No escape

The National Schools Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in Rockville, Maryland, in the US, estimates that about 35% of the country’s public schools have now installed systems that let families log on and track not only their children’s school attendance, but grades and academic performance as well, in ‘real time’.

An online study conducted by SheKnows, a parenting website, revealed that only 32% of parents polled used such systems to help their children with school issues, while 40% were indifferent to the exercise, 14% said the information received from schools was inaccurate and 15% said it caused family conflict.

Blackboard Engage is one such system, described by owner Justin Tan as an “über-integrated programme” linking together and providing access to class materials and assignments, teachers’ mark books, discussion boards and blogs, attendance records and school calendars.

Teething problems abound, report both schools and families. The latter complain, for example, that log-in systems are complex and the former say they are pressuring teachers to post material online (a recent study undertaken by consultancy firm BrightBytes reveals that fewer than half the nation’s educators do so) and to update data instantaneously.

Category: e-Education, Winter 2013

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