If you ask any Canadian parent how they feel about their child’s education experience over the past several months, you’re likely to hear everything from hopeful and excited to anxious and uncertain. Truthfully, I probably fall somewhere in the middle – while I’m feeling mostly positive about my sons’ academic progress, there are times when I question if there’s more I can do to offer additional support, especially when they learn online.
A new survey commissioned by D2L, a global learning technology leader, tells me that I’m not alone. Canadian parents are feeling connected (36%), overwhelmed (29%), and empowered (20%) by online learning platforms as part of their child’s education experience.
While emotions are mixed about the year ahead, most parents feel positive about their children’s academic progress with a majority (54%) indicating that their children are meeting expectations, and one-quarter (23%) believing their children are exceeding expectations in school.
Do the survey results match up with your experience over the past several months?
Recently, I had an opportunity to chat with John Baker, President & CEO of D2L. John was a 22-year-old student at the University of Waterloo when he started D2L – and now, as a father, he has a firsthand view of how his world-leading education software company positively impacts the education experience.
I know that when my boys learn from home, I’m most concerned with them maintaining strong connections with their teacher and classmates, in addition to offering my own support when it’s needed. That’s why I was excited to learn about the Brightspace Parent & Guardian App; I can view both boys’ progress with a single login, stay on top of their assignments and grades, and receive notifications to support learning that happens both inside and outside of the classroom. If you have a child that learns via D2L, even on a part-time or as-needed basis, I strongly suggest you use it.
“The whole premise behind (Brightspace) Parent & Guardian was to immediately start to address those parent anxieties that we all have,” said John. “If we can help you figure out, ‘Are my kids on the right track?’, what they have coming up, and what’s happening in the near future, then you can actually breathe a little and understand how you can help as a parent through that learning journey.”
Having a window – albeit a virtual one – into my children’s classroom has been invaluable in allowing me to support them when and where needed (sometimes, even before they ask for help).
“The thing I got excited about as well about Parent & Guardian,” continued John, “is that we broke down some common barriers. You don’t need the latest iPhone or Android device – you can use anything that has a browser. We wanted to make this more inclusive so more parents could have a greater role in helping their kids have a great education experience.”
In addition to taking advantage of the Brightspace Parent & Guardian App, John encourages children learning on D2L to build a portfolio, where they can capture and share moments of learning – not just in the class, but in life itself.
“(Building a portfolio) not only develops an ability to capture and share, but it also promotes metacognition; the concept of being able to reflect on your work over time,” said John. “You look at some of the posts you’ve done and can actually talk to the work you’re doing, and that’s a really important skillset for kids to develop. It sets them up for critical thinking and problem solving.”
From reading through the results of the survey and speaking with John Baker, I do believe that D2L takes the time to understand the role learning platforms play in today’s classroom, and enhances their learning technology to plan an even bigger role as a partner in supporting learning growth. As a parent, this helps alleviate anxiety and makes me feel empowered, knowing that I too have the tools to stay connected with my children and their education experience.
This post is sponsored by D2L. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.