Parents want to know about technology and education

I have never done this before - open source a presentation.  iStock_000008573353SmallI was invited by our District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) to present in January to parents on educational technology, the future, and digital responsibility.  Seems like a pretty straight-forward topic hey.

So, I am thinking of an outline something like this:

  1. Comparing / contrasting of school before technology and school today to show how things have already changed
  2. Talk about some interesting technologies that are available today but not necessarily existing in schools, yet
  3. Share some possible future scenarios of how technology could change education and create a wow effect
  4. Talk about what is happening today in our classrooms and show some interesting short clips that I’ve gathered from classroom visits this past fall of students and teachers using educational technology today
  5. Provide some context to digital responsibility and emphasize the importance for parents to know and be involved with their kids online life

I’ve seeded some questions here but please feel free to respond in any way you wish that you think would be good to include in the presentation.

If you’re a parent…

  • What would you want to see and hear?
  • What concerns would you want addressed?
  • What would you want emphasized?

If you’re a student…

  • What do you want your parents to know about technology?
  • What technologies do think should be in classrooms?
  • What help in using technology do you want from your parents?

If you’re a teacher…

  • What do you want parents to know about technology?
  • What help do you want from parents with your students use of technology?
  • What technologies do you think parents need to know about?

If you’re a principal…

  • What support do you want from parents for using technology in classrooms?
  • What do you want parents to know about technology?

If you’re a School District CIO / technology director / manager…

  • What do you want parents to know about technology?
  • What are your greatest concerns about technology in classrooms?

Thank-you in advance for your help, I really appreciate it!


  1. Through my career (in educational publishing) I have encountered waves of technology attempting to gain a meaningful place to support student learning. Despite small steps, its contribution to learning is sporadic and local. Nonetheless the quality of education has improved (in my opinion) dramatically. I believe learning technologies have the power to contribute to this continued improvement. If I were in your audience, I would like to know how current financial structure and governance are contributing to or impeding this potential improvement.

    Martin Goldberg
    Twitter (martin_ebp)

  2. -Martin: True for sure. Technology's contribution to business was questionable in the early stages. It seems to be getting to a, pardon the term, "tipping point". At some point, a digital learning device will be a school supply for most students. Schools used to buy calculator labs when they were expensive too.

    We're having amazing conversations in our District about how learning and teaching should look for our times and the future. Technology is always part of the conversation - not that it on it's own is important, but education with it can be transformed in ways not possible without ed tech. Governance, in our context, curriculum is a huge piece, structures, school days, grades, all play a role. Financially, a huge challenge is maintenance / replacement of technology in addition to the initial purchase. As well, staff development for teachers to be able to effectively incorporate technology.

    Thanks for your input - I do think parents would appreciate understanding these issues and needs and how they may be able to help, and why it's important.

  3. Brian - two things that came to mind:
    many parents I know are concerned about the pendulum swinging too far towards technology. I think a valuable aspect is showing how technology might enhance not replace all activities and help them understand that it is a tool and isn't inherently good or bad. Schools aren't suggesting that we abandon the basics, but still teach kids how to write (formulate a hypothesis, etc), do math, etc. There is a perception that our kids will get dumber b/c of tech and that all they want to do is text/FB.

    I also as a parent want to know that teachers know how to use technology as an instructional tool. Not that I expect them to know everything about tech and be more proficient than the kids, but for example, my daughter has come home from school and told me that the teacher did not know what to do when their youtube video wouldn't work and they spent 1/2 the class watching him/her try to fix it and felt the whole block was a waste of time. So, I want to know staff can use the tech they've selected and that they've selected something with instructional value. More thought put into why to use something and a back up plan for when it doesn't work.

    If I think of more, I'll come back to it.

  4. -Holly: Excellent point about tech not being good or bad. Tech really provides a way to do things differently, when doing so will help kids learn in new or enhanced ways. Another great point that basics or core continue.

    Your point about teachers having some key skills with the technology is well taken. Thankfully in Coquitlam, this has been increasing primarily due to really effective staff development models and structures.

    Thanks for your insite as a parent - I think I will weave these themes in. Appreciate your help!


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