Whether it’s schoolwork, sports or clubs like drama and debate, moms and dads want to savor the moments that are shaping the lives of their kids.
Fortunately for busy parents looking to be more involved with the education of their youngsters, co-founder and CEO of LivingTree Cullen Childress has developed a solution.
LivingTree, a free platform for personal devices and the Web, allows teachers and students to share, in real-time, moments of their day with parents and other special people in their lives. The platform helps parents experience their children’s activities as they happen, providing access to everything from stories of academic success to snapshots of artistic creations to highlights from kids’ sporting events.
“At the end of the day, LivingTree is a hierarchical group collaboration and coordination system,” said Childress.
The platform lets parents create shared calendars—complete with notifications, updates and reminders—to help get everyone to the right place at the right time.
He said the idea was to craft the platform around the viewpoint of a parent, beginning with a private sharing environment and scheduling system that allows parents to handle a child’s day-to-day activities together in a secure space.
“Then we scaled it up and [put] it into the hands of those who develop our children—teachers and schools,” he explained.
Everything good about Web 2.0 is consolidated in one place in order to aid the educational experience, and with LivingTree, it’s been constructed around the lives of parents, children and those who help in their development.
“Teachers are posting multiple times a day, where you would not do that over email, and they’re talking about things that you never would in public (e.g., on an open blog site), because it’s only sharing what’s going on inside the classroom. [The experience] is digitized through videos, photos and what’s actually happening, making the parents more involved when they get home,” said Childress.
While some may fear that such EdTech advances will facilitate intrusive “helicopter” parenting, Childress views the platform as an opportunity to create flourishing communities that can converse, connect and build upon positive parental engagement and involvement. Building these connections is important, since research consistently shows that greater parent involvement leads to better student attendance and achievement.
Clubs, sports and other after-school activities get layered in, bringing coaches and advisors, among others, into the collaborative network.
“After school lunch, the activity level crescendoes, and there’s more and more that occurs every day within these schools,” he added.
Read more about LivingTree here.