Blog 5 Reasons to take Parent-Teacher Conferences Online By Peter Cottle Technology to Transform Your School Taking parent-teacher conferences (PTCs) online can open up many opportunities. In an increasingly uncertain world, developing agile models for teaching and learning as well as school management is becoming an important indicator of success. This blog explores 5 reasons to take parent-teacher conferences online. allensima/Shutterstock.com Reason 1: Encourage sustainable practices Taking a digital approach to parent-teacher conferences, an important aspect of school life, is an example of how a traditional practice can become more sustainable. Knowing that the only requirement for a parent to attend is an internet ready device and a stable internet connection means that these conferences can occur more often and in a space that is more convenient for all. The tools used to support online parent conferences also encourage teachers to stick to time limits and track who they have seen. It further removes the need for schools to be open later into the evenings and parents to make multiple trips back and forth onto school grounds. Reason 2: Flexible and adaptable The model of bringing parents into the school grounds for PTCs once or twice a year has been an embedded practice for many schools. However, in practice, there are often barriers. For instance, only one parent may be able to attend due to commitments such as work. A more flexible schedule allows PTCs to happen at times that suit the personal circumstances of each family. By shifting PTCs to an online platform, it is possible to include multiple attendees and every key stakeholder in a child’s life can join in. Reason 3: Set goals together When PTCs occur on the school’s digital platform, a teacher has direct access to evidence of student learning via the learning management system (LMS), thereby providing parents and guardians with a context around which to talk about progress made. In Schoolbox, an all-in-one LMS and community portal, teacher feedback on student submissions as well as learning moments provide the student with agency to talk about what they have learned, supported by examples of their own work. In addition student progress and achievement is available to the teacher in one place via the student markbook. This markbook can then be made visible to parents. With everything in one place, it eliminates the need for teachers to navigate to multiple locations for evidence of student work and able to quickly screen share any aspect of a student’s work. Reason 4: Increase engagement Moving PTCs online addresses one critical aspect of school operations today—engagement. An engaged community is one that cooperates and collaborates to achieve a shared outcome. With an online PC, it becomes possible to connect parents directly to their child’s learning journey. By having access to the learning taking place in the classroom via an online platform, parents are able to engage in regular and rich dialogue with their child’s teacher. Reason 5: Build a culture of trust By enabling parents to engage directly with the learning journey of their child, schools are able to build a culture of trust within their community. Parents are able to view work produced by their child in a timely manner, allowing them to stay informed and have meaningful conversations with their children at home. Visibility of the teaching and learning process can empower parents to provide support and reinforce the key messages to their child. Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock.com The education landscape has shifted in recent years and as parents have been able to increase their engagement in their child’s learning through digital platforms, schools are making a conscious effort to use systems that fit around their busy lives. This in turn supports their connectedness in the evolving landscape. Online parent conferences demonstrate an awareness of schools to understand that the institution of education is aware of the contemporary needs of all, and most crucially, is there to support the growth and development of each individual. Peter Cottle is an educator and e-learning specialist with over 13 years experience in K–12 schools. A passionate advocate of learning design underpinned by Universal Design for Learning approaches, Peter is a Territory Manager at Schoolbox and is continuously looking for ways to enhance the learning experience of all learners. To learn more about effective parent-teacher communication, contact us today and speak to a Schoolbox education consultant.