A new academic year kicks off tomorrow for most schools in Northeast Ohio.
You’re probably scrambling to get everyone ready. But while you’re out buying clothes, backpacks and school supplies, be sure to add “mobile apps” to your supply list.
Don’t worry. Most of these apps are free, safe and easy-to-use.
Here’s a list of some of useful apps for making it through another school year:
For some schools in our area, Drund is a must-have app for staying in touch with teachers, parents and students, and for getting important notices about events and other information from your school.
Although not specifically designed for school districts, Drund has found a niche in the education market. School leaders can create community broadcasts; teachers can send private messages to parents; and boosters can manage fundraisers and events.
The reason why Drund works for education as a social media platform is in its simplicity and privacy. They won’t sell your data, but schools have to be willing to pay for their members (e.g., parents, students) to use the site.
Think of it this way: Drund is not Facebook or Twitter. It’s more of a private, controlled version of the bigger social media apps.
Keeping tabs on your kids’ assignments is usually not a big deal, thanks to those elementary school, parent-teacher “communication” folders. But if your kids are like mine, those folders don’t always make it home (and sometimes disappear forever).
Some teachers are ditching these folders for Remind. The app connects parents and students with teachers to get daily updates on homework, tests and other classroom-related information.
Remind also opens up additional communication channels. Teachers are able to initiate safe, two-way conversations with individual students or parents.
Formerly Remind 101, the app is free and easy to use, and available on Android and Apple devices.
This app is for the procrastinating student in your family, or for the alpha students often selected as leaders on the dreaded “group” assignment. Although not created exclusively for the education industry, Taskworld is a useful app for managing assignments and collaborating on group projects.
Taskworld offers a free version that includes most of the same features you’ll find with the paid app. Students can add new members to a group project, create task lists and gauge the amount of time it takes to complete an assignment.
Project members can add files using Google Drive, DropBox and other file management systems. The dashboard feature provides a quick snapshot of projects for up-to-the-second progress reports.
There are far too many good education-management and productivity apps to list here. Check with friends and other parents to find useful apps, and to figure out how to use the ones your kids and teachers already are using.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.