Extending Face-to-Face Interactions: Understanding and Developing an Online Teacher and Family Community
Technology has been quickly changing human interactions, traditional practices, and almost every aspect of our lives. It is important to maintain effective face-to-face communication and interactions between teachers and families. Nonetheless, technology and its tools can also extend and enhance family–teacher relationships and partnerships. This paper reviews definitions for online teacher and family community in early childhood programs and closely examines the literature associated with several key elements that comprise the community as recognized by the authors. Key elements that emerged were common or shared goals, interactivity, collaboration, trusting relationships, and sense of belonging or connectedness for a working online community, especially among teachers working with families of children with disabilities. Additionally, practical suggestions for teachers and family members are provided for developing and collaborating on an online community.
KeywordsCommunity Interactivity Collaboration Trusting relationships Family–teacher communication and partnerships
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