Three years on from the beginning of the parental engagement project we have worked extensively with a range of schools in very different contexts and we can say categorically that using ICT to support parental engagement really does make a difference. Real learning partnerships have developed between home and school where parents know more about what is happening in school and are engaging with school on a more regular basis.
Amongst the schools we work closely with there has been an explosion in the use of personal mobile devices , used in school and taken home. Schools are reporting dramatic changes in learner achievement as well as learner behaviour. The increased communication and contact with parents has led to things like reduced summer holiday learning loss in Key Stage 1, a greater awareness amongst parents of how best to support their child’s learning and interestingly it is just emerging that through the shared use of iPads between home and school fathers are becoming more engaging in their child’s learning. Some schools can point to specific examples of how technology has supported primary age children to reach stretch targets and secondary GCSE students who have increased their passes by at least one grade.
25 million laptops later,” Mashable announced today, “One Laptop Per Child doesn’t increase test scores.”
Error Message,” reads the headline from The Economist: “A disappointing return from an investment in computing.”
What a surprise! We know that technology alone is not the answer BUT when it is carefully planned as part of an improvement strategy it definitely works! The use of personal devices, the ability to continue learning beyond the classroom, the involvement and partnership between home and school all have a significant effect on achievement and standards.
So, why does technology work? How does it strengthen the relationship between home and school? Why do parents get more involved in supporting their child’s learning?
Well there is a variety of reasons given by schools but generally they all say “we work with the technology parents have in their pockets, we contact them in a way which they find most accessible and we give them what we know they most value – the chance to see what their children are doing, share in their successes and discover a whole host of things they can do to help and support”.
Lorna Thompson has a wealth of school leadership experience, she knows the power of working closely and in true partnership with parents. She is committed to sharing ideas about how technology can be used to support this process. Contact Lorna to find out more about how IET Associates can support your school in your engagement with parents.