'Technology night' events can help schools build cross-cultural connections
- Matt Hiefield, a teacher on special assignment in the Beaverton School District in Oregon, relates in EdSurge his experiences in connecting with Latino families by holding monthly parent technology nights.
- Many Hispanic parents do not have email addresses that they use regularly, which causes problems for teachers in communicating student progress and for parents in accessing the school’s digital engagement tools.
- Hosting parent technology nights allows the school to help parents make those connections while also empowering parents with a new skill and a new way to engage with their children’s academic life.
Technology often streamlines communications and brings cultures together. But when parents are striving to overcome both language and technology barriers simultaneously, the situation can be daunting. In these situations, a liaison between the school community and the Hispanic community (or community of another culture) proves helpful. Once the initial barriers are removed through the help of the liaison, schools can begin to set up their own parent technology nights which can be used to improve communication with the school as well as between generations.
Parents are often more responsive to a technology night because the knowledge they gain can also benefit them on their jobs and in their daily lives as they make a stronger connection to the world around them. Parents need to learn not only the basics of computer use, but also the rules of digital citizenship. As parents gain these skills, they can be more supportive of their own student’s academic progress, which benefits schools. Parents also begin to view the school district as a source of valuable information for them as well as their students.