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Inviting Parents into Your Classroom through Technology

Camille Gilbert on Jun 2, 2015 7:00:00 AM

parent involvement

Technology is a great asset in education. Not only can it help teachers deliver lessons more effectively, it can also improve students' ability to learn new material.

Parents don't have to be left out of the equation, though: teachers can use new forms of classroom technology to help parents stay informed about what their kids are learning and how successful they are in their work.

Provide access to complementary websites

One of the many advantages of the internet is the way it can be customized to complement traditional modes of learning. Many K-12 education publishers have companion websites that have multi-media resources that complement the lessons in the units of the textbook.

As a teacher, you can provide access to these sites to your students and their parents to use from their home computer. Open source programs like Moodle also enable students to work at home and for parents to observe the lessons.

Post presentations online

companion websites

Most teachers at any grade level use a variety of media to enhance their lessons. Some common media tools that are incorporated into their plans include Power Point presentations and videos.Videos can be posted on a school-based website or even on public sites like YouTube.

Worksheets and Power Point presentations can also be posted online. Google Docs is also a website that facilitates sharing, and you can even require parents to have passwords to access the files. When parents can use technology to review the lessons their students are learning, it makes them feel more connected.

Online grade books

In earlier generations, parents had very little idea about how their kids were performing in school until the report card came out at the end of the marking period. For better and worse, modern life includes a lot more surveillance than it once did. But from a parent's perspective, that surveillance means that you can keep tabs on what your kids are doing, especially in school.

Online school administrative programs like Skyward function as a sort of online grade book, which means that parents can be aware of how well their students are performing on each assignment - and even when work doesn't get turned in on time.

This real time access allows parents to seek out extra help like tutoring before it's too late for their kids.

Social media

technology

Social media provides another way that teachers can boost parent involvement. Teachers can post periodic updates about classroom activities on a classroom Facebook page or in a Tweet.

The advantage of using social media to help keep parents updated is that it is not a really time consuming activity for either parents or teachers who are already very busy.  Parents do want to be informed about what is happening with their kids' education, but may not always have much time to do so.

Short, brief messages in an easily accessible medium that parents are often already using can really help. Technology and education can be a natural fit with each other, but they have to be balanced in a smart way. Technology should save time and improve communication, rather than presenting more hassles.

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