Sunday, December 4, 2016

12/4 Tech Review #2: Classloom

Classloom Invented ‎August 12, 2014
Published on Jun 5, 2015
Description from site: “Classloom is a 100% free social platform dedicated to help parents and teachers to have better and more qualified communication. In Classloom, parents and teachers can open classroom-specific groups and share events, homework, exams, pictures and documents and easily communicate with others.”

Charge or free: free to register. Many mentions of it emphasize “100% free.”

Edshelf says 19 people are using it, but there are no reviews. The Classloom site mentions that it won a “Stevie” Award (designed to recognize American businesses) in 2015 for “Women in Business.”

In my research, Classloom looks like a Facebook-knockoff designed to help very involved parents be even more involved in their children’s classrooms. A “class parent” can be designated to approve members and posts; there’s considerable emphasis on parents being able to share pictures of class activities and information on trips, etc. The scale of the communication--it does look like a Facebook page!--and the marketing tone of “keeping parents in the loop and in communication with each other as well as the teacher,” but with no mention of the students as a key participant,  all suggest that it is aimed towards elementary schools and parents, especially schools that have populations of involved parents who either are self-employed or don’t work outside their homes for pay.  

As a teacher, and as a past parent who worked fulltime and whose children didn’t relish my complete involvement in their education, I see Classloom as meaning well but as missing the mark for clear, simple, targeted information. My sense is that a working parent would be frustrated by the many layers of general information presented to him/her before being able to access his/her invidivual student’s work; as my rubric indicates, a tool that can draw a parent’s attention to what needs to be noted is hugely valuable when time is in short supply. I would say that for schools with populations of working families and/or classes of above grade 5 or 6, when students begin to desire a bit more distance from Mummy and Daddy, Classloom would be another underutilized communication tool that looks lovely but doesn’t fill the bill.

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