With the digital world continuing to expand year over year, educators are beginning to leverage several technologies to help increase parental involvement in K-12 schools. However, some are skeptical of these digital tools and the effectiveness they have in creating meaningful relationships between teachers and parents. With this being said, the typical in-person parent-teacher meetings are not as common since the evolution of digital technology.
According to a 2016 report, “there’s been a steep drop in the number of parents who believe that more intimate forms of communication—face-to-face meetings with teachers, for example—are the most effective means to convey important information about students.” This study also tells us there is a growing acceptance of digital methods among both teachers and parents.
Parental involvement is a trending topic in the education field. Studies show students with engaged parents are more likely to attend school, graduate on time, do better academically, and are less likely to drop out. Students are also less likely to get in trouble and have substance abuse problems.
Keeping parents in the loop of day-to-day activities is not always easy, but with the help of digital tools like social media, video calling, and automated notifications, teachers are saving time and keeping parents happy.
3 Digital Tools to Improve Parental Involvement
- Social Media
Social media is a great way to stay connected with parents and promote parental involvement. Working parents may not be able to make it to parent engagement nights, but following classroom social media accounts such as Facebook pages or Twitter streams will keep them in the know. EdTech shares through using social media “they (parents) can stay more informed and offer more help and expertise during a time that’s more convenient for them.”
- Video Conferences & Calls
If you can’t meet a parent in person, try video calling from the comfort of their home! Like mentioned previously, many parents are working and traveling which makes it difficult to meet with their child’s teachers. Video conferencing software such as Skype, Google Hangout, and FaceTime allow for great parental involvement digitally.
- Text Messaging & Automated Alerts
Automated alerts and text message alerts are an easy way to boost parental involvement. This is becoming a preferred communication method for both teachers and parents alike. According to EdTech, “A lot of young parents become intimidated by formal conferences or can’t get time off work to attend. Many teachers have found that the ability to text parents has made communicating with them much easier.” A study was conducted in 2017 by Columbia University and parents were sent texts weekly about their children’s grades, absences, and missed assignments. This resulted in an “18 percent increase in student attendance and a 39 percent reduction in course failures.” The numbers speak for themselves!
Alert Solutions’ industry leading school notification platform, SwiftK12, allows teachers and administrators to send text messages home to parents with ease. SwiftK12’s automated attendance alerts also serve as a great tool to help save staff time and ultimately increase attendance rates.
Pearson Education explains that improving communication and parental involvement using digital tools won’t happen overnight. They recommend a few tips to help with nurturing parent engagement outlined below:
- Involve Parents in Coursework
Find ways to get parents involved in homework and other school projects. This can be done by sending helpful reminders home through their preferred communication methods.
- Teach Parents About Digital Learning
With the many skeptics out there, it’s important to talk with parents about your school’s approach to digital personalized learning. Pearson recommends sharing “how are students benefiting, how much time per day are they spending on screens, how does digital allow students to work at their own pace and meet competencies, what will homework look like and overall WHY digital.”
- Remember: Not All Parents are Fluent English Speakers
Break down those communication barriers! There are tools for parents and teachers make it easier to grow and sustain parental involvement and engagement across a language barrier. SwiftK12 is a helpful tool as it translates messages with ease.
- Set Expectations
Make sure parents know what to expect! Parents who have multiple children enrolled in one school may be overwhelmed if each teacher has a different way to communicate with them. Pearson provides the following example; “Imagine having 2 children each with 6 different teachers who have 6 different ways to access information. This can create deep frustration that is hard to overcome.”
At Alert Solutions, we understand the importance of parental involvement and keeping parents engaged - it has so many benefits for students. We’ve kept up with new technology trends with our school notification platform, SwiftK12. Reaching parents is easy to do with our quick alerts and automated lunch and attendance alerts.
Ready to learn more? Download our brochure today!