Product Index
Educational Operations
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Susan, Teacher Librarian. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I see this as both a great tool to facilitate communication with classroom teacher's and their families and with the whole school. Particularly with our second language families.

Strengths: The texting is great because most families do have cell phones, it would be great if their was an email tie-in plus a way to print out a paper copy for families who don't have a cell, or can't pay for the text coverage or Internet.
Having the two Chinese languages plus Farsi and Arabic makes this program particularly appealing. I really like the that the texts reflect both languages.

Suggestions for Improvement: A way to send certain messages to the company that we may find are having difficulty being translated correctly.
A way to save partially entered student data so that we can add in the adult contact's name/cell number later.
A way to easily add a second adult to a student's contact for parents sharing custody, but a way to make sure a message either goes to both or just one parent.
More languages, of course.

Verdict: I think this would really help us communicate with our families, especially our Middle Eastern families who have limited access to bilingual adults. I would really appreciate if they can add Mongolian to their language list as it is another large, new to our community population.

Digital Learning Coach, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to keep parents informed of what is going on in class or at school. I would use it to communicate projects or assignments that are due. For general information pushing out to parents.

Strengths: I am thoroughly impressed with this product! The ability to text SMS with parents in their own language is fully impressive. As a district that has to translate information to Spanish this solves that piece with quick communication. Did I mention it is a non-profit!!? and it is free!

Suggestions for Improvement: the number of languages. Currently at 10, which meets my needs but I can imagine there is someone who needs one not on there. But they are adding more! They are also adding an app as it is currently web-based for the teacher.

Verdict: The product is FREE! It translates into the parent language and translates their language back to English for me to understand. What a powerful communication tool! Did I mention it is FREE!!!

Jesus, It Help Desk. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Low Income Population, College Prep School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: As a child, I would always get in trouble at school. When the school would call my mom would have me translate and since I did not want to get in trouble, I would lie to my mom and tell her anything but the truth. To communicate with parents using a language they understand

Strengths: Easily communicates students progress to their parents in their language.

Suggestions for Improvement: This is a very good product, with minor additions it would be a great tool for our entire organization. One issue with this is if the phone number has been disabled the system only shows an error. In my opinion it should have a fail safe and have an alternate number it can dial after the bounce back.

Verdict: I would strongly recommend it due to the fact that many parents in our region do not speak English and do no know how their children are doing in school until it is too late

Counselor, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Encourage and build on school and student parent communication. use it to connect with families. text messages to connect with families. school and family engagement.

Strengths: I love the easy access and set up of the product. it is convenient to connect with families and students, and even perhaps outside agencies to hold events together and to get words out.

Suggestions for Improvement: 150 kids per teacher for free is a bit low. It would be nice to expand on this number at least to get a base model for the schools for perhaps 200 kids per account that be best. Having a "read out loud model" can be helpful for non-visual parents.

Verdict: I love this product. Who can say no to it? It is so hard to get teachers and families involved with school. it is very convenient.

Principal, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to get messages out to parents and staff and to encourage teachers to communicate with parents in their own language.

Strengths: It uses things that most people are familiar with and already use in a different way which would make life easier for teachers and parents.

Suggestions for Improvement: I didn't see a way to preview a message before sending or the translation. An app for the phone or a mobile site would make it easy to use a phone to send messages.

Verdict: The simple way to translate a message and that fact that parents would see it pop up as a text on their phones.

Veronica, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use to communicate important information or updates. Also, to request needed information.

Strengths: I am very impressed with the fact that I can poll my parents regarding any given topic.

Suggestions for Improvement: I want to be able to share pictures. I need to be able to edit the translated messages that go out to parents. I would also be interested in an add on that would allow me to message students as well.

Verdict: I like the program's versatility, templates and multiple functions.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Communicating with parents about everything that is going on in my classroom and in the school.

Strengths: Translation of language straight to parents.

Suggestions for Improvement: Making it so that teachers could message straight from their phones. Having it set up so that the school can send on behalf of teachers. Have specific generic messages already set up.

Verdict: The fact that we have a such a huge population of Spanish speaking parent and many teachers that do not speak Spanish

Teacher On Special Assignment For Tis, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: TalkingPoint it s a great way for educators and schools to communicate with families in their home language. A lot can get mistranslated or improtant information can get overlooked this way families can receive immediate notifications about important events, or behavior in class.

Strengths: It solves our language barrier problems we face when trying to communicate with our families. We can now notify them quickly and get immediate feedback to see if the message was delivered or not.

Suggestions for Improvement: For it to cost $5 per student can be very expensive, and it would be best for secondary teacher to have more than 150 students in a free account.
Also it would be difficult to try to check each parent to see if they responded with a message, if it was connect to my email that might make things easier.

Verdict: We have a lot of Spanish speaking families in our district who do not always receive our blackboard phone calls, this way parents are getting text message they can easily see. Families also don't always want to write back to educators due to the language barriers, but hopefully this will allow families to feel comfortable communicating with their teachers.

Cicely, K Teacher & Parent Ed. Facilitator. School Type: Elementary School, Other, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to get out news, information, and other classroom communications to parents of my students. I'd also use it to send and receive information about individual students such as behavior reports, illness, absences, concerns, and compliments!

I would also use to get mass announcements out for our site's parenting education classes which I facilitate.

Strengths: This product translates text messages into the language of the parent receiving the text and send back a translated message to the sender. Whoa, that's amazing!

This product also allow me to conduct surveys with an audience of parents and collates and organizes the feedback. Amazing!

This product is free for teachers. How lucky am I? Amazing!

Suggestions for Improvement: The rep. said the mobile platform will soon be rolled out, so that would be one improvement.

Secondly, expanding the languages offered to include languages like Hindi, Farsi, Bengali and more.

Verdict: It appears the product is free for teachers, so I wouldn't need to advocate purchase.

Office And Student Data Coordinator, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to communicate with parents -- absences, missing forms, student injury, and God forbid -- a school emergency.

Strengths: Translation!

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) To have an app so you an send text from your phone 2) to be able to print conversations (along with the date and time it was sent and received) 3) to be able to connect multiple cell phone numbers to one school "sender" account / to be sure that more than 1 person in admin can receive the message / text notification. In case of an emergency, this feature will be really important.

Verdict: It's so useful -- texting in multiple languages! Our school serves families from diverse backgrounds (meaning REALLY diverse). It will be to our advantage to ensure our communication won't get lost in translation.

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