Okay, I admit it…I am a child of the 80’s and I love rock music.  In fact, I love rock music so much that all my children know the words for the 1987 Whitesnake album (you know the song “Here I Go Again”with the girl turning cartwheels on the Jaguars in the video).  Well, if you were born after this period, you probably don’t care about big hair or leather pants; however, you will care about these rocking technology tools I plan to use or continue using in 2015!!

Here She Goes Again!!

Digital Parent Conference

Typically parents who do not show up for parent nights or conferences are usually not the parents who need our assistance.  So, what is a possible solution to connecting to our absentee parents?  One answer is to hold a digital workshop or conference with your parents. How do you hold an online conference you ask?  The answer is through….wait for itGoogle Hangout

Once parents hear about the hangout, they will want more!

Honestly, I have been a little hesitant about using Google Hangout at my work, but why not? A great feature of Google Hangout is that it allows you to record the meeting and share it with the parents who may have missed the information. 

 Special note: I would not share private or sensitive information on Google Hangout, but you can share general information that parents need to know.

Now a Video: How Google Hangout works for holding a conference.

Sending Messages to Parents

I have tried many ways to get information to parents, but I always seem to miss someone.  However, the tools below may be the ones that allow me to cover a large group of parents and students without a lot of effort.

Getting information to parents quickly and efficiently makes me jump for joy!

  • Portfoliyo – A convenient way to send quick messages to individual parents, groups of parents, or students.

  • School Circle – A versatile communication tool that can be used by individual counselors, school counseling departments, or districts to distribute information, forms, events, and messages to parents.  I am really going to set up one for our counseling department and I will link it to my blog for you to view.

  • Volunteer Spot – A free website to send invites for parent meetings and/or school events.  Also, you can use the site to plan events, get students/parents to RSVP, and send reminders.  LOVE this!!

In addition to tools, I am always looking for resources to make my conferences more informative.  For individual conferences, I found a form you can create on Teachnology.

  • Pinterest – The ultimate parent conference resource page for those of you who want more information!

Organization and Access to Documents

Organization and accessing documents anywhere is really important for school counselors.  The winner, for me, is Google Docs and Forms!

Google Docs and Forms Rock!!

  • Google Docs and Forms – Google Docs is a great alternative to Microsoft Word because it stores your documents/forms for easy access and sharing with colleagues. 

Check out Natalie from the Urban Educator and her posts on using Google Forms for school counselors to collect data.  View her blog to see how you can create data from your forms! 

Now, another video: How to use Google forms.

Presentation Tools

Great presentation tools are a must for school counselors so I am always on the look out for tools that provide simplicity and lots of options. Here is a new tool that I found to be very easy to use.

  • Emaze – Select a online template to create an exciting cloud based presentation for your audience. 

Check out my friend and rock star, Carol Miller (The Middle School Counselor) to see her E-M-A-Z-I-N-G presentation!

Check out Carol’s blog…it is amazing!!

Data Collection Tools

Yes, I said the D word.  However, you must collect data as it can be your best friend.  Our district has not stressed the collection of data, but we have decided as a department to be proactive. Some tools you can use include:

Using data in your counseling department is smart!!
  • Raw – Website that collects your data and creates vector graphics.

  • Google Poll – Poll your students, parents, and staff to find out their position on an issue.

The end of the blog, but continue to rock on and share your knowledge!

Are there any tools you are using that you can share with school counselors?  Please feel free to share!!

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