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UnidosUS provides a digital literacy program for parents. Photo: Getty Images
UnidosUS provides a digital literacy program for parents. Photo: Getty Images

UnidosUS provides program for parents to learn about educational technology

The program has helped bridge the gap between parents and online learning

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: AAPI Philly RISE

May 27th, 2022

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Since 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has made online learning the new normal, but it was not just an adjustment for students, there was also a learning curve for parents. 

As many students made the transition to online learning when the pandemic hit, UnidosUS began to see a divide for Latinx parents. To bridge that divide, UnidosUS created the Padres Comprometidos Ed-Tech curriculum (PC Ed-Tech), a program that helps parents navigate digital learning through UnidosUS’s Esperanza Hope for All campaign. 

As a former teacher and UnidosUS Director of Parent and Community Engagement, José Rodríguez, said he knew the switch to online learning meant Latino parents were going to struggle and it became the driving force behind creating the program.

“I was feeling anxiety, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” said Rodriguez. “The digital divide is a reality for Hispanic families, and moving to a world where most activities, including children’s schooling, would be online, made me uneasy.” 

Padres Comprometidos Ed-Tech has helped more than 350 parents learn a number of basic tech skills from how to download Zoom, joining meetings, and learning the platforms their children were using to attend classes. 

“Everything I learned here at PC Ed-Tech is going to be very useful to me, how to check my children’s grades, how to go in and participate in meetings, etc,” said Rosa Díaz, a parent and client of UnidosUS Affiliate Mexican American Council (MAC). 

According to UnidosUS and a SOMOS survey, 37% of Latino households either had no broadband internet connection or could only connect through their phones. 

This meant many Latino parents found themselves not only needing to learn about how technology was being used to teach their kids, but also how to provide access to the computers and materials needed. 

For the program to reach as many parents as possible, it collaborated with 10 affiliates from the UnidosUS Network trained at the end of 2020 to implement the program curriculum. 

“We had the apparatus, but we weren’t ready to implement it,” said Rodriguez. “The pandemic pushed the team at the national organization to get there, and “it was impressive to see how parents adapted. This is how Padres Comprometidos Ed-Tech was born.”

The program has helped parents understand digital learning, but it became more than that. The curriculum also focused on the participants’ social-emotional well-being, how to manage anxiety and help children manage theirs.

UnidosUS and their affiliate El Centro de Servicios Sociales, shared that it helped Carmen Santiago, a Puerto Rican mother who had contracted COVID-19, a new way to cope with isolation.

“She learned that it’s okay to be afraid, and that there are ways of coping with all the stress she was reflecting upon her children. Now, she utilizes breathing techniques and can distinguish when her children need to release stress,” read a statement from UnidosUS 

The switch to online learning is also not permanent, with many schools going back to in-person learning in the Fall. Regardless, Rodriguez knew the kind of impact the program would have on Latinx parents, and how it set them up better for the future.. 

“This program was greatly needed, we are a family that worries about you. Let us hear your voice through these services,” Rodriguez told parents during a recent Zoom call.

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