How can technology be used to improve family and community involvement with schools?
The Internet is a real boon for connecting families and schools, and it will be even more important in the future. Families with Internet access will be able to participate in meetings and discussions using their home computers and e-mail, even if they cannot attend the meetings at the school. Some schools already have their own Web sites, which can be designed to enhance communication between an increasing number of parents and educators.
E-mail is also an easy and convenient way for parents to contact teachers about their children's progress.
Online forums and discussions can be held about important issues, and polls and surveys can be conducted online.
Of course, alternate forms of communication must be made available for those without Internet access -- equity in communications is crucial. Equity in communications is very important. All parents should receive and be able to respond to information from their children's schools and about their children's work. This may be done using print and nonprint forms of communication, including reports and summaries, newsletters, audiotapes, and videotapes of important meetings, conferences, and workshops.
It is also possible to use technology to create newsletters. If teachers collect their teaching materials on a database, this material can be drawn into a regular newsletter to parents. Also, if teachers have their students doing work that can be saved electronically, this work might also provide material that could be used in newsletters and other presentations.