The importance of communication in education cannot be overstated. At the simplest level, teachers need to communicate with students and families about assignments, deadlines, classroom rules, and other details necessary for the daily tasks of teaching and learning. Equally important, teachers must also provide feedback on kids’ behavior— both positive and negative—and their progress in mastering concepts and curriculum.
Fortunately, today’s communication options for teachers go well beyond sharing personal phone numbers and limited text messages. The best communication sites and apps for education below provide teachers with a digital platform for two-way group or individual sharing of text, images, video, calendars, and much more. All are fully free, or offer a generous free account for educators.
Instant messaging within the larger Microsoft Teams collaboration platform allows teachers to communicate using real-time private and group text or video chats. Features include rich text formatting, GIFs and stickers, priority notifications, and translation into 36 languages.
Top rated by teachers, Bloomz is a free app designed to make multimedia teacher-parent-student communications fast, easy, secure, and effective. To get started, teachers sign up for a free account, download the iOS or Android app, and create an online classroom. The easy-to-navigate website extends plenty of guidance and tips for new users.
ClassDojo provides a free comprehensive package of communication tools for teachers, with an emphasis on sharing daily classroom activities, student behavior feedback, and strengthening the school-to-home connection. Remarkably, the app is 100% free for schools with no third-party advertising.
LivingTree Engage offers an impressive array of features in its free educator accounts, from email/SMS text/app communications to photo/video/file sharing to polls, surveys, and sign up sheets. More than 100 languages are supported, so it’s easy to communicate with all parents and families, while the Facebook-style interface permits group posts and comments as well as private messages.
Classtag allows teachers to sign up for free and use the platform on their desktop or device to communicate easily in more than 50 languages. Messages are automatically converted to email or SMS text, based on parent preference, and saved as a communication record. In addition to text, Classtag supports volunteer signups, photo and video sharing, events, calendars, and much more. Bonus: Parents don’t have to download anything.
One of the most popular school messaging apps, Remind bills itself as “a simple way to stay connected” for teachers. Both private and group chats are supported, as well as sharing pictures, videos, files, and links. The free account permits a generous 10 classes per account, 150 students per class, and integrates smoothly with apps such as Google Classroom, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
Klassly’s social-media style interface offers a relaxed online environment through which teachers and parents connect and communicate. Educators can share any type of digital content, including pictures, videos, voice memos, documents, events, polls, lists, invites, and assignments. Other features include the ability to initiate group or private chats and quickly send emergency messages.
This all-in-one free Facebook-style learning management system provides not only communication tools but also lessons for students and peer support for educators. Edmodo is highly popular with teachers, who cite its top-notch organizational, collaborative, and secure engagement capabilities.
A nonprofit dedicated to promoting multilingual school-family engagement, Talking Points’ award-winning platform allows teachers to send messages in English that are automatically translated into the recipients’ preferred language. Free individual teacher accounts allow up to five classes and 200 students.
More than just a communications app, Freshgrade Connect is a free digital portfolio website/app that teachers can use to share student progress with family members. Using the intuitive interface, teachers create classes, add students, and upload multimedia portfolio items, assessments, standards, and events. It’s an excellent way to assess student academic growth over time and support project-based learning.
Evernote’s online productivity platform allows teachers and students to create and share digital notes, multimedia files, and assignments securely. The free basic account offers features such as tagging, image scanning, and web page clipping, and syncs across two devices.