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Dec 15 2014 - 07:00 PM
SchoolCircle
article.title
Parent involvement in schools is crucial to the success of children's education. However, busy educators know how much it takes to communicate with all parents about assignments, permission slips, events and other educational concerns. SchoolCircle is a free web-based platform aiming to address this problem and to help both teachers and parents communicate more efficiently. Teaches can create as many "circles" as they want and invite parents to the assigned class circles. Teachers can share tasks, events, messages, photos and documents to selected circles, and parents will receive updates about class tasks and activities through daily digest and reminder emails. Parents can also log in to the site to view all class tasks and activities created by the teachers.

Pros:

SchoolCircle provides an efficient centralized portal for teachers to manage their communications with parents. The volunteer signup function makes recruiting volunteers much easier for teachers and is convenient for parents to arrange their participation. The instant delivery option allows teachers to send out important notices through email immediately to get parents’ attention on certain issues or needs.

Cons:

For a teacher who has many classes, the initial setup of circles might be time-consuming because it requires manually adding each child's first and last name and his/her parent's email address to the system. The "add to your calendar" event function is useful, but it is too complicated to be useful; users need to press this button, get the calendar file via email, and then import it to their choice of calendar software. Lastly, SchoolCircle provides a comprehensive dashboard with agenda and activity feed panels, but some teachers might find the design confusing.

Our Takeaway:

New media and digital technologies now play an essential role in our daily communications, and SchoolCircle provides a platform so teachers can manage these communications beyond email boxes and mailing lists. Some functions of SchoolCircle might not be intuitive, but once parents and educators become familiar with various features, SchoolCircle could become a helpful tool for efficient communication.

Image: Screenshot via SchoolCircle

|By: Ching-Fu Lan|825 Reads