In my role as a parent, I’ve seen how hard schools try to encourage us to be involved in our children’s education. Having experienced my first parents’ evening, various email updates from school and a weekly school-wide newsletter, you certainly can’t fault schools in their attempts to engage us. However, I can’t help but wonder whether there might be opportunities to do this in a smarter way and take advantages of efficiencies – as well as considering what might be best for the parents of younger learners, the majority of whom are dedicated smartphone or tablet users?
There are so many pressures on teachers that I worry that they are losing their valuable teaching time in their many efforts to engage with parents and involve them; a task that, at end of the day, might not even yield the best results.
Another huge pressure for teaching staff – and especially those in early years’ settings – are the daily assessments they have to make and write up for each stage of each child’s developmental progress. From my time as a Sergeant, as well as coming from a family of teachers, I know the demoralising effect that constant report writing can have; obstructing the core function of a job role, which is where a person delivers their greatest benefit.
Thinking creatively about tech
It’s for this culmination of factors that I’m a fan of ReallySchool and wish my own children’s school used this awesome tool. Having seen its impact for teachers in streamlining the assessment process via its easy-to-navigate platform, through to the superb real-time updates for parents, the amount of time and attention that has gone into creating it is clear.
Education is such a rich and diverse environment and has its own unique set of characteristics. As an edtech developer myself, you can always spot those products and platforms which have been created with teachers and those created in silos for teachers. I believe edtech developers have a moral obligation to co-create tools with teachers – to help them save precious time as well as support teaching and learning. ReallySchool does this in bucket loads.
It also delivers an added benefit for schools trying to educate parents about the importance of online safety, by offering an additional method of placing these messages directly in front of parents. For example, when a teacher runs a class-based eSafety activity where, let’s say, the kids create a message to help educate parents about safe passwords, they can take photos of a child’s work and quickly send it off to the parent’s smartphone or tablet; thereby increasing the parent’s knowledge and awareness of this extremely important issue.
Parental engagement in general and around eSafety continues to be a hot topic and I’m glad the team at ReallySchool is setting the benchmark for how tech can both save teachers’ time and deliver a fresh way of getting information into the hands of parents.