ISTE Panel QOTD 3 – How Do We Engage Parents In Tech Discussion?

This is part of a series of posts following up on the great questions that were asked in the backchannel #cpchatq during our panel “What Does It Mean To Be A Tech-Savvy Principal” at ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia last week.


Question 3 in our series following up on the great questions that were submitted to us during our ISTE Panel is from Tony Baldasaro (@baldy7).  How do we bring our school communities into the technology discussion?

This is a critical question that we need to answer in our school communities in terms of getting buy-in for the use of web 2.o tools.  It is imperative that we show parents concrete educational uses of tools that are available to engage students.  All parents are seeing and hearing about social media tools and technology are the horror stories that are reported on the evening news. If we do not show them the positive capabilities of these new resources then it will be tough to gain support and momentum

In addition, the use of these “gadgets and gizmos” is quite foreign to parents in many cases because of their own educational experiences. They came from very traditional classrooms and many do not see the need for change.

This whole issue creates an amazing opportunity for us to create a true community of learners that extends beyond the walls of our school.  At Burlington High last year, we held a monthly “Tech Night for Parents” series that introduced parents to new tools that could be used for student and/or adult learning. In addition, we also tried to bring parents up to speed on important topics (i.e. Facebook – Welcome To Their World) so that they could have informed conversations with their students about being digitally responsible.

What are your thoughts on bringing the school community into the technology discussion? What have you done and what are you planning?

Our previous Question of the Day Posts:

QOTD 1 – Isn’t being tech-savvy just part of our job?

QOTD 2 – “Most schools have pockets of innovation-a handful of teachers doing great work-How do you scale up the best in your school?”


Edweek’s Review of the Tech-Savvy Principals Panel


  1. Shelley Owen said:

    This is a very important component to any technology plan, AUP, or change initiative. In May of this year, we offered “Technology Tuesdays” to parents and teachers in our school community wishing to learn more about computer applications, social media and networking, cloud computing, and Web 2.0. Unfortunately, even though parents have been asking for computer training classes and to be involved in technology education planning, we consistently had only 4 or 5 dedicated parents and/or teachers show up. We WILL, however, keep trying and will offer this again throughout the year next term. Any ideas on how to get parents more involved is welcome!

    July 4, 2011
    • Shelley – I have been thinking that we need to add virtual sessions for parents who cannot physically get to the sessions. One of the big advantages of the technology is that it takes away some of the time/place problems. It is so easy to stream sessions. In addition, we could add screencasts on topics. I hope to offer more this year and build off of a weekly topic we will have for students so that parents can be learning the same thing as the students.

      July 5, 2011
  2. Fred De Sena said:

    My company recently provided online summer remedial courses for a NJ school district. As part of our program we opened with an online orientation for both students and parents. This obliterated the misconceptions and made the parents partners with this new facet of learning provided by their district. Choosing the right tech partners provides for solutions. Your tech partner should be integral in reaching out into the community. In this way we can engage parents and make them share holders as well, — by allowing them to experience these new innovations. Feel free to contact me to speak more about this subject and being a tech partner to the district. Fred De Sena VP/Administration IOE, Inc. Ioe is incorporated and registered in the staate of NJ and authorized by the NJDOE to provide services to the NJ school districts.

    July 5, 2011

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