We know that technology has the power to do great things in the classroom, but parents often need some extra convincing. If your students' parents are skeptical about classroom technology use, the pointers in this post can help you get them on board.
If you're like most teachers, you'd probably agree that, over time, few things have had the ability to transform education like technology. According to one archived publication from the U.S. Department of Education, some of the most noticeable positive effects of technology in the classroom are:
- Heightened self-esteem, enthusiasm and motivation among students
- The ability to tackle more complex assignments and tasks
- More frequent peer collaboration
Unfortunately, getting students' parents enthused about classroom tech use can sometimes be a completely different story. If you're encountering some resistance from your students' parents, here are some ways to get them on board the educational technology train.
1. Give Parents an Early Heads-Up
Our first tip focuses on being as forthcoming as possible about the use of classroom technology from the start. This means that if you're planning to integrate technology into any part of your teaching, it's best to let parents know right away—before any tech-related assignments come up.
A perfect time to communicate this information is when sending out a welcome letter or email before school begins, or during your school's open house or orientation. This will prevent parents from feeling ''blindsided'' when their children bring home or speak about an assignment that uses technology. In your communication, you might want to consider listing some of the perks of using tech in the classroom so that parents understand that it involves more than just fun and games.
2. Hold an Informational Session
Many times, parents are skeptical about the use of technology in the classroom simply because they don't understand its capabilities in education. As mentioned above, parents often think digital devices are exclusively for fun and games, and while that's often true, they certainly have other uses.
One effective way to get parents on board is to host an informational session (or sessions) in your classroom, which could take place during the evening to accommodate busy schedules. During this time, be sure to emphasize the benefits of using tech at school, presenting statistics if possible, so that parents understand that the use of technology in education is gaining in popularity and becoming more widespread. In addition to the benefits listed at the beginning of this post, a few perks worth mentioning include:
- Individualized learning/differentiated instruction possibilities
- More accurate student data collection
- Increased student engagement
- Enhanced technical skills, which may help to prepare students for the real world and get them thinking about computer science or IT-related careers
In addition to providing perks and statistics, a hands-on demonstration of what your students are doing with tech can give parents a clear picture of what's taking place at school. Show them the devices, apps and programs that your students are using and explain how these things can help their kids learn and excel.
While you have center stage, it's also a good idea to bring up internet security, which is a common concern among parents. Let parents know that your students have website restrictions at school and can only use devices for educational purposes (most districts have strict technology rules in place).
3. Be Transparent & Available
In order to successfully integrate technology in your classroom, you should make sure that you're always transparent about and available to respond to questions about its use. Try your best to send out descriptions of any tech-related assignments so that parents always know what's going on with their children's education. When an assignment or activity is complete, consider letting parents know how their children did and what they learned or accomplished so that there's clear proof of tech's usefulness. Additionally, you should be readily available to answer questions and address concerns that parents may have along the way.
4. Keep Tech-Related Homework to a Minimum
Last but not least, you should try to keep tech-related homework assignments to a minimum. Keep in mind that some students might not have a computer, tablet or internet access at home; you don't want to put anyone at a disadvantage (or ruffle any feathers, for that matter). Instead, offer your students plenty of in-class time to complete their tech-related work, and save the homework assignments for things that can be completed without using technology.
Using the tips we've presented here, you should be able to convince your students' skeptical parents that technology in the classroom can definitely be a good thing. Although it might take some time and a few assignments, it'll happen eventually, and when it does, you'll realize that the time and effort you invested into getting parents on board were well worth it.
Are you trying to integrate more technology into your classroom? Consider Study.com's Teacher Plan, which offers thousands of engaging online video lessons in all subject areas.