It is very evident recently that technology has been increasingly merging in to the system! Many schools in the US are becoming (or already are) paperless. The way that teachers and students are interacting together, as well, is changing along side everything else. We can either condemn that, or embrace it in a positive and an effective way. I have searched for a way to communicate with students, teachers, and other staff while keeping every one's info private, protected and most importantly chatter free.
Teachers are leaders, therefore, the most common communication method used is "one to many". What I mean by that, teachers give the same homework/announcements/visitation schedules/events/etc to all the class. Similarly, teachers, as a collective body, communicate with each other too for events/meetings/grade submissions/etc. So these types of communications usually come from one source to the rest.
WhatsApp is a very popular communication and messaging app around here, BUT, when it comes to put together a group, my contacts' phone numbers and names become exposed to everyone in the group, which is not preferred.
Additionally, in order to communicate on WhatsApp, everyone must have the app. For the most part it works, except for the few in the crowd who are not for it. As a result, I find myself looking for another way to communicate with them, which takes extra time and work. On top of that, on the WhatsApp group, I have to keep on scrolling to see what every one answered, which makes it challenging with big groups, not to mention that the conversations are often steered away from the topic. I'm telling you, its a tedious process, and if you are a teacher, you totally get it.
The same goes for Facebook messenger, and many other messaging apps! So, I set out to find a way that saves time, caters to many, protects my contacts, hinders chatter, and preferably uses the generic app on the phone. Having these elements are very necessary to getting the message across hassle free.
You might think that my "demands" are too many for an app like that, and that it probably does not exist; but it does! Its called Reach (click this link to download). I encourage you to download the free version first to try it out and have a feel for it. Soon enough you will need to purchase it because the limited version only allows two groups and up to eight contacts each.
Here's how it works: you set up your group, write your message (you only write it once), then tap send. Its very simple and intuitive. The best part is that your recipients receive the message personalized addressed to them by name/nickname/relation/etc. Not only that, but also, if one recipient desires email communications and another desires WhatsApp, and yet another iMessage, Reach caters to all of them at the same time. Only the person sending the message needs to have the app, and that person must have an iPhone, at least for now, because it's not available on Android just yet.
This app has been extremely helpful to me and its application does not end at in-school-use. I know it will be helpful for you as well, and if you have other technology related tips/webs/apps that you have, let the rest of us know about it. To sum up, my fellow teachers, let us embrace technology when its appropriately made for us to keep on improving the way we communicate with those who are entrusted to our responsibility and those who are around us in a respectful and professional manner at school and elsewhere.