I have noticed that as children get older, their parents are less likely to volunteer in the classroom, pick their children up from school, and communicate with the teacher. This seems more likely if the parents speak English as a Second Language. This means that I have less personal encounters, and therefore, communication suffers. Since home-school communication is among the most important factors in developing strong relationships between teachers and families (Epstein, 1996; Christensen & Sheridan, 2001), I am making it my goal to create an inviting atmosphere that encourages parents to be involved in our classroom so they are partners in their child's academic and social successes at school. In doing so, I would like to use technology as a communication tool so parents can be involved on their own schedule as frequently as they feel comfortable.
The school where I teach has a computer lab, but the availability is very limited. My proposal is for a class set of laptops, headphone/microphone sets for each laptop, a subscription to Ning, and a cart where the computers can be stored, locked, and charged when not in use. In addition, the laptops must have wireless capabilities and my classroom would need to have a wireless system installed. These computers would serve as a tool for effective student-teacher-family communication. Students would use the laptops to take notes on various activities throughout the week, compile pictures, and write summaries in blog form so parents can read what is happening and have an opportunity to comment. Students would serve as classroom reporters, and their families would be the audience. I hope that parents will feel more involved in the classroom environment, students will be motivated to write for an authentic audience, and I will be able to keep communication open with all the families in my classroom.