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Bloomz: a powerful tool for home/school communication

Bloomz is a game changer, a kind of Swiss Army knife for school communication that does the job of multiple single purpose apps. It’s free and it works across platforms and devices and it’s got the  communications arena covered.

I first discovered Bloomz from this year’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee, but it seems that everyone I know is talking about it for the coming school year.

The Committee shared:

Bloomz is a robust, secure environment for teacher to parent communication (no students allowed!). Teachers invite parents to sign up, and then can communicate news, class photos, alerts, and calendar items, and request and manage volunteer and conference signups. Parents can opt to receive the communications via email, text message, or the special Bloomz app. They can even opt to have communications translated to another language. Teachers can send communications to all parents or to individuals or small groups. And, parents can communicate with each other to set up carpools, etc., but the teacher always controls who is in the class and who else can send communications. Teachers and parents alike will love Bloomz for efficiently involving parents in the education process.

If you and the classroom teachers you work with are looking for a way to engage your community, form partnerships for student success, and improve transparency in the learning process, Bloomz presents an easy and secure solution.

You can make sure that news, that previously might not have left the backpack, gets home safe. You can immediately share happenings in the classroom or library.

After a teacher sets up a classroom, parents can opt in to participate. Teachers can communicate with the whole group of parents or with individuals. When a teacher posts, parents get an instant text message, email, or an in-app notification. Classroom teachers can include you in their classes. And you can create classes to share library or club activities.

Among the cool features:

Picture3Posts and Alerts allows you to post images and videos (coming), attach files, schedule posts for future dates, receive or turn off comments, share on Facebook, read receipts, and translate.

Parent Teacher Conference Scheduler simplifies the often complicated appointment process, offering the ability to open appointments for all parents or new parents only, edit conference details and slots, and print schedules.

Volunteer Help makes it a breeze to solicit parent help, create assignments, send reminders and request items.

Calendar makes it easy to keep everyone up to date with important events with RSVP on or off and optional notifications and reminders and calendar sync.

And making communication significantly smoother, Content Translation currently offers auto-translation for posts and comments in more than 80 languages. Parents can select their preferred language in the Settings area.

Parents comfortable with social media tools like Facebook, will feel very comfortable in Bloomz. Even if they do not opt sign up for an account, they can get email updates.

And there’s more. New goodies include Student Timelines, which allows teachers and students to share work–images, videos, presentations–and written reflections/annotations/drawings with parents, who may watch those efforts evolve over time and save them. Student submissions display in a camera roll review list for the teacher to edit, approve (or discard) and publish. Video recordings of work and audio annotations are coming soon.

Student Timelines

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The just released behavior tracking function shares a year-long timeline of student behavior reports with parents. Designed to reinforce positive behavior, it can help set class-wide goals. Teachers may opt to display or not display negative feedback in a student’s timeline, while maintaining a digital record. Behavior reports are visible only to a child’s parents and the reporting teacher. A flower animation may be used to display behavior progress over the course of the school year.
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The timing is perfect. Bloomz would be a wonderful tool to introduce at an early faculty meeting or PD session!
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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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