Using a VLE allows teachers to communicate with parents in a more personal manner.
The traditional parent-teacher interview is one of the rare opportunities that teachers have to discuss a student’s progress, face to face with a parent or guardian. But because of busy work/life schedules, there is often no guarantee that enough detail and personalised attention can be given to each student in these short interviews. Student success depends upon deeper involvement from families. Programs like the National PTA in the US promote successful family/school partnerships that make a significant impact on the outcomes of student success. Chief among the standards for achieving a high level of success is the level to which parents, guardians, and teachers can connect and communicate with each other.
Using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) specifically designed for schools, teachers can engage parents in their children’s education and provide insight into:
- How their child is doing, academically and emotionally
- The details surrounding the class schedule
- How their children are faring in their assignments
Helping parents support class work
Parents want to have more detail about upcoming assignments. A sheet of paper with the project description can easily drift to the bottom of a backpack, or worse yet, vanish entirely. This leads to a great deal of last-minute stress when the assignment comes due. Parents can support their child better when they have more information related to the particulars of the assignment. A VLE can provide quick answers to the main questions that parents have, for example:
- When is the assignment due? Or is it overdue?
- How much grade is it worth?
- What is the assignment about?
- Are there any supporting materials?
Provide better context to the grade
Parents can benefit from having insight and context to a grade in order to tell why their child may have received a particular assessment. For example, a child may have been recovering from an illness, which could have affected the quality of the assignment and therefore the grade. The VLE can provide a contextual history and all the teacher-student interactions leading up to the due date of an assignment. And of course, parents can monitor these interactions at any time to ensure that their child is getting the academic support they require. Parents can intervene quickly and follow up with their children, or make a note to a teacher for more detailed insight into their child’s progress.
Tools for busy parents
Working parents are busy parents, but they still want a level of detail when it comes to their children’s school progress. However, they might find it tedious to be inundated with numerous instant notifications informing them of school activities. A school VLE can send notifications at a frequency that works for both parents and teachers. A VLE provides teachers with the ability to capture more moments of learning, provide feedback, provide context around grades and assignments. All these pieces of information can easily be shared with parents, and they can access their children’s VLE at any time for an immediate snap shot of progress.
Providing equitable access
Families that are struggling with economic, health, or physical challenges still need access to technology to enhance their children’s education experience. Parents who face economic barriers or who may come from low literacy backgrounds may not have the luxury of time, or may lack the confidence to actively participate and engage in the school community. Communication and parent engagement through a VLE helps schools to create an equitable space for each student and parent. In this same way, it’s important that schools consider a VLE vendor that is committed to Accessibility Standards. The VLE is a tool to break down barriers and help teachers to engage and communicate with every student and every parent.
In this detailed post, you can learn more about the deeper functionality of Brightspace for Parents and discover the many ways that a VLE can establish better communication between parents, guardians and students.