Parents' engagement in their children's education is key to children's academic success and social development. For many parents in the U.S., engagement is still a struggle partly due to a lack of communication and community-building tools
that support the broader ecology of parenting, or parental ecology. Although current technologies have the potential to create opportunities to improve parental engagement, little is known about the impact of existing technology's design on
the parental ecology. We present findings from 63 interviews with parents and an observation of existing technologies that support parent-school interactions. We found four critical issues that the design of current technologies need to address:
(1) inflexibility in the boundaries of digital spaces, (2) inequality, (3) fragmentation and inconsistency of information, and (4) lack of relevant non-academic information. As a result, we propose design guidelines for technologies to support the parental ecology and reflect on design issues that require further research.
The CAT Lab studies how culture impacts the use and production of technology with a focus on learning applications, computer science education and designing new technologies with culture as a point of convergence.