How do teachers, students, and families stay connected at your school? With so many different ways to share information, sometimes communication channels can feel all over the place, and critical updates can get lost in the shuffle. Earlier this year, the team behind Pronto reached out to me to share their communication hub for schools. It is a dynamic tool that can promote student engagement and classroom community while humanizing digital learning environments.
If you haven’t heard of Pronto before, it is an education communication hub that brings together members of your school community. With Pronto, you can connect teachers, students, and staff via chat and video. Pronto is built for K-12 education to promote more meaningful classroom connections. It can integrate it with learning management systems (LMS) to keep everything streamlined in one place. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the key features of Pronto and how it can help build student communication skills.
Family Engagement Tools
How does it work? Pronto gives users access to instant chat and real-time text messaging. There is the ability to set up video calls and meetings, too. During the video calls, users can host one-on-one meetings or invite up to 400 observers. You can decide if a meeting will have a video chat or just audio, and you can record meetings, share files and show your screen if you wish. There aren’t any file limits with Pronto so you can share and store any file type within your community. This feature means you can share documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos — you name it.
In addition to the video calls and meetings, Pronto provides real-time chat translation for families messaging with their child’s school. There are read receipts so you can make sure families are receiving important messages and the ability to send one-way communications for announcements. Pronto allows direct communication between families and teachers, whether you set up a two-way chat or a one-way announcement.
A Communication Hub for Schools
The communication benefits go beyond the family engagement options and include peer-to-peer learning and classroom communities. Pronto lets educators create communities within their classrooms. This setup could consist of communities of students with students, students with teachers, and as mentioned earlier, teachers with families.
Pronto helps groups stay connected in lots of different ways. These communication channels could include a teacher answering questions from students in a synchronous or asynchronous environment, or students sharing files and updates with their classmates when working on a collaborative project.
Pronto serves as a communication hub and a task management system for students. This way, students can track important tasks and integrate their reminders with learning management systems (LMS) like Canvas and Blackboard. Designed with educational institutions in mind, Pronto has accessibility features like screen readers and dynamic text and is FERPA compliant.
Building Communication Skills
In my new book, EdTech Essentials (ASCD), I dedicate a chapter to the topic “Provide Opportunities for Students to Share What They Have Learned.” This is because it’s so important that students have practice sharing and collaborating in digital spaces. Pronto is an example of a tool that can provide a space for students to build these skills. Here’s an excerpt from pages 71-72:
“Speaking in digital spaces might involve a live video conference, a prerecorded video presentation, or a text-based post in a discussion space…There are a handful of skills students will need to speak and share in a video conference, including how to connect to a video conference room, how to find and look at the camera when talking, and how to share a screen to display what is on a student device. You might decide to explore additional skills with students, such as using external microphones or cameras and even introduce the steps needed to schedule and set up a call.”
A communication hub can keep teachers, students, and families organized throughout the school year. You can help students build skills navigating digital spaces and sharing their work. And you can help families stay connected with their school community.