OneSignal Survey Shows 70 Percent of Parents Think Schools Handled Digital Communications Effectively During Virtual Learning

K-12 teachers and parents share their most preferred method of digital communication as schools shifted to online or hybrid learning in the 2020-2021 school year

OneSignal Inc, the leading solution for customer engagement messaging, today announced results from a new survey that revealed key findings on how K-12 teachers were able to communicate effectively with parents in the midst of schools going remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings showed a promising trend that teachers and parents were receptive to digital communications and demonstrated how email, mobile push notifications, and SMS text alerts helped parents stay up to date on critical updates around COVID and their childrens’ academic progress throughout the remote school year.

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“The results of this survey show the incredible adaptability of our K-12 educators as well as parents in light of an extremely disruptive school year they’ve had due to a global pandemic,” said George Deglin, CEO of OneSignal. “The positive sentiment toward using digital communication tools to stay in touch sheds light on how schools can best utilize technology to facilitate parent-teacher and student-teacher engagement in the long run.”

Of the K-12 educators and school administrators surveyed, key findings included:

  • A positive sentiment toward digital communication methods – 74 percent of educators/administrators found digital communications helped them stay in touch with parents and nearly 70 percent found it was either less time consuming or about the same as phone or in-person meetings.
  • Email was the most common digital communication method educators and administrators used to keep in touch with students and parents (50 percent of respondents). 40 percent of respondents said they used push notifications or text messages. However, if given the option to choose their own digital communication tool, one third said they prefer emails, another third prefer using text message alerts and the rest showed a preference for push notifications.
  • The top three content themes that digital correspondence focused on were general school updates/events reminders, COVID-related updates, and assignment/homework reminders. If given the option, educators and administrators also want schools’ digital correspondence to parents to focus more on student academic progress and grading.

Parents of K-12 students were also asked about their experience with digital communications during remote/hybrid learning:

  • 37 percent of respondents said their children’s schools were completely virtual during the 2020-2021 school year, and 35 percent of students had a hybrid learning environment, being half remote and half in the classroom.
  • 70 percent of parents found that their child’s teachers and school administrators effectively leveraged digital communication tools to stay in touch with them during the past school year.
  • Parents found that the most useful topics shared included general school updates and reminders, assignment and homework reminders, and academic progress and grading reports.

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This feedback indicates the value of digital communication tools like emails, push notifications, and text message alerts, while also shedding light on how K-12 schools can continue to leverage these digital tools post-pandemic once students are back in the classroom full-time. The results suggest that schools can help their teachers heighten engagement with parents and students outside of the classroom by offering a range of tools and allowing parents and students to choose the best channel for them as well as the option to select the content they prefer to receive.

Out of 1000 total adults (aged 25 and up) surveyed, 80 percent were US-based parents with children in school and 20 percent were teachers or school administrators for K-12. This study was conducted in August 2021 by Pollfish, an independent survey platform.

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