World — 31 March 2011
'Parent portal' helps teachers reach student's parents

'Parent portal' helps teachers reach student's parents.

An amazing 71 percent of teachers feel that a secure internet ‘parent portal’ would improve school-to-parent communication. And they believe it is vital for parents to see actual details about their child’s schooling. These findings come from a survey of 5805 teachers, which has been released by leading educational ICT provider, itslearning ( )

In the survey of teachers in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden, some 75 percent of teachers also rated parental engagement as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for the success of a child’s education. However, 44 percent said they had neither the time nor the means to communicate with parents as much as they would like to do.

“Teachers agree that involving parents is critical, but they aren’t able to communicate with parents effectively,” says Morten Fahlvik, Research Manager at itslearning. “Most teachers speak to parents at least once a semester. But communication has to occur more often to be really effective.”

“The internet could be the answer,” he said, “as long as the tool is correctly designed.”

How do teachers currently communicate with parents? Well, according to the survey, 46 percent of teachers email each of their students’ parents at least once a month; 37 percent use SMS texting and 24 percent still send traditional letters, sent via smail-mail.

“Many teachers use a mix of technologies to communicate with parents, but none of them are specifically designed for the task,” says Fahlvik. “Teachers want a tool that will improve the flow of information and reduce their workload.”

To meet this need, itslearning launched a parent portal last year. As part of the company’s cloud-based learning platform, much of the information on the portal – such as student grades and attendance – is updated automatically to save teachers time. Teachers can also add specific information about individual students as required.

“The teachers have been extremely positive,” says Fahlvik. “We’re now surveying the parents to discover how they feel about the portal.”

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About Author

Richard Lee

Richard has been traveling since he took a year off from college, where he was doing a BA in Journalism. He traveled half the world, backpacking with his girlfriend (now his wife). They spent time in South America, Asia, Greece and much of Europe. After writing about his experiences for several airline and travel magazines, he never went back to college.

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