3g. Use digital tools to communicate locally & globally

Reflection

With a plethora of digital tools available, communication with students, parents, peers, and community members is easier than ever before. Prior to the advent of technology, teachers were forced to rely on handwritten letters or phone calls. While those forms of communication certainly have value, there is a time cost associated. Digital communication through email or apps like Remind allows teachers to communicate quickly and efficiently.

My evidence for this substandard includes a blog post I wrote about the Remind App and how it supports safe communication between teachers, parents, and students. I’ve also included a post I wrote on the use of Google Classroom for communication and collaboration across teams or schools. Lastly, I reflect on Twitter and how it can be a powerful tool for communication and collaboration outside of the walls of the classroom. With Twitter, educators can work together locally, nationally, and even globally.

Evidence: Remind App for Safe Communication

A key component in the success of our students is recruiting parents as allies in the learning process.

First, coaches and teachers must consider the needs of parents. The Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning polled parents and principals in 2016 to compare the communication preferences of both parties. What stood out to me was the disconnect that existed between principals and parents. Some of this disconnect likely trickles down into the classroom as well. Two significant methods of communication that principals believed to be effective (personal phone calls and Facebook) were viewed much less favorably by parents. Parents indicated a preference for email and text message communication.

One solution is the Remind app. Remind is a digital communication tool that allows teachers to communicate with students and parents by sending out whole-class, group, or single messages. The great part about Remind is that you can send messages on your phone with the app while never revealing your personal phone number to parents or students. Likewise, students can send you messages and you see only their name, not their number.

Remind is an ideal communication tool because you can send messages to the entire class, a select group, or an individual student or parent. Messages can even be translated in order to facilitate communication with parents whose primary language isn’t English. I like the flexibility to communicate in these different ways within a single app. In addition to whole-class reminders, I can use the app to send resources or feedback to a group working on a project. You can even create a group message between a parent, student, and yourself. This would be ideal for detention reminders since everyone is in the loop.

For more information on Remind including a guide for getting started, please use the link below to access my post.

Evidence: Google Classroom Hack for Communication and Collaboration

Collaboration. It’s one of the biggest buzzwords in education, and when done properly can take your teaching to the next level. The problem is that time is not something teachers have a lot of. What tools exist for asynchronous collaboration that will actually make life easier while enhancing student learning? In an April 2018 post, I explored a “hack” for Google Classroom that allowed it to become a powerful tool for asynchronous communication and collaboration.

Like a growing majority of schools across America, my former school was a Google school. My department and I used Google Apps for Education extensively to communicate and collaborate. We shared resources, planned assessments, and compared student results using Gmail, Drive, and the commenting features within Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. This strategy worked well for the most part. However, I knew there had to be a way to streamline the process by collecting all this information in one place, sort of how Google Classroom helped me corral all my students’ work files, comments, and information into one place. And then it hit me…why not use Google Classroom to collaborate with your department?

This Google Classroom “hack” streamlines the collaboration and communication process while allowing teachers to access or input information asynchronously. It would promote ongoing collaboration and work to break down the silo effect between classrooms. To demonstrate how I envision this collaboration happening, I created a sample Classroom and made the following screencast overview. You can also use the link below for more information.

Evidence: Twitter for Personalized Professional Development

PD no longer has to constitute a one-size-fits-all lecture model. Thanks to technology, teachers are empowered to take control of their learning. One of the most popular tools for teachers to communicate and collaborate in this fashion is Twitter.

“Teacher Twitter,” as some call the community, has become a valuable place to share resources and experiences. Teaching can often be a career that happens within the silo of your classroom. Twitter allows those walls to be broken down and for collaboration to occur on a global scale.

I’m not alone in my fondness for Twitter for teachers. According to MC Desrosiers, “Virtual communities make it easier for educators to engage in immediate, specific, and focused conversations with their peers” (Logan, n.d.). Not only does Twitter facilitate this focused conversation, it has allowed a much broader take on who your peers are.

For more information on ways in which Twitter can support communication and collaboration, please see my post linked below.

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