Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Do Parents Want?

Before Nov 23, Please read the article "Parents: Focus more on 21st-century skills Schools must do more to prepare students for information-age careers, say respondents to a national ed-tech survey"   at

In your blog comment address the following questions.
Were you surprised with the survey and article?
What is one way you can learn what your students' parents are expecting?
Of course you can add anything else you wish and you are encouraged to read and comment on your colleagues' comments.


  1. I wonder how many parents surveyed actually are able to provide access to a computer or the internet at home. I also wonder how many teachers, especially those that were introduced to technology late in their career, are well equipped to use it successfully. The district itself has to have the money and see the importance in incorporating technology in order for it to be effective. The 1-to-1 initiatives in high schools and middle schools show that dedication. They are looking to the future, but they also find the money or a small enough to be able to do that. That is not an easy combination, nor is it possible for every district. I see the importance of the parents wanting their schools to provide their child with technology education, but I also hope they are doing something to help make that happen.

  2. Were you surprised with the survey and article?

    I agree with the findings of this article in that many of our students are unprepared to face our 21st century world. Critical skills such as problem-solving and creative thinking are so important, yet they are often not addressed. The expectations are not unrealistic for teachers and students; however, before students can be expected to master these skills, teachers must be able to. Teacher preparation (in both the pre-service and current-service areas) needs to improve as several teachers are not well-prepared to handle some of the changes.
    Another problem: school budgets. I teach in a Title 1 school, so there isn’t too much of a budget shortfall. Every classroom is receiving new smart boards this year, meanwhile, we continue to teach without central air, with asbestos in the walls and a student population that has limited access to this technology outside of school. There is such a huge disconnect that it’s hard to make the learning transition from home-school and vice versa.

    What is one way you can learn what your students' parents are expecting?

    We all know that professional development is important (not to mention utilizing what we’ve learnt in the classroom) but also taking the time to involve or update parents on the learning is important.

  3. I agree with all of the above posts so far. There definitely needs to be a balance between providing technology for students at schools and preparing students to be productive adults. The main problem I see with technology is that it is quickly changing and advancing. By the time I get a SMARTBoard in my classroom, there will probably be something better, less expensive, more user friendly, etc. Which leads to money which was mentioned before. Schools and school districts ARE making an effort to get more technology, but some can only afford certain types or by the time they get the technology it is out of date.

    Perhaps then a compromise can be made. Teach students basic skills that will be needed with an assortment of technology and technology programs: typing, editing (video/written), how to problem solve, how to determine which technology or programs are best, and perhaps most importantly, how to figure it out for themselves. I think a lot of students are able to use advanced technologies but don't always know safety procedures and HOW to use the technologies in critical thinking/problem solving ways. I keep thinking back to the collaborative project we did in class. While the technology was important, synthesization of information and collaboration was also utlized. Can't we teach our students these skills through a variety of activities, projects, and technologies?

    I am not sure what the answer is here, but as long as teachers and schools strive to do the best they can for their students, the students will be prepared. Parents also need to step up and help continue the education outside of the classroom as well. Working together in partnership, we can help students apply the skills needed to be productive, problem-solvers, and critical thinkers.

  4. I was left wondering after reading this article if perhaps one reason parents feel this way is because they may themselves feel somewhat 'left behind' by all the new technology around them. Students are fairly used to all the terminology that's out there, but to parents it can seem like a foreign language.

    I've been using a SMARTBoard for about a year, and it's a nice tool to have, but it does take time to learn what it can do and how it can be used best for the subject I teach. One major problem is that it is mounted to high for the younger children, so they need a chair to reach anything higher on the screen! Argh! But they love the interactive capabilities it provides. Then there are those days when it doesn't want to work properly and that's usually when I call on my students to help me out. Their parents might be surprised at what these students know how to do.

  5. "Parents are largely dissatisfied with the technology skills their children are learning in schools."

    Unfortunately, I see both sides of this issue as a parent and teacher....
    As a parent of a 7th grader, I wish that my daughter's school used more technology in her classes. I have visited the classrooms and there isn't a single computer for student access in any of the rooms. She is not encouraged to complete writing assignments using a Word Processor, and the classes aren't using the computer lab in the building on a regular basis. When her class does go to the lab, I ask what she did with technology. she tells me about going to the computer lab and just looking up web sites or playing a computer game.
    As a technology educator, I make sure that every student that sees me is able to do do things like email, web searches, word processing, powerpoints, basic video. I also make sure that students know that what they are doing is important and how they may be using the particular skill in the future. I have even used cell phones and iPods in the classroom for projects to show that they are more than just toys, but rather, legitimate educational devices.
    As I meet with parents at conferences, sporting events, and other school functions, the talk often turns to technology and how we are using it in our classes. Parents seem happy with the level of technology education that they are receiving at Benson High School. One of the biggest problems that we have at our school is the lack of updated home computers. Many of our students do not have access to the internet at home and must go to a friends house for access.
    After talking to many teachers around the country at conferences, I see that we in Omaha have resources that others wish for. Our administrators have taken the stand that technology integration is important and have made sure that money is available for us to purchase up-to-date products and software. We are constantly inservicing and learning about recent applications and initiatives using technology.
    Unfortunately, I was not surprised by the low numbers given in the article. Until all administrators and teachers see the need for additional technology to be USED and INCORPORATED into their curriculum, I don't think those numbers will rise very much.