'Family Playlists' the latest infusion of tech into parent-teacher communications
- An ongoing pilot program in which South Bronx Preparatory uses "Family Playlists" for personalized learning is boosting parents' participation in their children's learning, EdSource reports.
- The pilot, by New York nonprofit PowerMyLearning, began in January 2016 with 100 students and with teachers receiving over 300 personal messages from families who were now more directly involved in their child's learning — though there were reportedly no guarantees initially that the idea would work at the 95% free-or-reduced lunch school with a significant number of parents working multiple jobs or not native English speakers.
- Under the "Family Playlist" model, educators create a two-part homework assignment each week or two that requires a student to sit down with a family member and teach them the lesson they've learned through a project, with the family member then answering a handful of questions about the student's understanding of the concept.
That family engagement plays a critical role in student achievement isn't new knowledge. But the past decade in particular has given educators and parents many more ways to communicate efficiently and conveniently, from specialized messaging platforms to translation tools.
The widespread effectiveness of the "Family Playlist" model could also be in question due to potential time availability of parents, situations at home, or access to technology, since the two-part assignments involve family members using a mobile device to answer the necessary questions. These are all factors that should be taken into consideration, though South Bronx Preparatory seems to have had success with grades 6-12 that can likely be replicated elsewhere. And the time commitment of the model itself on the part of parents or other family members is passive enough that it can be incorporated into the typical conversations about a student's day at school that they might have throughout the evening anyway.
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