For years parent conferences have been done the old fashioned way. The teachers send home a form. The parents fill out the form, the teacher reviews the forms, checks with other teachers (for students with siblings) and then sets the times and then sends those times home. Then the parents respond back with other ideas and so on and so on.
All the parents just show up at a given time and hope to get in to see the teacher they need to see.
Online sign up sites can help with this and we’ll be reviewing SignUpGenius today.
What does it do?
It lets teachers create their own sign up sheet for parent/conferences or any event that may require volunteers.
It is free but they do have paid versions that cost $10-$50/month. You can find more information here by clicking HERE.
Does it work?
Yes – it does.
This isn’t so much a problem as it is sticking an oval peg into a perfectly round hole. If your school doesn’t have an online sign up and it is all left up to you, then SignUpGenius is probably a really good solution. Honestly, set up isn’t too bad (I’ll go through with that in a later post) and all you have to do is email out a link to your parents or you can add their email accounts to SignUpGenius and have them send out an invitation email.
The problem comes if you want your entire school on SignUpGenius. Because SignUpGenius is not centrally managed. Meaning that each teacher is responsible for setting up their own sign up sheets, getting it out to parents.
Sure there are ways to “manage” it, but that requires someone to take on a bit more work. Each teacher will have to email their link to a “supervisor” (just a teacher who doesn’t mind taking on a few extra hours of work). That supervisor will make sure that it’s been set up correctly and then email back to those that need help. Then help those people.
Also, other parents can see who signed up for what. I’m not sure why this would be an issue, but if you wanted to schedule in a bathroom break parents may try to take advantage of that time (don;t shake your head – I’ve seen it before).
Another problem is that parents can sign up for more than one time. Sometimes, they just don’t know how to get rid of their first appointment, the other time or they are hedging their bets. Either way it causes a little work for the teacher.
If it were managed centrally, then all this would be taken care of. Allowing parents to sign up for more than one time slot can be controlled by one person, and all the teachers would be responsible for is making sure their name is correct, the room number is correct, do they want bathroom breaks and to be aware of which parent is coming at what time.
Summing it up
Good for individual or small groups of teachers. Free for the most part and pretty easy to use.
Not good for an entire school because it is not centrally managed. Parents can see who has signed up. Parents can sign up for more than one time.
To sum it up, if it is just you or your team – then go ahead with SignUpGenius. School Bookings is just too much. If you want the entire school you will want something that is centrally controlled and managed like School Bookings. You can read my review (a few years old but it still stands up) HERE. The prices most likely have changed and I know the visual appearance has changed a little too.
People signing up don’t have to create an account but it sure looks like they need one and I find that a little misleading. I’ll detail this more in my next post.
Also there are ads on the free version.
Should you use it – sure. I’m not a hater here (most times). This would work for individual teachers and small groups of teachers. Need a place for parents to sign up as volutneers? This is good! Want to hold a PD for your staff and want to know who is coming? Yep again. There are uses here but not on a whole school/district level. It becomes messy to scale it up to larger groups.