Monday, May 9, 2011

Want to Build the Home-School Connection? There's an App for That!

Imagine two students in a classroom: the first working diligently, doing something very well, and the second a student who is having difficulty meeting classroom behavioral expectations. 

What if it were possible for the teacher to inform both student’s parents in 10 seconds or less, while walking around the classroom? If it were possible, would this be something teachers would want to do? Moreover, what if students were aware that their teacher had this ability, might they make an effort to be caught doing the good stuff?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding, “YES!” followed by, “But how?”

With a brand new App called Moments Ago.

Here’s how it works: at the start of class, the teacher has already setup the App and navigated to the screen that lists all of the students in her current class. She observes a noteworthy behavior, then simply chooses a student, a message, and then taps on the send button. The time needed to send one message is most often less than 5 seconds.

The minimum setup includes: teacher return email, signature, and the customization of the form-messages. In addition, teachers must either import or enter their students’ names and parent/guardian contact emails addresses. Visit Moments Ago for detailed directions and photos.

Moments Ago is free for two weeks then only $1.99 (introductory pricing) from iTunes. A school/district version that takes care of the setup for teachers and provides reports to administrators via html webpage will soon be available. The app is currently designed for iPhone and iTouch and soon on the iPad.

One of the primary goals of the former teacher who created the App is to give back to schools by working with teachers who have mobile app ideas minus the means to write and publish such apps. These teacher-developed apps are sold on iTunes, etc., with a percentage of the revenue going back to the developer schools. See additional apps at


  1. When I taught, I always tried to send the good notes home, but it seemed I tended to send more bad notes home. This may make it easier for teachers to send the good notes to parents too.

  2. Is it me, or does this sound a lot like email sent via a mobile device?

    The only real "new" thing would be a list with a series of "mailto" links.

    What would be interesting would be incorporating these types of real-time notes into a working portfolio that could be discussed with the student and/or the family (ideally with the student driving the conversation) as part of student-led formative assessment.

  3. @Bill Ritzgerald, It is email sent through a mobile device, but they put together such an efficient system that it seems worth the two bucks to make it easier and in a way that will likely increase the frequency of catching the good stuff as mentioned.

  4. Shared this with the teachers in my buildings. One let me know they downloaded it and is going to give it a try in class and let me know how it goes.

    When I sent to higher ups they mentioned that we can do the same thing from our grading and attendance software...and I replied...but that requires leaving the student, going back to your desk, logging in, etc etc etc. The mobile version makes things easier. Now if we could just get good enough signal in all the classrooms to send the email out....

  5. I love this. Anything that facilitates and encourages teachers to increase the amount of positive reinforcement they give to their students (via their parents) is a good thing in my book. I read some research recently that found that teachers believe they give far more positive feedback than they actually do. This app could be a good way for teachers to really see how much they're giving.