Tuesday, August 21, 2012

All Aboard...



The other day I read an interesting tweet (which I can no longer find!), that asked the question: how do you connect to parents? Blog, newsletter, emails, anyway as I am a connected educator....
This got me thinking about my own connections...how do I connect to my parents?

Recently, I had a discussion with a parent who was struggling to find how technology was helping with their child's education.  After several twists and turns, I discussed the wider audience that their child is now exposed to...I am no longer one of the only people reading the students work, there is a wider audience.  I also discussed how great it would be to get them onboard with their child's learning and encouraged them to join their child's Wikispace so they can comment and be part of their child's audience.  This parent agreed and could finally see the relavant of this "computer work".

After this conversation, it got me thinking...why haven't I got more parents involved and part of their child's audience?  Don't get me wrong, I do have parents who read their child's online work and comment every now and then, but I would like to push the involvement further and get them actively involved.

I had a conversation about this with the class...some of them cringed, some of them cheered, some of them wished me good luck!  Why shouldn't the most important people in their lives, be part of their audience? 

My Goal: To get most parents actively involved in their child's online work.  I want them to be part of this audience.

How I will try and do this...

eNewsletter
I have set-up a blog with the intention that it will come out weekly (Friday').  The post will be made up of student input - interviews, reports of events, round-up of what they have learnt.  I have assigned a few volunteers to be the 'reporters' for the week.  They may interview someone about events in the week - e.g. our swimming program is coming to an end and one of our reporters wants to interview the coach and another Rm 14 student about the past 6 weeks.  Students also have as an option in their ILP to create a blog post entry...this could be a written report, imovie, audioboo, educreation...the list goes on.  I will have 1 part of the post to write up - Wiki page of the Week....inspired by the Wikispaces blog that includes Featured Wiki.  After speaking to the students, they said they want it to come from me rather than another student, so I will feature one of the students pages each week.

Parent Emails:
I keep up with some parents in my class on a regular basis, but some I only see a couple of times in the year.  I'm going to send home a letter about the eNewsletter (hmmmm that doesn't sound quite right) and give them the option for a weekly email with the blog post in it.

Parent Involvement:
The main part I would like to get parents involved with are the students Wikispaces.  The students work really hard to put up all sorts of interesting content from stories they have created to reflections of workshops they have attended.  I would love for parents to join and use the comment section of the wiki's to add feedback for their child.  I would also like to get parents more involved with the class twitter feeds we have going on a regular basis.

This sounds great but...

I know this 'connected' world is quite foreign to many of the parents in our community.  As a staff we have offered tech sessions for those staff who want help ~ I was thinking...why can't we offer this to our parents?  Maybe not on a weekly basis, but once a month/ six weeks offer an hour tech session for our parents.

Topics to cover asap:
- Wiki's: the basics
- Twitter: more than just a status update
- Blogs: the basics, making valuable comments

How great it would be for the parents and students to be able to collaborate together!!!!!!!!

So, I ask the question...how do you connect with your parents?