Did you know that more than 50% of the world population uses smartphone? With the total number of active mobile internet users crossing 3.44 billion, mobile has revolutionized the way we live our lives. From shopping to business, we have embraced mobile in all activities. Parent-teacher communication is no exception and smartphones have changed the way we communicate.
If you are above 30 years of age and reading this you may remember your teachers and parents communicating via paper notes or home diaries. Some schools moved to email and SMS with the introduction of internet in the 2000s. However, last five years has completely changed the face of parent teacher communication with the growing penetration of mobile phones. Educators and parents soon realized that internet could be used to solve many problems faced in parent teacher communication.
Communication before the Age of Smartphones
Parent –teacher interaction was previously limited to quarterly meetings in the school. This would leave the parent completely in the dark about how their child spends majority of the day.
Contacting teachers on a daily basis was not an option and staying updated on the class schedule, assignments and reports was a task. Making leave request or request for special care to your child required exchange of multiple mails. Having a face to face discussion for feedback with the teacher would mean cancelling your work meetings and taking a day off.
How Smartphone has improved Communication
The age of smartphone has bridged the communication gap between parents and teachers. Consider the following features smartphone apps provide for parent teacher communication:
Teacher connect – Teachers and parents can exchange messages through a chat window at any time. Leave applications, feedback or special requests can be sent instantly. Since this is a two-way communication platform, the interaction is quicker than emails.
Class Updates – Teachers can create a class group and add parents. Class activities, upcoming tests, educational trip photos and voice messages can be sent to parents. Parents can keep a check on their child from time to time and remain involved in their learning.
School Calendar– School calendar can be shared by the teacher to all parents. This calendar will update parents on upcoming assessment tests, class schedule, extracurricular activities, educational trips and much more at one glance. Parents can sync this calendar with their phone calendar to set reminders. No more checking the school diary for tomorrow’s schedule.
Forms and Applications – Permission forms and leave applications can be filled online and sent from a smartphone. This means less paper work for parents and teachers. School trip permissions, application to new courses and absence application can be sent at the push of a button
Parent Community– Being a working parent and managing all the school responsibility can get overwhelming at times. Parents are expected to make it to the teachers meet, school events, pick and drop children, shop for projects, prepare children for exams and help in assignments. Smartphones put parents in touch with other parents in the class and help to develop a community. This helps to form a support system for parents when they need it. Parents can discuss common parenting issues and share responsibilities. An active community can give a lot of relief and security to both parents and teachers
Child’s Safety – Improved communication between parents and teachers has also increased safety of children. Attendance status is updated immediately and absence of child from school is communicated to parents at once. Parents are kept updated of any delay in school activities and do not have to worry in case of child’s late arrival.
Smartphones have improved the parent teacher communication for good. Parents find themselves more involved in their children’s education and less burdened with school responsibilities. Teachers also benefit from keeping everyone in loop at once.