Staying Connected to Parents, Friends, and finding Others to Collaborate With

We are given an incredible amount of trust. Parents who have spent years loving and raising their children are handing them over to us for 8 hours a day. Placing their hopes and dreams in our hands, allowing us the opportunity to help students grow and mature.

Multiply this situation many times over and you will have the modern day teacher's great responsibility. With so much at stake it is critical that we keep in contact with our parents so we can best understand how to help their children as well as keep them informed. It is my belief that parents will do everything they can to help their students get the best possible education they can. Parents can support with time, talent, and resources only when they best know how they can do so.

There are many great resources for communicating with your parents, each with their strengths depending on the situation. Here is a list of ways you can keep in touch with your parents.
  • School Phone/Phone Call Home
  • Email
  • Newsletters/Letters home
  • Text messages/Texting with Gmail (free)
  • FacebookTwitter, and other social media (free) note: make sure to keep a separate account from your personal account
  • Skype Internet Phone 
    • Strengths: Not giving out your personal number, can be used anywhere you have a computer and some phones. Video conferences are possible.
    • Weakness: Only free if you are calling another Skype user.
  • Google Voice
    • Strengths: Not giving out your personal number, can be used anywhere you have a computer and some phones.  Video conferences are possible and calls are free in the US and Canada (confirmed until the end of the year).
      • As of now you can make phone calls from within Gmail. This is the best option as of now. It should be interesting to see how this develops. Personally, I see this as a huge game changer in the communications market. 
      • After installing the plugin from the link, go back to Gmail and in the chat window you will see the button Call Phone.
    • Weakness: There is no assurance as to how long this will remain a service or be free for US and Canada. This service is not available for Google Apps.
  • Google Translate
    • While not a communication medium in and of itself it is important to be able to try and communicate across language barriers.
    • Note, all translators are imperfect in its translation so do not rely to heavily upon it.