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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 11, No. 3 (2015) open journal systems 


Digital channels in teacher-parent communication: The case of Estonia

Karmen Palts, University of Tartu
Veronika Kalmus, University of Tartu


Abstract
The aim of this paper is to analyse the attitudes of Estonian primary school teachers and parents regarding the role of mutual digital communication in socialising the child and in the child’s academic progress, their communication channel preferences, and related experiences and opinions. The main starting points are Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems’ theory and Epstein’s (2011) theory of overlapping spheres of influence. The empirical basis is 12 focus group interviews conducted in 2012 in six Estonian schools with teachers (n=44) and parents (n=39). The focus groups indicated the consensus among teachers and parents regarding the necessity of overlapping interests and spheres of influence of home and school for the development of the child. The research highlights differences in channel preferences by types of school and between teachers and parents of the same school, indicating the need to find ways to harmonise communication conventions. In addition to the opportunities and benefits of written digital interaction, digital channels incur problems and communication failures (e.g. misunderstandings, digital footprint, and insufficient digital competence).


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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556