New ed-tech service aims to boost parent engagement

Parents can follow a daily link to watch the same videos that their children watched in class and see how their children did on assignments.

A simple text message could clue in parents to the perfect conversation starters with their kids: The Parent Connection, a new feature of Channel One News InterActiv (C1Ni), sends parents messages about what their children learned in school that day in an effort to strengthen the home-school connection.

C1Ni, an interactive video program that allows teachers to pause a Channel One News broadcast and work through accompanying lessons with students on Promethean ActivBoards, launched a year ago as a collaborative effort between Channel One News and Promethean.

The new Parent Connection feature, introduced this summer during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Diego, sends an eMail or text message to parents who sign up, with a link to the Channel One News InterActiv (C1Ni) video their child watched in school that day.

See also:

How to engage parents online more effectively

Using video to improve teaching and learning

Parents can watch the video themselves and can see how their child responded to the questions that were asked about the video, as well as how these responses compared with the rest of the class. Parents also receive sample questions to foster further discussion at home.

The National PTA will conduct a research study on the efficacy of the program in the San Diego Unified School District during the 2012-13 school year, and the service will be available nationwide beginning around Labor Day.

Too often, parents will try to ask their children what they did at school—only to get a bland answer such as “not much,” said Kent Haehl, CEO of Channel One News. “How do you change the subtext of that discussion at dinner?” Haehl asked, noting that this new service aims to do just that.

“What this service allows is for this dialogue between son or daughter and parent to open on common ground,” he said.

In the past, parents have used similar services to check whether their children made it to class or turned in their homework, said Jim Marshall, Promethean’s president.

Parents have accessed these basic kinds of services on average about nine times a week, Marshall said—indicating an interest in greater parental engagement.

With the Parent Connection, parents can watch the same videos that their children watched in class and see how their children did on assignments.

Teachers can also look at data available on their end to see which parents are engaged. They know which parents watch the Parent Connection news feed, and how often, which can make parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings more effective, he said.

The Parent Connection is unique in the frequency of parent engagement: Because Channel One News airs a different segment every school day—about 190 shows a year—“there’s something new to talk about every day,” Haehl said.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at