As a native Philadelphian, I have been fortunate to come across and experience a great deal of history, meaningful art, beautiful urban and suburban areas, and tremendous communicators. When the topic of school communication surfaces, I often think back to one of Philadelphia’s sports greatest icons, Allen Iverson. Communication, you talkin’ about communication?!
I’ve spent the last 15 years in education as a teacher, coach, high school principal and assistant principal, and now a Director of Technology for PreK-12. One of my greatest challenges has been to determine the most effective and efficient way to communicate with all the respective stakeholders: students, teachers, parents, alumni, and community members. Any attempt to communicate too often, and you bombard your intended audience and in turn disengage them. Communicate too little, and you often have frustration and a lack of current and accurate information.
Figuring out how frequently to communicate leads to what is in many ways a bigger question: What is the best platform for communicating your message?
During my time in administration, my team and I have worked to meet our stakeholders where they are when it comes to their use of technology. We recognized that the smartphones and social media platforms of recent years have given us a unique way to communicate with and recognize our students and community.
However, this means your team is responsible for updating and sending messages via email, text, and robocalls, not to mention the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—all while ensuring that your website and school calendar are up-to-date and relevant. Impossible to accomplish? No. Find out you have angry stakeholders when you neglect to update one of those avenues of communication? Absolutely.
What’s the answer?
Perhaps the better question is whether a clear answer even exists. The best communication tool depends on your specific needs. Certainly all the methods mentioned have their place. However, if we allow the maturation and adoption of technology to guide us, the step that follows will be to change our communication efforts to match the current landscape.
We know that technology has led to an trend of higher mobile usage in the past five years. Additionally, social media use has jumped tenfold in the past 10 years. In other words, students, parents, and teachers are looking increasingly for timely information on the go. That means the format of information needs to change, too: school updates should be short, concise, and available on the platform of the recipient’s choice.
Here’s what’s clear: Our schools need a method of communication that’s easy to manage, easy to update, and provides appropriate information and updates to our stakeholders in the specific way they choose to receive it.
Easier said than done? Not any more. I’ve found that the Remind platform checks off all of the above indicators. Parents, students, teachers, coaches, PLNs, and other participants can receive important messages in the manner which they prefer: email, text message, or push notification.
As an administrator, teacher, or coach, it’s easy to both manage and receive feedback. A recent addition to the platform allows group owners the ability to have one-on-one or small group conversations with students, parents, or colleagues that will engage your audience in a dialogue to increase understanding. Administrators can also communicate with their teachers with short daily reminders, quick words of encouragement, and important updates if ever school safety is an issue.
Finally, Remind is a safe method of communication. All messages and conversations are documented without the ability for the sender or receiver to delete any information.
As the expectation of communication continues to be a priority, allow Remind to take some of the burden off your school community. Remember, however, that we don’t have much time to practice our efforts to effectively communicate. In the end, Allen Iverson may have been correct; it’s about the game!
“U.S. Technology Device Ownership 2015 | Pew Research …” 2015. 17 Feb. 2016 <http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/>
“Social Media Usage: 2005-2015 | Pew Research Center.” 2015. 17 Feb. 2016 <http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/>