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Six Ways Teachers Can Help Parents Integrate 1-to-1 at Home

Kelsey Herron | November 7, 2013

If there’s new technology going home with your students this year, it’s likely that you, the teacher, are not the only one worrying about it. You’re probably getting questions from parents and caregivers concerned about how these devices will get used at home.

To help schools engage families proactively around these concerns, Common Sense Media created the 1-to-1 Essentials Program, which contains resources for teachers and administrators envisioning, planning, or implementing a rollout. Here are just a few of the resources we provide that help onboard families:

1.   Devise an action plan that includes parents. Find out what your school is doing to include  families in the rollout process, and ask yourself: What more could we do?

2.   Familiarize families with your school’s Acceptable Use Policy, or the document that outlines the rules for using these devices, and the consequences for not following those rules. Suggest they use our customizable family media agreement or device contract, which helps families navigate the specifics of when, where, and how students’ new devices are to be used at home.

3.   Develop an FAQ list for families. Use our customizable tool with prewritten questions families might ask as their children starting using their new devices.

4.   Address parents’ safety and privacy concerns. Explain the filters and monitoring systems that are in place. Encourage parents to talk about Internet safety at home.

5.   Demystify the technology. Are your students’ parents familiar with legislation like COPPA and E-Rate? Use our Acronyms 101 guide and EdTech glossary to acquaint them with the lingo, and to debunk some of the myths that may have started to take root in the school community.

6.   Keep families in the loop. Schedule time to meet with families throughout year, to hear about their successes and setbacks with these devices at home. You can also use our customizable calendar tool to share how you're teaching Common Sense Media's Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum to your students.

With all of the current press covering the challenges that school districts like Los Angeles Unified are facing as they implement large-scale 1-to-1 rollouts, there are a few bright spots to consider, exemplified by districts that have piloted programs carefully and engaged families from the start. For example, there is Coachella Valley Unified, which requires all students to take a tech oath on digital citizenship and proper use of the iPad -- no cyberbullying, harmful or inappropriate pictures or content, or social media during class time -- before handing over the devices. And there is the Eden Prairie School District's i-Learn Initiative, for which "two-thirds of parent respondents rated the school’s implementation as 'excellent' or having gone 'very well.'" Teachers and administrators at Eden Prairie attribute a portion of their success to the "pre-planning," reports the Sun Current.

Our 1-to-1 Essentials Program offers resources for envisioning and planning your rollout that are resonant with successful implementation experiences we see around the country -- and they are all available for free online.