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Can Technology Transform Teacher-Parent Communication?

Communication between teachers and families is crucial to student success. With the advancement of technology, many applications have been developed for education, many of which are designed to enhance teacher-to-family communication. Yet with a highly fragmented industry, it is not clear how often they are used, whether the applications are improving the quality of communication, and what is needed to facilitate their use. Researchers Matthew Kraft and Alexander Bolves have focused on answering these questions with a randomized trial in New York City public schools, which is outlined in Can Technology Transform Teacher-Parent Communication?

About 130 schools were offered free access to a mobile communication app, and a sub-sample of schools, selected randomly, received training and guidance to maximize the efficacy of the app. In analyzing the results, Kraft and Bolves found that the user supports led to substantially higher levels of communication within the app, but only during the year the supports were provided. Their results indicate that a more coordinated approach across schools is needed, which could include using a single platform and implementing holistic training for teachers.

By Rachel Grich