Bloomz is a classroom app that saves teachers time by helping them connect, coordinate, and communicate with today’s generation of parents

App of the Week
Formats: PC, Mac, tablet and mobile devices, for both iOS and Android
By: 
Cebron Walker, Editor-in-Chief

Website: www.bloomz.net

What does it help with?

Bloomz helps teachers create an engaged parent community around the classroom.

What grade and age range?  

Bloomz is most used by teachers and parents of kids in pre-K through eighth grade, and can be used in any education environment where parental engagement is important to the success of students.

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extra-curricular/professional development or what?

Bloomz is a classroom management tool that helps teachers increase parental engagement.

What is the pricing model?

Bloomz is free for both teachers and parents.

Are there services around it?

In essence, Bloomz is both the product and the service, providing an online environment that enables educators and parents to connect, coordinate, and communicate easily, privately, and securely.

What makes it unique?

Bloomz goes beyond traditional messaging and communication apps by empowering parents to get involved in classroom activities and school events. The Content Translation feature allows users to choose from among 80 preferred languages and have all their content automatically translated into that language—whether they are on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. In one app, Bloomz provides a variety of tools to create a community around the classroom, effectively saving teachers a great deal of time.

A description of the characteristics—how is it designed for user interface, user experience?  What instructional design principles are at work here?

Bloomz saves teachers time by integrating communication, coordination, and community-building tools into one app.

When it comes to communication, Bloomz allows teachers to connect with parents by sharing photos and updates about the day’s activities, and can also send announcements for assignment due dates, reminders of registration deadlines, or alerts for really urgent matters.

Its integrated class calendar gives school communities one place where they can coordinate with parents, whether planning class activities, organizing field trips, or tracking parent-teacher conference signups. Bloomz also empowers parents to collaborate with each other, volunteer, and participate in these school activities.

With Bloomz, parents, teachers, school staff, and PTA leaders can all instantly communicate through private and secure two-way messaging—no more searching for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Everything created or shared on Bloomz is protected by its strict privacy measures, which give teachers and administrators full control of who accesses the virtual classroom or school community.

 

A teacher’s review:

“Have you heard of Bloomz? It's an app that has changed my life as a teacher. I started hearing about Bloomz over the summer. It seemed to be all over Facebook. It claimed to be a safe way to stay connected with parents through updates, texts, and e-mails without giving out your cell phone number. Several teachers who had used it the year before had been raving about it. I have to admit I was skeptical. I think my biggest concerns were that the parents would think that they could contact me 24/7 or that I would have that ‘one parent’ who was constantly texting me about one thing or another. Well I am happy to say that none of that has happened. In fact, I am loving the close/immediate contact I have with these parents.

The way it works: I downloaded the app and set up a class. I then sent out letters to all my parents asking if they wanted to join. If they were interested I sent them an invite via e-mail. The invite contained a unique code for them to use that would connect them to the class. Once connected they could see all my posts and text me through the app.

My absolute favorite feature to the app is that it will translate the posts into almost any language. This is huge for me. I teach in a school with a high ELL population. Being able to send out a text or update and know that the recipient will be able to read and understand it is priceless. The other great thing about Bloomz is that you don't need to have a smartphone to stay connected. Parents can sign up to get e-mail updates of any posts. I highly recommend this app as a way to stay connected with your parents. The parents that have taken the leap of faith with me on this journey are thrilled with Bloomz.” —Kim Quinn, fifth-grade teacher.

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