Tech in schools brings easy access, world of confusion for parents

It’s 4:15 p.m. and my CM2 student has just gotten off the bus. I’m ready: the small snack is ready, the table is cleared of debris, the dog is in the garden kennel to minimize distractions.

“What do you have for homework today?” I ask.

This is a loaded question because I have never had so much access to what my child is working on in school. Since the third year, Chromebooks have been introduced – although this is our distant year for the COVID-19 pandemic. Once in-person school resumed en masse last year, Chromebooks came home while quarantined (at least three times in the fall alone, to my knowledge).

This year was the dreaded phase of college, and Chromebooks are part of everyday life. Hey, I’m not necessarily hitting it. At any time, I can access my son’s Google Classroom account to see what homework he has, due dates, subjects, and grades.

By coupling this with my Parent Vue account, I can see much of the same information, teacher messages, even attendance. Then there are the emails — from the district newsletter to main messages, teachers emphasizing a task or project, fundraisers, pep rallies, wacky weeks — there there is never a dull moment.

Sarah Leach

But with all the access you could imagine, a whole new world has opened up to what it means to be a good partner for my child’s teachers and a mentor for my 10-year-old’s homework – and with him, an overwhelming sense of responsibility to keep track of it all.

Some things I can see in the online daily planner; some are just a simple word or phrase that I don’t understand, and I have to rely on my child to explain (hopefully accurately). Still others not counted digitally are old school paper documents handed out in class, which I quickly discovered are easily piled into a locker, never to be seen in the light of day again.

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