Make Parents Comfortable with Tech for a Successful 1:1 Program
Your school has finally gone one-to-one with Chromebooks. Each student has a brand-new laptop and has easily mastered Google Classroom and the other educational apps you carefully chose for them.
Powering their devices is a robust network and state-of-the-art cloud technology. The best security measures are in place, too — content filtering, data privacy and more.
Like other K–12 school districts around the country, you’re closing the digital divide — making sure your students have access to technology that paves the way for their future successes.
The implementation was a total success. Or was it?
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Parent Engagement Is an Important Piece of the Puzzle
According to CoSN’s 2017 infrastructure survey of district tech officials, 40 percent of respondents said their school systems already offer one device per student, and 43 percent expect to reach that threshold within three years.
That means plenty of kids have devices they are likely taking home on a daily basis. While it’s important to make sure teachers and students are ready to use technology in the classroom, it’s equally urgent to keep parents engaged, too.
Student success hinges on parents’ understanding and acceptance of classroom technology and innovation. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep moms, dads and caregivers on board and informed during all points of the device implementation process. Give parents and caregivers information about the technology students will be using in the classroom (and at home) from the start.
Use Social Media and Events to Keep Parents in the Know
Before doing a device rollout, get the word out to parents. You can send newsletters, put it on your website, announce it on Twitter or Facebook — all of those are great channels. The best way, however, is to plan a parent night to discuss it with them.
The more you can get the technology in front of parents and let them work with it, the more it’s going to make an impact. There will be questions about accessibility and equity. Parents often have nightmare scenarios in their heads — you can give them comfort. Let them work with the devices, see your content filters, test everything out. Let them get as comfortable with the technology as you are.
Do the same for apps and software. Set up a monthly parent night where they can come for training with a technology resource person to learn about the tools their students are using on the devices.
Teachers are obligated to share with parents a list of apps and how they tie into the curriculum. It helps to have a good curriculum map. You can show parents, “Here’s the resource we’re utilizing to work on X, Y and Z.” By that same token, parents also have a responsibility to keep themselves informed, checking emails and the website for updates.
But remember: Technology shouldn’t replace a conversation. Take the time to have personal interactions and get to know parents as people. They will appreciate getting to know you, too.
Technology is an extremely important tool, but there has to be that personal touch to make it work well.
This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.