Blackboard Inc. has introduced Blackboard Connect for Teachers, a new feature of its mass notification platform that lets teachers communicate easily with students' families - in their preferred language - helping to improve parent involvement and student engagement in the classroom.
The Blackboard Connect platform is already used for outreach around urgent situations and academic issues. Now teachers can harness that capability to better involve parents in their child's classroom performance. Using the service, teachers can reach parents wherever they are with phone messages, and parents no longer have to wait for a quarterly report card to discover they need to intervene in their child's academic performance or behavior, the announcement states.
A recent study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire found that if parents sometimes talk with their children about student activities, study habits and course selection - as opposed to never discussing these topics - districts could achieve student performance outcomes equivalent to an additional $1,000 in per pupil spending.
Teachers can play an important role in spurring those parental interventions. With Blackboard Connect for Teachers, instructors can choose from more than 100 commonly used messages or combine messages into a communication tailored to an individual student's needs.
Many parents want to be engaged but struggle to understand reports from teachers and schools because of language barriers. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2006-08 American Community Survey estimates that 19.6 percent of households speak a language other than English at home, and the percentage is far higher in a growing number of states and large districts. Blackboard Connect for Teachers automatically sends message translations in 22 languages, ensuring the message is received and understood.
While consistent communication is critical to parental engagement, over-communication can be detrimental. When messages are sent from more than one teacher to a student's home in one day, the Blackboard Connect for Teachers service will bundle the messages so that parents are not overwhelmed or inconvenienced.
For more information about Blackboard Connect for Teachers, visit www.blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/K-12/Blackboard-Connect-for-K12/Connect-for-Teachers.aspx
Source: Blackboard Inc., www.blackboard.com