As a district we strive to provide effective and reliable communication with parents. The keywords being “effective and reliable”. It isn’t always the easiest or prettiest or come on an app but it is under our control and it is effective and reliable. We invest in ourselves when it comes to core business of the district and core activities needed to be completed by staff. And what I mean by that is we operate and control the tools to help educate children and communicate with parents as much as we can.
Recently a popular “free” communication tool hit a snag when greedy Verizon said it would no longer deliver texts by the communication tool “Remind”. This presented Remind with a delima and one in which it could not afford to pay the extra fees imposed by Verizon and decided to not pay the fees. In very short time, parents who use Verizon will stop getting texts from their child’s teacher if the teacher uses Remind. Read more about the Remind/Verizon Greedy Fee crisis here:
I hate to say, “I told you so” but we’ve seen this play out over and over. I understand in K-12 there isn’t a lot of expertise or skill in operating servers etc. But why can’t an ISD or RESA provide this service to local districts? We need to take ownership of core tools needed for effective and reliable communication/education. Things like Moodle and WordPress can make a world of difference in classrooms.
So how did Dearborn Public Schools avoid this crisis? We invest in ourselves and operate our own blogging platform which provides every teacher with a classroom website which sends out emails to parents whenever the teacher makes an announcement. While we do have some schools and teachers using Remind, we do not officially support or promote usage of that tool since we cannot control and ensure usage will be free. We are playing the long game. We don’t get overly excited about bells and whistles if we cannot ensure long term usage and control.
There are two open source products that would greatly benefit schools: Moodle and WordPress. These two applications hit at the core of what we do in education in teaching children and communicating with parents. Why would you not want to invest in yourself? Wouldn’t you want to try and avoid these emergencies and loss of services when you invest in “free” tools? Invest in yourself and avoid being left out to dry, constantly changing tools and re-training your staff on the next great thing! Moodle and WordPress are the ideal choices for schools who are serious about being in control and investing in their core business of education and communication.