Connecting Parents to Student’s Digital Lives

Mike Daugherty is helping connect the parents at his school to the digital lives of students. How can schools connect with parents to relate better to students? We learn how today.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript

Connecting Parents to Student's Digital Lives

Link to show:
Date: Friday, March 26, 2018

Vicki: Today we are talking with Mike Daugherty @MoreThanATech, Director of Technology in Ohio. He also won 2016 Outstanding Technology’s Administrator of the Year for Ohio.

So he’s done quite a few things with Chromebook implementation and Google Level 1 Certification for all of his teachers.

But today, Mike, we are talking about your Google Certified Innovator Project, “Help at Home.” So what is Help at Home?

Mike: Help at Home came out of our one-to-one initiative.

One of the things that we saw from our parents was that even though we had been one-to-one for almost three years, and we were very well connected in our district, many of our parents were feeling less connected with their students and their classrooms since we went one-to-one.

Parents were feeling less connected since we went one-to-one

So the goal of Help at Home was to help connect parents to their students’ digital lives.

Vicki: Wow, how do you do that?

Mike: We’ve started a weekly email to about 400 parents so far, where we’re covering topics like digital citizenship, security, filtering, social media — everything that really relates to how students should use technology today.

Really what I’m trying to do is list out the problem or the area, discuss why Generation Z is so enamored with a certain technology or with a certain idea, and then talk about how educators can use it in their classroom. and how parents can work with that idea at home.

Most currently, the one I’m working on right now has to do with selfies and social media, why Generation Z spends so much time on social media, how educators can take that idea and use it in their classroom, and how parents can use it to have really good conversations at home about social media and self image.

Parents can use it to have really good conversations at home

Vicki: That is such a controversial topic!

I literally heard someone saying yesterday that most experts say that kids shouldn’t be on social media until they’re 18.

We’re living in this world where they’re obviously a lot younger than that!

Mike: Sure, sure.

Vicki: What kind of response are you getting from your parents?

Mike: So far, it seems to be very well received. Parents really like the short version. What I’m trying to do is read 10-15 articles about a topic and pull out the good chunks, make it a nice concise article so they can get all that information very quickly. I think they really like the “assignments” they can do at home.

They really like the “assignments” they can do at home

One of the times, we were talking about YouTube and YouTube celebrities. I had them watch a few of the videos that had gotten 80 million hits — videos that you or I might not even understand.

Vicki: (laughs)

Mike: But again, these kids are watching them…

Vicki: (laughs)

Mike: You know what I mean?

Vicki: Yeah. Literally.

Mike: So I told parents, “I’m going to warn you. These are a little confusing. But look at the hit count — 89 million — 74 million. A lot of kids are watching these videos.”

I wish I would have had that article a little later, with the most recent YouTube controversy. It would have been great to have that in there. I might do a follow up soon.

Recent YouTube controversy

Vicki: Yes. Of course, that controversy was the… Well, tell us about it.

Mike: The controversy was this — and I will probably mention his name. I think it was Logan Paul, but I’m not positive. He had gone to Japan and actually had done a very insensitive video about suicide.

If I’m correct, he actually showed a body on screen. It was awful.

Vicki: Yeah. He had gone to a place in Japan that’s known for a forest…

Mike: Correct, correct.

Vicki: …where a lot of people hang themselves.

Mike: Yeah.

Vicki: And he came across one.

Mike: Very, very insensitive. Huge backlash from that. I would have loved to have had that in the initial article, so again, I looking at maybe doing a follow up in February to kind of bring parents back to that idea.

Vicki: This is the stuff that kids are talking about!

Mike: Sure.

Vicki: If parents can have some education, they feel like they’re not completely a lost deer in the woods.

Mike: Yep. And what I’m trying to avoid is not being so centric around technology in terms of tools.

Aiming to be less tech-centric and more topic focused

I don’t want every email to be, “Hey, there’s this tool or that tool.” I really want to talk more about the concepts and the ideas and generate conversation at home, as opposed to here’s just one more email pushing this tool or that tool.

Don’t get me wrong. I do send them out. I found a couple great ones over the holiday break that I sent out. But I’m really trying to avoid that idea and really hit more on the ideas.

Vicki: Mike, are you posting these on a blog or somewhere, so all of our listeners can read some of these?

Mike: I am. Go to my website, which is This project has really taken over that page, so if you just go to the main page, all of the articles are posted right there.

Again, I’m trying to do them usually once a week. The most recent one there was a lot more to do with it, so it’s taken a little bit longer. But I feel like the content’s going to be really, really powerful, so I’m excited to release that next week.

Vicki: Which topic has been the most explosive in terms of response from your parents?

Mike: Oh, that’s a great question!

I know that a lot the parents really like to talk about home web filtering, which is a phenomenal topic.

Home web filtering was a popular topic

Everybody parents differently, so a lot of people like to hear about the different options they have and different ways that they can block stuff.

They also want to know what’s happening at the school district, so I talk about a program we use called GoGuardian. I really go into depth about how we use it, both from the administrative side and the classroom side.

I’ve also given them links to different tools that they can try at home.

