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March 03, 2010

Blackboard Unveils Blackboard Connect

By Jai C.S., TMCnet Contributor

Blackboard Inc., a company that specializes in enterprise technology and solutions that transform the experience of education, has launched Blackboard (News - Alert) Connect for Teachers, a new feature of its mass notification platform.

According to the company, Blackboard Connect allows teachers to communicate easily with students’ families in their preferred language helping to improve parent involvement and student engagement in the classroom.
“Blackboard Connect for Teachers has been a tremendous tool for parental involvement in our district,” said Blake Chism, IT director at Orange Unified School District in California which has been working with Blackboard to test the system.
“It’s especially helpful for parents in our lower-income schools and those who don’t have regular access to email during the workday. Now teachers can reach every parent through a phone call that is sure to reach them quickly,” Chism said.
Blackboard claims that nationwide there are already several school district officials who have been using Blackboard Connect platform for outreach around urgent situations and academic issues. Now teachers can better involve parents in their child’s classroom performance by reaching the parents wherever they are with phone messages. What’s more, parents no longer have to wait for a quarterly report card to discover they need to intervene in their child’s academic performance or behavior.
With Blackboard Connect for Teachers, instructors can choose from more than 100 commonly used messages or combine messages into a communication tailored to an individual student’s needs.
“Teachers today are busy enough,” Ed Miller, president of Blackboard Connect said.
“By making communication with parents easier and more effective, we’re helping them respond to the challenges of large class sizes, extended work hours and increased cultural diversity to engage parents and their children and improve overall student achievement,” Miller added.
Moreover, Blackboard Connect for Teachers automatically sends message translations in 22 languages, ensuring the message is received and understood.
“This is the first time in five years as a teacher that I’ve been able to reach all my students’ families, regardless of the language spoken at home,” said Cecile Nedellec, a National Board Certified teacher and World Language Department Chair at Serra High School in the San Diego Unified School District.

Jai C.S. is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jai's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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