Found a great new app for your classroom but parent participation is low? Try these tips to get parents engaged.

You’ve deployed a new app in your classroom and students are logging on, posting assignments, reading your feedback, and loving the new platform. It all seems to be going great, except for one problem. You’re having a hard time convincing parents to participate. Although it’s frustrating when parents aren’t logging on to see all the great things going on in class, don’t get discouraged. Check out these quick tips to help encourage parents to get engaged online.

Remind parents what’s in it for them

When people are reluctant to learn new technology, it’s often because they don’t realize the benefits. Remind parents of exactly the kind of information included in the app and how they can use it to get involved in their child’s education. Parents want to feel helpful, so it’s important to remind them how the new app will help them become more involved and help their child in school.

Create a checklist

It’s possible that parents don’t understand the app’s basic functionality and they are reluctant to ask for help. Create a small and manageable checklist (with tasks a parent could do in 10 minutes) that walks parents through setting up the app and exploring the top features so they can get their feet wet.

Send app notifications and reminders often

Parents sometimes think of classroom apps as a place for teacher-student interaction. They may not know where and how to participate. Notifications and reminders can help by taking parents directly to the app and showing them where information is located. Make sure the app is set up to send notifications and reminders to parents so they know when to log on and check in.

Offer to help with the initial login

If parents can’t figure out how to log in easily, they may give up. Offer to have a quick call, or meet with parents before or after the school day, for a quick log-in session. Some adults are embarrassed that they don’t understand technology, but remind parents that if they can use the app it will help them strengthen their connection with you and their child.

Lead parents to the online tool

As you post classroom status updates or assignment feedback, remind parents that this information is in the online tool. Notifications and reminders from the app are great, but if parents still aren’t checking in, a quick phone call telling them where to find the information can be helpful. An email blast or group text can work too! By leading them to the online tool to access updates, you can move away from older hard-copy formats as parents get acclimated.

Try to get your colleagues on the same page

Low parent-user rates may be the result of too many apps being used in the school. Talk to your colleagues to see if you can consolidate the technology teachers are using. Maybe you’re all using different apps that have similar features. If you can consolidate to one or a few apps, you’ll relieve a lot of pressure on parents.

Encourage students to be your tech ambassadors

Students can be your best allies when you want to encourage parents to adopt new classroom technology. So remember to ask your students to show their parents any classroom technology you’re using. Students often rise to the challenge because they want their parents to know what they are learning in school.

Getting parents to adopt new technology can be a challenge. We are all skeptical of new apps and technology, but when we start to see the short- and long-term benefits, we’re more likely to get on board. Parents are no different. So remember that patience and persistence are essential as you work to adopt new technology for the classroom.

Encourage parent app use with tech that makes life easier!

Consolidating apps across classrooms simplifies technology for parents which can translate to higher tech adoption rates. But you can take it a step further and encourage parents to consolidate apps for activities outside of school as well. A new app, called FamWeek, is a great tool for this! FamWeek is a one-stop communication app to keep parents on top of all of their child’s activities. Parents can communicate with their child’s school, extra-curricular activities leaders, and after-school providers through FamWeek. This app provides a centralized place for families to get an overview of everything they need to remember.

FamWeek is a great tool for teachers, too. It provides an overview of student attendance, a way to easily communicate with parents (individually or in groups), and a platform for sharing experiences from the school day with parents. It’s great for keeping parents in the loop with what’s going on at school. Want to learn more?

Check out how FamWeek is changing the way parents, schools, and organizations work together at https://youtu.be/ezq8Ioy03Es

A self-described "education policy junkie," Rachel Land Nystrom loves to combine the research skills she honed while earning an M.S. in Education Policy with her technical writing chops to help others interpret and understand what's new in the education market. When she's not laboring over her keyboard, you'll find her at baseball games soaking up the sunshine or camping throughout the U.S.

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