Okay. I’m a little late to the party on this one. But I’m thinking you might be as well so . . . if you’ve familiar with ClassParrot, move along. Nothing to see here.

For those of you looking for a handy way to quickly communicate with kids and parents, then you’re in luck. ClassParrot may be exactly what you’re looking for. Emails really doesn’t work – we know that kids don’t use email anymore. Most of your kids probably don’t even remember if they have email. To connect with kids, use their phone.

ClassParrot is a tool that lets you send text messages to students and parents (which they will receive on their phones)  from your computer rather than a cell phone. Because it doesn’t “live” on a cell phone, Class Parrot keeps the phone numbers of students and parents private. Perhaps more important is that your number also remains hidden.

So how does it work?

Teachers create a separate group for each of the classes that they teach. Each group  is assigned a unique opt-in code. Teachers give that code to students and parents. Part of the beauty is that ClassParrot is an opt-in rather than an opt-out tool. If a student or parent doesn’t want to receive messages from you, they simply don’t plug in the code.

For those that do opt-in, you now have a way to communicate quickly and easily with kids and parents. You can send out blanket messages to everyone and, once a kid has responded, send out messages to individual students. A nice feature lets you create short polls. You can track the history of the messages sent and received while managing your members.

There is any app to download and Class Parrot works with any SMS on any tool.

Possible uses?

  • Remind students and update parents of assignments and tests
  • Encourage discussion during class (text a question, group confers, they send back a response)
  • Exit card conversations
  • Contact members of any last minute change of plans (practice times, field trips)
  • Send encouraging messages to parents about student work
  • Host online “office” hours

Realize that ClassParrot isn’t gonna just give away all of this goodness for free. When you sign up for ClassParrot, you start out with 500 credits with 200 extra added each month. Each credit is worth one text message out or in,which really isn’t that many. Trust me. You can also invite others to try ClassParrot and get extra credits.

You can upgrade in a variety of ways. An unlimited plan is $9 a month, or $90 a year. Larger plans range from unlimited use for 20 teachers at $100 a month / $1000 a year to completely unlimited at $200 a month / $2000 a year.

Start with the free version and give it a quick tryout. Tell me what you think.