It’s not just pupils that are up to date with technology. Parents and teachers are hot on their heels, and we’re exploring just how technology has changed the way the two communicate.
As little as 15 years ago, communication between teachers and parents relied on the child, letters, phone calls or meetings. These methods, although still around today, can be problematic. Children can forget, letters can get lost, phone calls can be missed, and meetings can be inconvenient. The rise of technology has revolutionised the way in which teachers communicate with parents, and there are now so many options when it comes to ensuring everyone is up to date.
Websites and emails were perhaps the first breakthroughs that began to change the way school and home talked to each other. Websites can list information such as term times, uniform policies, and school events. This allows parents to find out crucial information at times when the school isn’t necessarily contactable, like weekends and half terms. Emails completely changed the contact between parents and the teachers themselves too. They are direct, can be accessed at any time, and are much more convenient than phone calls and meetings.
The rise of mobile phones has created another method of communication – the text message. This allows parents to be contacted instantly and all at once, with blanket information such as club reminders, deadline information, and school opening times. Emergency information can be communicated too, as text messages are delivered straight into the parent’s pocket.
Of course, one of the crucial ways that the digital age has helped communication between home and school, is that parents now find it much easier to reach out to teachers, which is just as important as the other way around. Parents can now alert teachers to bullying, family issues, and sickness much easier through the use of email, without it becoming embarrassing or distressing to the pupil themselves.
School trips are less of a worry for parents too, thanks to technological advances. Reply slips can be returned and consent given via email, completely eradicating the risk of slips getting lost or forgotten at the bottom of a school bag. Our own app, Schools Buddy, updates parents with travel information, to let them know if school trip transport is running late. Safegaurding in this way just wouldn’t be possible without technology.
Of course, our aim with Schools Buddy is to make parent communication in general even easier using digital methods. Apps themselves are relatively new to the world of education, but ours goes one step further, and can include the child in the communication too. Most people have smart devices these days, and an app that all parties involved can see means that everyone is kept up to date. Schools Buddy uses push notifications, which work in a
similar way to text messages, and are pushed from third party apps (such as schools buddy) into the notification centre of smart devices. The difference between these notifications and text messages is that push notifications are free. Not only this, but they’re backed up by the School’s Buddy in-app messages centre, which will flag up new information similarly to other messaging apps, in case the parent, teacher or child missed the push notification. This provides a reliable solution in terms of making sure everyone is informed.
Making parent communication digital has changed the relationship between the classroom and life at home for the better, and enhances organisation and safegaurding, as well as making life much easier for teachers, and for parents.