BLOUST.COM, the brainchild of Debbie Popkin, is a social network developed to bridge the gap between home and school by allowing teachers, students and parents to share information and create an interactive environment that promotes student success.
“As a mom of three boys in the public school system, I was looking for a way to set my sons up for success and was frustrated at how difficult it was to get information from them on what was happening in their classrooms,” said Popkin. “I took my frustration and turned it into an opportunity to provide teachers the ability to create their own websites.”
Popkin's very easy to use Bloust system takes teachers, step-by-step, through the process of creating their own sites and offers endless possibilities on what they can post or even how they can communicate with parents and students.
“I've tried to put myself in both the mind of the teacher and the student; thinking like a parent is a piece of cake,” said Popkin. “But in doing this I've been able to create categories where teachers can post information on classroom activities as well as receive feedback from parents and students. I've also been able to provide all the information in a variety of languages so that no parent or child ever feels left out of the process.”
Bloust has even incorporated a way for teachers to offer homework help on the site or set up virtual parent-teacher meetings. Popkin feels that in today's fast-paced world many parents want to be involved in their children's education process, but often their work schedules prohibit this from happening.
“I created Bloust as a bridge in the communication between home and school. It's an efficient platform that provides all the tools to help our children succeed, keep parents more informed and assist teachers in utilizing the parental support that is often lacking often due to poor information. What I've tried to do with Bloust is create a community where everyone who participates is a beneficiary,” said Popkin.
Some of Bloust's many features that teacher's may access from their website include, a comprehensive dynamic calendar that automatically sends e-mail alerts to those registered, Podcasting capabilities, photo gallery of classroom highlights and Teacher Talk, which facilitates dialogue between teachers and students on important classroom issues. Content can also be translated into eight languages, empowering non-English speaking parents to become more involved in their children's education.
From a student standpoint, Bloust is an experience they are already very familiar with–social networking. They can create profiles, put their clubs online, share videos and keep in touch with their friends, all in a classroom-like environment.
“It's important to reach students at their level,” said Popkin. “Bloust does this by connecting two very important things in a young person's life