Parent support for 1:1 Technology in Schools

Getting parent support on any innovation in the school is important before officially rolling it out. Schools use technology is so many different ways that as parents we know it’s sometimes difficult to understand why tablets (or other technology) are needed in the classroom. Is this a fad? Is this the way of the future?

Whether it’s iPads or Chromebooks, parents and teachers need to be part of the discussion from the beginning. Ed tech enthusiast Larry Cuban recently posted a letter he received from a parent where the school announced their plans to roll out the iPads. The parents were unhappy that they were not part of the discussion when the district made this decision to move to mobile learning. This is a challenge we know many districts may face as their roll out their 1:1 initiatives. What is your initial reaction to this note from the school? 

[The parents sent (Larry Cuban) a recent letter that the principal sent to everyone in school community.]
A message from _______ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Families of __________,
In April, we shared with you a plan for our [1:1] initiative to personalize learning for our … students utilizing technology tools. Over the past month, the staff and I have listened to parents’ voices and have heard both support and reservations around this proposed program. As a result of that input, we have decided to pause and rethink our next steps.
We now realize that while the staff and I enthusiastically created and rolled out this plan for transforming student learning, we had not fully engaged our parent community in the process. The … parent community has always been closely knit and very supportive. We need and want your support and we truly value your input. As the staff and I rethink next steps, we will be communicating opportunities for you to engage with us and share your ideas about technology and learning.
While we are pausing on our full implementation of [1:1], we remain firm in our belief that technology can enhance student learning and ensure that each one of our students reaches his or her potential. Staff will continue to integrate technology into their daily lessons. We will also continue to provide options to any K-5 family who would like to purchase an iPad through the district for their child to use at school or to have their child bring an iPad from home. We will continue to have shared devices in the classroom to support teaching and learning.
Families wishing to purchase an iPad through the district should return your Option Letter by May 30, 2014. We will be following up with those of you who have already returned your letters requesting to purchase an iPad through the district to confirm your selection. The staff and I value and appreciate your involvement and support. Thank you for engaging in this conversation and for being part of our process. We look forward to working together as we move forward.

How does your district handle this type of communication? At what point should parents be brought into the conversation? 

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