Unfortunately for them, GoGuardian is not something they can install. It has to be done by me. But there are tons of other options at home that are really good. So I think parents really liked that one.

Vicki: Wow, now that would be a topic for another show. I’m writing this down. This is a struggle.

Mike: (laughs)

Vicki: The other thing that parents don’t realize is that when those kids are on data, they can pretty much see anything they want. There’s no filter, right?

Mike: Yes and no. When they’re on one of our Chromebooks, even if they’re on data locked down…

Vicki: They’re on their cell phone.

Mike: Correct. If they’re on their cell phone. So we did throw out a couple of options.

Again, I’ve got to think. To save my life I can’t think of the name of one right now.

But I did throw out a couple of options that parents can use when their students are using their cell phones, so they can kind of keep track of what’s going on and keep them safe.

Vicki: So do you think the kids like their parents being more educated, or is there any pushback from the kids? (laughs)

Mike: (laughs)

It’s funny that you brought that up. It’s kind of the next phase of where I’m going with this.

I want to start bringing kids into the mix. Everything I’ve been doing right now has been pretty much just my research and my point of view. I’m going to start bringing kids into the conversation, “How do you feel about this?”

Bringing students into the conversation

My general sense is that I know that they don’t like to be — I don’t want to call it, “spied upon” — but I know that they don’t like their parents having access.

I know that when we rolled out GoGuardian in our district, there was a pretty big pushback.

I laugh because two high school students came down and they said, “Hey, Mr. Daugherty, we want to interview you for the school paper.”

And I’m like, “Oh, that’s awesome! I would love to be a part of this.”

So they sit down. The first question they say is, “OK. So let’s talk about GoGuardian.”

Vicki: Ohhhhh….

Mike: And all they wanted to do was talk about home filtering.

Vicki: (laughs)

Mike: So I know they’re not huge fans, but I think that it’s very important in this day and age to be able to know what your kid is up to and to be able to help keep them safe.

Vicki: We talk about security in my classroom. We had a conversation the other day (about) some of the security bugs that have been discovered — Meltdown and others

Mike: Sure.

Vicki: But they were angry about this 360 app that a lot of parents are using to track them. You know, it will text their parents. “So-and-so has left the house.”

Mike: Yep.

Vicki: “So-and-so has just gone over 70 miles an hour.”

Mike: Yep.

Vicki: So they’re just like, “This is invading our privacy!”

Security and safety versus privacy


So I’m like, “OK, I’m not quite understanding here.”

Mike: It’s really so interesting because of the way they view technology nowadays versus — you know, you and I did not grow up with all of this stuff. So for us, it’s all new. For them, they’ve never known a world without Google in it, without YouTube. So it’s really fascinating to me.

I have three young ones. My oldest is nine. So I’m not in that “spying” age yet…

Vicki: Yeah.

Mike: But it’s so interesting to me, the way they view the world.

Vicki: Yeah. And these same kids didn’t see anything wrong with sharing their latitude and longitude with every single one of their 500 friends on Snapchat.

Mike: Sure.

Vicki: But they sure don’t want their parents to know where they are!

Mike: Exactly!

Vicki: And you’re thinking, “Oh OK, there’s something wrong here.” (laughs)

Mike: One of my favorite new apps is called Reply ASAP.

Right now it’s only available for Android, but essentially what happens is you as a parent send a text. Oftentimes, kids pretend not to see that text.

What Reply ASAP does is actually open and overlays on top of the screen, so no matter what they’re doing, you as a parent know that they got the text, know they’re read it, and then they have to at least acknowledge the text before the message will go away.

Vicki: There’s a million issues that we could go into in terms of how much do you trust your kids…

Mike: (laughs)

Vicki: … but then there’s…

Mike: Right, right, right!

Vicki: Children are children, Their executive functioning is not fully developed. Girls 21, boys 26, I’ve read. Besides that, we humans make mistakes and sometimes we lie.

Mike: Sure.

Vicki: I know people don’t want to cope with that, but that’s the truth.

Mike: And again, my whole hope is that the project will help educate parents. I’m trying to really avoid telling people HOW to parent.

Vicki: (agrees)

Mike: That’s not my goal. It’s “Hey, let me explain to you kind of the thought process behind a lot of this, and why kids are so excited about these platforms, and what they do with them. Then you as a parent do what you want to do.”

Everyone parents differently

Some people may just take that information and file it away. Others may want to act on it. But at least you have the info and you can go from there.

Vicki: So, teachers, now this is an important conversation. How can you bridge this connection with home, with parents, to have these digital conversations that we need to have?

Do check out with Mike Dougherty and all that he’s doing. Use his research to educate yourself. I also like his idea of bringing students into the mix, because we’re all here together. There are certainly many ethical conversations that we can all have around these topics.

So thanks, Mike!

Mike: Thank you. I’m very,very happy to be on the podcast. Thank you so much.


Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Mike Daugherty is a husband, father, author, technology director, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He has eighteen years of experience in K-12 technology support serving in a wide variety of roles. Currently, he is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district where he and his team have implemented a highly successful 1:1 Chromebook initiative.


Twitter: @MoreThanATech

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Picture of Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere