Technology builds bridge between parents and schools

According to Oxford academics Feinstein and Symons, not even pupil-teacher ratio has as great an effect on student attainment as parental engagement, with parents’ interest in their child’s education being the single greatest predictor of achievement at age 16. (1999)

In our latest blog, we examine exactly what is ‘parental engagement’ and discuss how technology is successfully bridging the gap between parents and schools.

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What is parental engagement?

Parental engagement in schools is defined as ‘a shared responsibility in which schools are committed to reaching out to involve parents in their child’s education.’ Engaging parents has been shown to increase academic development, social skills and general school behaviour, including reducing absenteeism.

Anyone who has ever tried to understand what exactly their child is studying at the end of a school day has been trying to be an engaged parent. The typical answer of ‘nothing’ to the question of ‘what did you do today?’ resounds with most parents, and increasingly busy lives mean that a chat with the teacher at the school gates is out of the question.

Schools have found that social media, text messages and emails have practically taken the place of face-to-face conversations as technology becomes a virtual bridge between schools and parents keen to facilitate their child’s studies.

Technology facilitates school communication
Frequently schools are using Twitter and Facebook to show parents what their children are up to during school hours, a handy use for social media. However, this is a blunt tool – schools can’t bombard their feeds with all classes and subjects. Schoop can be invaluable in giving teachers a way to focus information per class: detailing topic subjects, introducing concepts that parents can discuss with their child or flagging upcoming projects so parents can help students prepare in advance.

More general school notices and information can be disseminated via the News section. Rich text, photos, even videos can be uploaded – so clips from school plays can be enjoyed even by parents who couldn’t make the event itself, for example. The beauty of the Schoop app is that all information can also be automatically translated into over 40 languages and dialects, meaning all parents can benefit from Schoop.

School clubs can have a dedicated channel, so finding out when practice is on, where the next match will be held, or what materials are needed for next week is a breeze.

While emails and SMS messages are also a big step forward in terms of communication between school and parents, the Schoop app goes one step further. Parents subscribe only to their dedicated channels – class and netball group, for example – and so receive information meant specifically for them. Important messages are focussed and don’t get lost in a mass of irrelevant information.

Beyond SMS – and the paperless office
Push notifications move beyond SMS messages – not only are they free but they also negate the need to continually update phone records. Messages of up to 500 characters can remind parents of upcoming school trips, parents evenings, or, as we’re coming up to winter, advise of school closures due to bad weather.

Important notices that once would get sent home (with fingers crossed as to whether they would reach their destination!) can be communicated via the Schoop app. Not only do push notifications save schools money, printing costs can also be drastically reduced. Replies are returned with the push of a button – no more waiting for a ragged strip of torn-off paper, assuming the initial notice was found in the bottom of the school bag!

We have given some idea of the scope of Schoop, however we are sure that you can think of many more applications for the great range of functions it offers. Book a demo and see what Schoop can do for you!