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TalkingPointsTalkingPoints

Reviews for TalkingPoints

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.

1st Grade teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: connect with parents in native language

Strengths: Real Person translations on some text. They have multiple languages. Showing both english and native language in each text. is helpful for language learners and decoding poor grammar.

Suggestions for Improvement: create and app or a way to have these messages on my phone (even if the add student feature is not on the phone). Allow teachers to input some data and save student names and then input phone numbers later

Verdict: Native language text messaging (slightly better than google translate)

Teacher, School Type: High School, High ELL Population

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use this to assign work, teach lessons, and give assessments.

Strengths: It's a very compelling idea and a definite area of need, but I'm not entirely sure that this is something that can be solved using an app.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) There needs to definitely be more training involved and not just a technological solution.
2) Maybe some kind of social media integration instead of just inside this one app?
3) I didn't catch the pricing options, but I'm not sure I would pay all that much for something like this.

Verdict: I would reccommend it especially as a teacher at a school where I don't speak Spanish and always run into issues where I can't communicate with the parents.

Sara, Director of Innovation and Learning. School Type: Elementary School, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: 1. As a teacher, I would send updates and pics to parents.
2. As an admin, I would send text blasts communications to families
3. Another admin function would be to collect parent responses for volunteer opportunities, scheduling, etc.

Strengths: The ease of use is very attractive. The ability to group, to see conversation threads, and to send surveys is very helpful. It seems so much better than email for organization and data collection. The ability to use and customize templates saves time and makes it more personal.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. It would be great to sort by text, rather than by time.
2. Sending pics (coming in June?)
3. Mobile app (coming?)

Verdict: Parents respond so much more quickly to texts than emails.

Teacher, School Type: High School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I will communicate with parents to inform how the student are doing in class. They will be able to ask questions. it is great because I can also use it in Spanish. it translate everything. great.

Strengths: It can help to communicate with others people especially parents who need to communicate with teachers about anything rewarding their students education.

Suggestions for Improvement: it is a great product. That is the word, it is great. All parents can communicate easily and they can see what is the progress of the student.

Verdict: it is great to communicate with parents daily and easy. especialy to the parents of those students who are strugling.

Natalia, Preschool Teacher. School Type: Other, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: To communicate with parents through texting. Especially those parents who I do not see on a daily basis or at all.

Strengths: The fact that it is free is amazing! Parents are used to texting and this is a great way to communicate with working parents. I am so excited to know that it translates messages as well in many different languages!

Suggestions for Improvement: I don't know of anything that I could suggest at this moment.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because other apps that I have used to communicate with parents are difficult and parents sometimes do not set up what is required of them and they never receive my messages.

Mr, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use talking points as a means to connecting our parents to what we are covering in school and to keep them posted about upcoming events.

Strengths: The ability to change language from the sender to receiver is amazing. This happens seamlessly. Very similar to Remind, but this added feature gets the extra nod.

Suggestions for Improvement: Make an app. Having to have to write teacher message to parents online instead of using an app, could become daunting.

Verdict: I think any program that will automatically convert languages into the receiving party's language is quite useful in the classroom.

Teacher, School Type: High School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would communicate regularly with students, parents and club members. I like that it is two-way communication and in different languages.

Strengths: Easy and visually appealing interface. Helps parent communication and engagement. I love the poll feature.

Suggestions for Improvement: give teachers access to whole school communication
keep improving translation
can documents be imbedded or sent?

Verdict: It gets parents more involved. It gets important information out by text. Parents who don't speak English are included.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: The product would be used for daily communication between teacher and parents, teacher and students, etc.

Strengths: It translates messages for non-English speakers in their desired languages. It provides a user-friendly platform for communications, which it very likely will increase the parents involvement.

Suggestions for Improvement: Translation on professional terms, translation on field-specific terms, translation on slang

Verdict: It increases the chance of parents or guardians reading the messages.

Prek Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Other, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use the product to communicate with the parents. I would send out conference dates, picture dates, modified days, and just reminders to parents about what is or will be coming up in class or school.

Strengths: I am impressed with the translation of any language to English. It makes it easy to communicate with all your parents. Also you don't need an app it is on a website. I have used apps before to communicate and parents don't want to download another app to their phone that will just take up space. I also really liked the templates all I would have to do is add to the template what I want to let the parents know.

