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Technology can build stronger communities with parents, teachers and students

Technology Can Build Stronger Communities - Parents Canada

As schools, students, and parents learned to adjust during the global pandemic, teachers leaned heavily on technology to maintain connections and keep their students engaged in learning. This was certainly the case in my school division in Edmonton, Alberta. Despite the challenges faced during remote learning, as an Emerging Technology consultant and a parent of a grade three student, I heard from many parents across our division about creative and inspiring ways teachers and administrators were using technology to not only support students but create community with parents as well. 

As we begin the new school year, teachers across North America are returning to in-person, hybrid, or online teaching. As they do so, they continue to leverage technology to enhance teaching and learning, learning from what did not work so well during remote learning and embracing better practices. 

One of the greatest benefits of leveraging technology in the classroom, as we saw during remote learning, is that many of the apps and tools used by teachers allow students to continue their learning beyond the class, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. In my division, teachers used Microsoft Teams to support “anytime learning”.  For example, outside of class or even the school day, many teachers offered online “office hours” during which students could contact them on Microsoft Teams through chat or video calls to ask questions and receive support on home practice and assignments. Since our return to in-person learning, many teachers have continued offering online “office hours” providing flexible support for their students.

Over the past year, I have heard from many parents that they were amazed to see the innovative ways teachers were using technology to also support the well-being of students! Many teachers I work with, for instance, continue to use Microsoft Teams and Flipgrid to foster students’ development of social and emotional skills. Whether they are providing daily check-ins or giving students brain breaks from academic activities, teachers use these tools to connect with their students and provide a safe space for students to share how they feel and how their feelings impact their ability to learn and participate in class. 

In addition to the benefits technology in the classroom brings to students, the use of technology tools enables our parent community to be more involved than ever before in their child’s learning and school life! Many of the schools across my division continue to invite parents to attend school events such as school celebrations, parent council meetings, and meet the staff virtually using Microsoft Teams. Teachers also use Flipgrid to welcome parents into the learning activities as guests. With their guest access, parents can watch their child’s responses to topics in Flipgrid and provide feedback and encouragement! 

Technology has the potential to be an incredible tool for building connections, empowering students, and enhancing teaching and learning anytime, anywhere. No matter what the year ahead brings we are confident that technology will play an important role in the classroom, and in the building a community between parents, students and the school. Now is the time, as parents, to embrace technology and support our students and teachers with these tools!   

To learn more about Microsoft’s education tools, please visit aka.ms/microsoftcanadaeducation.

About the author:  Christine McKee, Emerging Technology, Assessment and Reporting Consultant, Edmonton Catholic Schools

Sponsored by: Microsoft