Web-based Learning Encourages Parent Involvement
by Logan Smith
Online learning programs are the education of our future. More than 100,000 of the country’s 125,000 schools rely on some sort of web-presence. They provide students with a wide range of curriculum options, while mixing multiple teaching styles and allowing access to students all over the country. While some parents worry that an online education leaves them out of the picture, many programs are adapting to allow for complete parental involvement.
Many schools are installing complex learning management systems, which education being only one prong of the multi-faceted approach. These systems are now considered “learning community management systems”, which not only allow parents to review their children’s assignments and grades, but are also handling school scheduling, immunization records and emergency contact information. Some schools even offer meal schedules and nutritional breakdown of the planned lunch of the day.
One of the first schools to implement this system has made an option to request lunch for your child before you even take them to school on an online ordering system called orderlunches.com. If a parent is interested in volunteering in the library or chaperoning a school trip, they can sign up at volunteerspot.com. These management systems have replaced the need of back and forth e-mails and possible miscommunication.
As with any new program, there are a few kinks to work out. The first concern is that parents are allowed too much access to their children’s school work and grades, which can allow for an intrusive and overbearing presence. Going from a system of grading periods and report cards to allowing access to each and every grade can be hard on students, especially when kids reach Middle School, and are learning to take responsibility for themselves. A missed assignment or bad day can add more stress to your child’s life, when they feel their every academic move is being watched.
While most school’s goals are to move to a completely paperless system, this may alienate the less tech-savvy parents who would like to still be involved. While it’s nice to think that every household is equipped with an up-to-date computer and internet access, this isn’t always the case. One parent said that their home computer is too outdated to allow access to the school’s community system and that she has to borrow her daughter’s laptop to even login. She used to hang the monthly lunch schedule on the refrigerator to make daily decisions for her children, and no longer has time to check online each day to know what meals her children will be fed.