Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2017

Classtag

Flexible user-friendly tool gets parents and teachers in sync

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Grades
K-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Excellent how-to info makes it easy for teachers to get oriented and get creative.

Cons: Some features may be redundant with communications tools your school already has in place.

Bottom Line: A fabulous way to coordinate the little sign-ups that make a big difference.

ClassTag might work best for early elementary school classrooms where there are lots of opportunities for parents to participate and contribute. Once you create your teacher account, take a spin through your demo classroom and check out its features. It's possible that some of ClassTag's features duplicate communication tools your school already uses, but you might consider how some of its more specialized features -- such as the volunteer request and to-do item -- might help you coordinate special projects or events with your students and their parents.

The Parent-Teacher Conference tool is an especially helpful scheduling tool: You could certainly use it to schedule parent-teacher conferences, but you could also consider using it to help students and parents schedule other appointments with you or to sign up for time slots to make a presentation or participate in an event. 

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ClassTag is a messaging tool for teachers and their students' parents. Teachers set up a free account and create a class, and they can add parents directly or send parents an access code to sign up on their own and join the class. Then teachers can use the app to create two types of posts: Announcements and Activities.

There are four types of interactive "Activities" -- events, volunteer requests, to-do items, and parent-teacher conferences -- that have special interactive features to let parents or teachers sign up for tasks (such as bringing a snack) or reserving a space (such as a meeting time slot). Parents can sign up for these items on their own, or teachers can add them to time slots or tasks directly. Teachers can add pictures and attachments to their posts, and they can customize the "feed" for their class to pin certain posts at the top of the page to draw attention to them. Teachers and parents can also customize how the tool sends email alerts and reminders; if a family isn’t being reached via email or mobile app, ClassTag will recommend printing a personalized paper copy of announcements to be sent home. Meanwhile, teachers can view a summary of their posts for the week and get a summary of how their students' parents have interacted with them over time. 

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The most appealing part of ClassTag might be its built-in tools for helping teachers get started: There are tons of features available, and a new teacher account comes preloaded with a sample class that's full of sample content, including sample messages and sample students and parents. Plus, the menu for adding content includes helpful cues that make it clear which features do what; it's really useful to see which feature asks "volunteers to be somewhere at a certain time" and which asks people "to complete a task."

ClassTag likely won't replace the tools your school already uses for messaging parents. Most schools tend to have a learning management system and other email tools that help manage parent communication, so the "Announcements" feature may not be what teachers need most. However, the interactive features in the four "Activity" post types are stellar tools perfectly tailored to the kinds of activities that teachers need to coordinate. In that regard, ClassTag excels, and it might just be the perfect solution for keeping track of all the big and small ways that parents can lend their support.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The sleek, simple interface makes it easy for teachers and parents to use the site. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

This tool is meant mostly for teachers and parents to talk with each other, but it could be a great way to model open, efficient communication skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

The interface and on-screen help text are excellent, and the built-in demo class makes it easy for teachers to quickly understand how to use the features most effectively. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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