Decades of research have shown that parental involvement in the classroom is an important indicator of students’ academic success. In “Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement,” which appeared in the spring 2008 issue of the Journal of Human Resources, parental involvement is shown to have a strong and positive effect on student achievement. Schools would have to spend more than $1,000 per student to create the same effect.
Teachers, schools, and Parent-teacher organizations should begin implementing techniques for encouraging parent participation both at home and in the classroom. Offering some incentives and metrics for success can help achieve this desired motivation. It can incite parents into voluntary action by creating an environment where parents, like students, are recognized and rewarded for their participation.
There is a substantial amount of evidence that game mechanics (rules or constructs designed to produce game or game play) are extremely effective at increasing motivation. Badges have been created to incite action and engagement based off psychology’s incentive motivation theory which suggests that people are motivated to act by external rewards. Nothing is intrinsically motivating about a badge in and of itself but the meaning of the badge gives it significance and currency. The badges provide social and psychological rewards for users, in this case parents, which can be highly motivating and rewarding within their social environment. The desire for social approval will entice users to act due to the promise of public recognition and social currency within the parental environment.
Schools, teachers, and Parent organizations can use Youtopia to engage, motivate and track parental involvement. Create challenges and activities that parents can complete for points and badges. These activities can include helping in the classroom, planning parties, creating teaching tools, parking duty, nightly reading assignments or helping to incorporate classroom lessons at home. The more activities parent complete, the more points they can accumulate as well as badges to signify accomplishments and recognize milestones. Badges can be shared on social media and have the opportunity to be used for other rewards in the school environment. More importantly it provides parents with the opportunities and encouragement to be more involved in their own child’s education. It reinforces the importance of education and the intersection of the student’s school and home life. Parental involvement combined with the acknowledgement that students get from their own earned points and badges can help a student to stay engaged in their own progress.
Badges and points can provide the incentive and motivation to increase parent excitement and enthusiasm in the school and classroom benefiting students, teachers, administration, and the parents themselves.
Below is an example of the Youtopia platform being use for parental involvement.
Get Parents Involved Immediately with YOUTOPIA