One evening not long ago, my son sat reading a math assignment. Confused by the wording of one important question, he came to me for help. It might as well have been written hieroglyphics because I had no idea how to make sense of it. We called in Dad. He couldn’t help either. We phoned Granddad and all spent an hour or so debating what the question was asking my son to do. In the end, we sent the teacher an email, but by then it was quite late. We wished it was easier to contact the teacher earlier with what we suspected was a quick clarification. My son started school the next day with that question incomplete.
Does this story sound familiar to you? Like my family, parents and students across the country are taking on more ownership of the learning process in a remote or hybrid learning environment. When I shared this story with others, I was routinely met with nodding heads and similar experiences.
Opening the Lines of Teacher and Parent Communication
Parents’ and students’ frustration could be easily avoided by simply opening lines of better communication between teachers and families. If we had been able to direct message back and forth with our teacher, we could have gotten a quick answer and gone on to finish the assignment and avoided a fair amount of anxiety on my son’s part. This familiar and often frustrating experience only underscores the importance of teacher-parent communication. Especially now that so many students are spending more time learning remotely and missing out on those in-person opportunities to interact with teachers and other students. Parents become a resource to help students learn effectively, but parents are often learning along-side their children and reaching out to teachers becomes a crucial lifeline for them both. Meanwhile, teachers need to avoid giving out their personal cell phone numbers to communicate with families. And they need to be able to easily access the student lists and data for each class.
Frustration-free homework isn’t the only benefit of having open conversations with teachers. There are real benefits to connecting teachers and families. Research shows students pay better attention in class, increase their participation, and are more confident and better prepared.
Introducing the Communication Solution, Blackboard Reach
This week, we announced the general availability of Blackboard Reach. The newest communications tool in our Community Engagement product suite, Blackboard Reach was built to help bring teachers and families together safely and consistently. Blackboard Reach is a two-way direct messaging tool that empowers parents, guardians and teachers to have meaningful, real-time conversations that fuel student success. This new product consolidates communications into a one-stop tool, ensuring the privacy and safety of messages. With oversight for teachers and administrators, everyone can rest easy knowing that inappropriate conversations aren’t happening in secret. And we make it easy for both teachers and parents to use by leveraging data already in the student information system (SIS). These two-way conversations can fuel positive interactions and relationships between all the key stakeholders in a student’s success.
Create an environment where your teachers, parents and students can all communicate easily and safely and give your students the best chance for success. To find out more about Blackboard Reach, visit http://blackboard.com/blackboard-reach.