Hi-Tech Lessons

Text and Twitter, it’s the hi-tech way teens and tweens communicate. More teachers and schools are embracing the trend and connecting directly with students through personal electronic devices. We have expert advice to help parents and students navigate this new world of classroom technology.

· Be aware teachers may have direct access to your child

Whether its email, text, Twitter or Facebook, technology has opened avenues for teachers to communicate with students in ways never before possible. Most of schools have strict guidelines for how teachers can communicate with students, and those may include email or other electronic communication. In a recent survey of nearly 7,000 educators, 38 percent of teachers said they email students as part of their learning platform. Eleven percent said they text students. So be aware – your child’s teacher may be connecting with them outside of the classroom. Make sure it’s appropriate and that you understand the school’s guidelines.

· Help your student understand what is appropriate, what is not and how to engage

Research shows that parental involvement is one of the biggest indicators of how children will use social media. Talk to you child about what is in and outside the boundaries of the school’s policy and what you’ve agreed on as parents – which channels to use, what kinds of topics to discuss, how often to communicate, and what not to do. Nobody wants to cross the line – teachers included. Help your child understand what’s appropriate for them and their teachers so they can engage in constructive ways that will help their education, not hurt it.

· Understand school policies with personalized devices

Not all teachers feel the same about electronic devices in the classroom. In the same study of nearly 7,000 educators, only 49 percent said they encourage and allow students to bring electronic devices for classroom use. Many schools have reported problems with students distracted by texts and phone calls during class time, or even cheating. Know what the school’s policies are and what you’ve agreed to as parents, and help your child follow along.

· Reach out to your teachers and build a three-way communication plan

There’s nothing your child is hearing from their teachers that you shouldn’t be hearing too. Building a three-way communication plan with your child’s teachers can help you not only monitor interaction, but support your child academically. Most teachers are eager to have involved parents. Find out how to reach them by email or phone, and stay abreast with their interactions with your student. Make it a three-way plan instead of only hearing one side.

· Be supportive when your student spends more time online

Teachers are sending students online for homework more and more often. This means your child may spend more time in front of a computer than in front of a textbook. Ask questions and be engaged – help steer them towards the education sites and away from Facebook. Help them stay focused and give them the computer time on the computer to get the work done.

About School Improvement Network

Founded in 1991 by teachers, School Improvement Network has spent decades researching and documenting the best practices in education. From this research, School Improvement Network has developed a step-by-step process and suite of resources for educator effectiveness. Research shows that districts and schools that use School Improvement Network’s tools produce better teachers, and increase student achievement as much as 30% in a single year. School Improvement Network works with over 900,000 educators nationwide in schools and districts in every state, and has visited over 3,500 classrooms to document best practices in action. Learn more at http://www.schoolimprovement.com.

Chet Linton is the CEO and president of School Improvement Network. He provides on-demand technology resources for over 900,000 educators nationwide to close the achievement gap and help 100 percent of students become college and career ready.

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