Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shumow, Lee

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)


Research has shown that parental involvement serves as a protective factor for students whose families lack financial and educational resources. Hispanic parents often find barriers at school that prevent them from participating in school-based activities such as communication problems, lack of time to go to the school at prescribed times, and cultural norms about classroom visits. With social networking services (SNS) like SeeSaw, which are similar to traditional social media like Facebook, now available to schools, Hispanic parents have the opportunity of observing the students in their educational context through videos and photos posted on these SNSs. These opportunities are promising in terms of overcoming traditional barriers to their school involvement. This study has analyzed the effects of these technologies in the classrooms. Twenty-six participants were interviewed including 14 TWI (two-way immersion) or ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom teachers, eight Hispanic parents in TWI or ESL classrooms, and four other relevant school personnel. The interview process included 15 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups. The data analysis showed how much Hispanic parents appreciated seeing the students interacting in the school through the “classroom window” that these technological tools offered. This “classroom window” phenomenon is described by teachers as the willingness of creating a transparent environment in their classrooms for Hispanic families to have virtual access to their classroom’s children. This openness is greatly appreciated by Hispanic parents because it eliminated, or at least weakened, the traditional barriers referred to above. This study also proposes a unique model to understand how teachers implement SNS based on an incremental willingness to be transparent with a consequent increment in their vulnerability. This hierarchical model is organized in three levels based on teachers’ willingness to be vulnerable due to this openness during their practice. These levels are low risk, medium risk, and high risk for vulnerability. Only the highest level of transparency and associated risk level appeared to generate conversations at home between parents and students. This finding has important implications for education since theorists like Bronfenbrenner highlight the value of overlap between school and home. Recommendations for teachers include encouraging them to use videos to explain academic concepts to Hispanic parents who might be less familiar with the American educational system, making sure that all students are represented on SNS posts, and a commitment to posting regularly on the SNS. Further research is suggested to study how posts which connect with parents at an emotional level might stimulate more conversations at home than other more neutral publications on the SNS.


209 pages




Northern Illinois University

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