In my role as psychologist to school aged individuals with Asperger's and as consultant to schools, how many times do I hear about organizational skills problems (not knowing which assignments are due; losing papers; not tracking grades properly) and communication problems with teachers (e.g.,not talking to teachers about homework)? Parents constantly ask the question: "How come nobody's told me my kid is failing in school?" Parents get frustrated with teachers and school officials for not making clear and regular communications about their child's progress, and teachers get frustrated by what they see as student and parents non-compliance with general instructions.
Enter technology as a solution...I just finished watching a fascinating screencast by Jon Udell on a software program called Power School. Jon uses the term "regime of transparency" to describe its effects: A net based place for teachers, students, and parents to exchange information on a daily basis about assignments and progress. Want to know how your kid is doing in school? Did she show up for class? Where do her strengths and weaknesses lie in particular assignments? What's due this week? Parents, teachers, and students can exercise their responsibiltiy to know and to communicate.
Until my local districts adopt programs like Power School, I will continue to throw something like it together, using homework assignment books (which usually get lost), telephone calls (which are often missed), or email (which is helpful but often unfocused in terms of information exchanged). At Keene State College we use something called Blackboard, an online grading and communication system which has revolutionized how we teach...why not do something like this at the secondary school level?