Communicating with parents, students, and other teachers doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. There are many free tools and sites online that can help with communication and networking. Here are 20 tools to try today:
Engrade - This free suite of web-based tools was designed specifically for educators. Teachers can use Engrade to keep an online gradebook and an online attendance book. Engrade can also be used to send messages, post homework, and provide instant progress reports.
Edmodo - Edmodo is a free online communication tool for teachers and students. Teachers can privately assign homework, share files, and send alerts to students and parents.
EduSlide - This slide show tool was designed for teachers who want to create their own elearning resources. It can also be used to assign homework, share instructions for projects, and invite parents to special events.
SlideShare - Slideshare can be used to create public and private webinars and slide shows. This free tool works with PowerPoint and Microsoft Word.
WriteWith - This all-in-one tool can be used to chat, write online in groups, assign tasks, and much more.
NoteMesh - NoteMesh was created for students who want to collaborate with classmates, but it can also be used by teachers. The free service allows you to create a classroom wiki that can be updated by anyone in the group.
Keep and Share - This site offers free and secure group file sharing. Files that can be shared include documents, calendars, to-do lists, photos, and bookmarks.
Mikogo - Mikogo is a free screen-sharing tool that can be used to share your computer screen immediately with other people who are online.
Meebo - This free communication tool can be used with multiple instant messaging networks. Meebo works with AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, Gmail, MySpace IM, and Facebook Chat.
Pidgin - Similar to Meebo, Pidgin is a popular chat client that works with a variety of instant messaging services, including AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, Groupwise, Bonjour, ICQ, and Zephyr.
Phonevite - Phonevite can be used to send free reminders and alerts to other people and yourself. You simply decide who you want to contact and record a message. Phonevite takes care of the rest.
ooVoo - This free video calling service can be used to conduct a video chat with up to six people at one time. Perfect for teachers who want to communicate with colleagues or conduct parent teacher conferences online.
SpeakLike - This free web app makes it easier to communicate with people who do not speak your language. SpeakLike works like an instant messaging service and translates everything that's written from one language into another.
Google Apps Education Edition - Google's free suite of communication and collaboration apps for schools and universities makes it easy for educators to stay in touch and work together. You can collaborate in real time and share everything from files to calendars.
Twitter - Twitter has become everyone's favorite communication tool. Teachers have been using it to communicate with students, parents, and each other. It can also be used as a teaching tool in the classroom.
GroupTweet - This free app is for Twitter users who want to create a group and send messages privately between one another.
Remember the Milk - Remember the Milk is the perfect self-communication tool. This task-master helps you keep track of everything from your grocery list to your event calendar.
Classroom 2.0 - Classroom 2.0 is a social networking site for teachers who want to learn more about the web and the different ways technology can be used in the classroom. The site offers forums, webcasts, and live webinars.
TeachStrong.org - This online learning community for educators exists for teachers who want to network and learn how to integrate digital technology into the classroom.
Teachade - Designed specifically for educators, this social media networking site makes it easy to network and share resources with other teaching professionals. You can blog, chat, ask questions, and share files.
Original image: 'Communication' http://www.flickr.com/photos/44586678@N00/1459055735 by: Joan M. Mas