Does digital documentation replace face-to-face conversations between parents and educators? The answer may surprise you!
New research completed out of the University of Toronto on the use of a digital documentation technology (called Storypark) has dispelled the common misconception that the use of this technology will result in less face-to-face interactions between educators and parents.
Dr. M.E. Picher, the author of the study, explained that “Part of the resistance that administrators have around introducing digital documentation technology into their programs comes from the fear that educators and parents will stop communicating in the real world if they have a way to communicate online.” But, according to Picher, nothing could be further from the truth.
In introducing Storypark into 11 kindergarten classrooms at four different schools in a large, urban school district in Canada, Picher found that educators and parents not only continued to have in-person exchanges after they started using Storypark but in some cases, had more face-to-face interactions.
“Its because Storypark gave parents a better understanding of what their children were learning about at school so they had more things to talk about,” Picher explained.
Furthermore, Picher said Storypark had a positive impact on parent-teacher interviews. According to Picher, educators said Storypark helped parents to feel “less anxious” and “less confused” when they attended these meetings because they already had “ongoing insight” into what was happening in their children’s classrooms.
Another educator described the communication that took place over Storypark as a kind of “ice breaker” that made parents “more likely to approach” her and “more willing to share” learning stories of their own.
But Picher’s study was not the first to describe this phenomenon.
In a study conducted by Amanda Higgins on the impact of a digital documentation technology on educator-parent communication in an early childhood centre in New Zealand, research participants reported that the communication that took place via the online platform both facilitated and enhanced face-to-face conversations between teachers and parents.
Higgins’ findings plus Picher’s findings make it clear– Storypark is not a technology that replaces face-to-face interactions between educators and parents, but rather a tool that enriches them.
Hear about the findings in more detail in a webinar where M.E. Picher presented her research and answered some of the biggest questions administrators have about digital documentation technology.