We’re almost two decades into the 21st century, so let’s not act surprised that the parents of today’s students are not the same parents schools were working with 25 years ago. The technology that was once impressive and slightly out of reach for most educational institutions is in the pockets of most students attending school today. So why are we ignoring the fact that their parents are going to be expecting more? It’s time for us to start incorporating technology into the educational process to make it more accessible and produce a higher level of engagement.
As a 21st century parent myself, here’s a real-life example of one of my own frustrations with the lack of meaningful technology integration into the educational experience:
In what has to be the definition of ironic, I’ll never forget the day I was giving a presentation at an Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) conference, explaining the value of meaningful technology integration into educational systems, and, subsequently, I had to miss an IEP for my daughter (who is blind in one eye). We were outlining her junior year of high school, which was incredibly important in terms of maximizing opportunities and beginning to plan for the next steps of her education, and I couldn’t participate.
Why was I unable to contribute to the education of one of my own children?
- It’s not because I’m uninvested. I work with educators every day, and I want my children to succeed more than anything.
- It’s not because I didn’t have time. I’m willing to make time.
- It’s not because the school doesn’t want or need my input.
I just happened to be unable to physically attend that brick-and-mortar meeting, which for me poses an important question:
Why are we still reliant on brick-and-mortar meetings for parent engagement?
We no longer live in a time where only one parent works and/or wants to be involved in the educational process of their child(ren). We also no longer live in a time where in-person meetings are the only option. We have the technology, parents are familiar with the technology, and it can be extremely effective in the development and execution of individualized student strategies. Why on earth are we not capitalizing on it?
That’s just one example of the ways that video can contribute to the ultimate goal of providing better educational opportunities. Think about the number of parents who drive their children to school districts outside their hometowns. Think about the number of households where 100% of the parents work. Think about the average daily attendance districts could be protecting by offering parents options to utilize technology as a way to engage in their students’ education. It’s a no-brainer.
It’s time to start treating 21st century parents like they are comfortable with technology (because they are) and like they’re willing to contribute to their childrens’ educational experiences (because they are) with the tools available to them today. It’s time to start leveraging technology to market our schools to those parents and prove to them that we’re interested in using that technology to create more opportunities for student success.
– Jason Eatmon
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