worth it. Similar to sending home daily student reports, create a Google Sheet for each student, and then have a form that links to the spreadsheet. You can complete the form daily or weekly and provide updates to parents on student behavior and performance.
Share Student Presentations
For many students, building a PowerPoint presentation is a big deal. There is a sense of accomplishment for the work they put into their presentation, and parents typically delight in their child’s achievement. Both teachers and students can use Google Slides and share student presentations, allowing parents to take a peek at the children’s work. Sharing student work prior to parent-teacher conferences allows parents to come into the conference with an idea of how their child is doing, which makes for a smoother conference.
Parent engagement is extremely important to the success of student learning. While it’s sometimes challenging to get every parent to be involved all the time, there are some creative ways to encourage parent engagement.