It’s the evening before Back to School Night, and I still haven’t reached five parents I want to invite.
Yes, you’re right: These are parents who don’t have an email account.
As teachers, we know the importance of establishing and maintaining contact with parents. But doing so is challenging and time-consuming, particularly across language and technological barriers.
The digital divide is huge for parents who don’t have computers at home or at work. For parents whose primary language is not English, computers are intimidating. Besides, email is impersonal and devoid of human contact.
For a long time, I’ve been looking for an easy way to share information — like a reminder to Back to School Night — with parents in an efficient way. I’m pleased to say that Phonevite is a good solution.
Up to 25 people twice a month
Phonevite lets you record a voice message and send it to up to 25 people, twice a month, for free. You type in the phone numbers you’d like to reach, schedule the time for your call, and then type in your own number. Phonevite then calls you to record your message, and you’re done.
No, it’s not the same as a real call, but I like Phonevite because I can get across a lot of information without devoting hours to get through my phone list. In addition, I can record my message in English and Spanish without worrying about my Spanish speaking fluency. (I really should take more Spanish classes.)
Unlike other free voicemail services, the advertisement comes after your message, not before. There are other features — like RSVP capability — that are pretty neat, too.
If you want to send messages more often, there is a paid version, where each call costs 5 cents.
A possible solution?
It got me thinking: This year, perhaps I should require parents either to check an email account regularly or donate $1 to receive phone messages throughout the year. Of course, parents with email will still get much more information, but at least I’ll know that everyone is covered.