That is a link to the K-12 Online Conference that I viewed today. Parental Engagement in the 21st Century – Leveraging web 2.0 tools to engage parents in non-traditional ways is the title. This session was run by someone from California and a person from Ontario, they did it together, one of the great benefits of the internet and technology!
This session talks about how our students are growing up online, they are growing up posting content, interacting with others content, teaching and learning from one another. It also discusses who is being the responsible, guiding hand for students/children in regards to responsible use of technology and web 2.0. Many schools are using firewall blockers but this does not teach students/children how to use the internet responsibly, it just skirts the issue and often times blocks good education information.
Social networking to reach out to parents, parents are able to see what it is like to be a teacher and teachers are able to see what is going on in parent’s lives everyday.
There is a Parents as Partners group on Facebook which allows parents to join a group of people that are going through many of the same things as them and they can network with these other parents to solve problems and build a support group.
There are many ways to involve parents through the use of web 2.0 tools. You can upload parent education videos to a website for parents to view at their leisure, you can have nightly video sessions from a class trip where the students interact with their parents and talk about their trip,
They also start discussing a Ning – there is a Parents as Partners Ning that they are talking about. Many of these tools allow many non-traditional voices (those parents that are not involved in any other way) to speak their mind and get involved.
Dean, I even heard your name…your voice…it was surreal!
As Dean talks about it is important to think about what we commonly talk about as ‘internet safety’…is it really unsafe, are the limited risks worth the rewards to our students, parents, school and community? How are we talking about web 2.0, if we talk about ‘internet safety’ that just infers that it is dangerous and that there is constantly someone looking at our students/children and they will fall prey to these people.
At the end of their presentation they gave the link to this wikispace to help parents get started on the road to being partners in their child’s education and to their experience on web 2.0 tools: parentsaspartners.wikispaces.com
Okay, so the assignment was to watch a K-12 online session, to give the link, to write a synopsis and then to give a personal reflection. All is done except for the last part, although I am pretty sure that I put my personal reflections into the synopsis as well. When I was interning I set up a wikispace, each of my students, my cooperating teacher, the school administrators, and the parents of my students had acccess to this wikispace. I did this for a few reasons. First, I would put what we did each day up on here so that parents would be able to see what their child was doing, and students that were missing would be able to catch up on what they missed. I would also put all the assignment and evaluation tools up with their due dates. I was hoping that this would increase the responsibility of my students for their learning, for their assignments, for their work. I also had tasks posted on the wiki that the students had to to each day when they came to class, often I gave out prizes to the first students done the tasks. This was in an attempt to get studens settled quickly in their seats and ready to work. I had also hoped that parents would be able to see what we were doing, that they would have access to my contact information or could just post to discussions on the wikispace.
That was the plan, the plan however, failed. Or at least from the parent point of view. I had very much wanted to be able to interact with the parents, I never got the feeling or the inclination that any parent ever checked this wikispace. Don’t get me wrong it served its purpose in the classroom, outside the classroom, I am not so sure. I definitely know that it is important to involve the parents in their children’s education and this does not just mean on the bad days but everyday, I think that with continued effort this will happen, with continued expirementation it will happen. It will happen!