Suggestions for Improvement: I currently have not seen anything I did not explore the product too much I was stuck on the translation

Verdict: I would recommend the product to my supervisor because this product can translate for you how awesome the teachers who dont speak spanish can communicate with their spanish parents

Jenna, EdTech/STEAM Specialist. School Type: Other

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Coming from a district with multiple language speakers, I would like to use this program for our Spanish speaking families. I appreciate the lens of inclusiveness and user friendly access to the students.

Strengths: + Cheaper cost
+ Ability to leave messages?
+ A log of communication in sync with current district

Suggestions for Improvement: + User friendly interface
+ Clear and consistent procedures
+ Commnunication is streamlined.

Verdict: + User friendly design
+ Ability to communicate with families in multiple languages.
+ Seems like instantaneous and accurate translation (tried it with Vietnamese)

Dir of Quality, School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Have teachers and schools us it to communicate reminders, etc. to parents.

Strengths: Translation feature, ease of use, 2-way communication

Suggestions for Improvement: Offer other languages, allow for email option in case phone numbers change

Verdict: We need to do more for parent engagement, I like that it is 2-way

Tech, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices, BYOD Devices, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: To better communications.

Strengths: Ability to extend communications in a variety of languages.

Suggestions for Improvement: Not sure as the deep dive did not show many flaws yet. But more languages will be good

Verdict: Easy to use program to improve parent engagement.

Information Systems, School Type: Other

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: It would be adding another piece to our system

Strengths: i like that is an app and easy to navigate

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see it integrate with our SIS and WebSite and communications platforms

Verdict: Although a great idea. A stand alone product is not for us.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: My school uses this product to communicate with parents about upcoming events, general information, etc.

Strengths: As I work in a school where over 25 different languages are spoken, this has been a valuable product in our ability to connect with our student's families. Families want to know what is going on with their child's school and/or class, this allows us to communicate with them regardless of the language spoken at home. It has allowed us to reach the community we serve.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wouldn't change anything

Verdict: I would recommend this product to anyone who has to communicate with parents/families of students who do not speak or read English.

Carlos, Tech. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This seems like a great way to interact with parents in our district. We have a diverse population with quite a few non-native English language speakers. This could be an easy, non-intimidating way for teacher/parent/student interaction.

Strengths: Way to interact with parents on an informal basis.
Multi-lingual

Suggestions for Improvement: Don't know the specifics yet.

Verdict: I would recommend as this seems like a great tool to keep parents involved without worrying about one-on-one parent/teacher interaction. Also, it would be less intimidating for parents who may feel that language is a barrier between them and their children's teachers.

bronwyn, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: this is a great tool for parent communication as well as communication with a new comer. fabulous way to make sure that student needs and accomplishments are understood by the parents. love it

Strengths: commincation tool

Suggestions for Improvement: nothing other than continuing to add more languages

Verdict: many of the parents in my school speak a language other than english and most of the teachers only speak english. as a bilingual teacher, i spend a lot of my free time translating for other teachers during brief parent encounters. if teachers and parents had access to this tool, the middle person is unncessary

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

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use TalkingPoints to communicate with parents who don't speak/understand English. Since I work at a school that has a 60% Hispanic population, this would be especially helpful.

Strengths: I like that it is like email and text messaging rolled in one.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would want more languages added in the future.

Verdict: It would allow communication between teachers and parents to be easier and it would no longer require the students to interpret for their parents for evey little thing from school.

TSA, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to communicate with non Englis speaking parents and students.

Strengths: This product solve the problem of communicating with families in a way that can help their students. Parents need to be able to expression their feelings around their students education.Nothin

Suggestions for Improvement: The teacher dashboard could be a bit better.

Verdict: This is a great tool for teachers to use to communicate with families in their home language.

Director, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, College Prep School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: School to parent communication
teacher to parent communication

Strengths: no app needed
automatic translation
suggested prompts

Suggestions for Improvement: Nothing, I love it

Verdict: Easy to use
no app required
free to use

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: communication, announcement, report

Strengths: auto-translates into different languages,
accessible
convenient

Suggestions for Improvement: voice recording with translation

Verdict: All the above