Last week I looked at ways to engage students once they left school. I still believe that the key to success in the education process is to ensure that students are still engaged by what they are learning even while they are at home. However, a large majority of what I found last week about engaging students once they got home pointed towards the need to engage parents and get them on board with what is going on in their child’s learning. With that in mind this week I want to look at ways to engage parents with technology so that they can play a major role in their child’s learning after the school day ends.
The last few weeks I have tried really hard to avoid duplicating tools that I have already found. However, this week I think it is more important to find high quality tools than to find new tools. With that said there may be repeats from other areas of this course.
Similar to my last couple of posts I started this week with various Google searches regarding engaging parents of students with technology. I found multiple sites and article that provided good information and ideas. These two sites in particular really hit the nail on the head with what I was looking for when I started the Google searches!
Boiling both sites down to the basics these sites pretty much line up with each other on how to engage parents. Both sites recommend texting tools such as Remind101 or ClassPager to communicate important material with parents by relaying it straight to their phone. ClassPager is a new tool to me and it looks like it has a lot of potential for engaging parents and students! Both sites recommend setting up Educational Blogs to keep parents on the same page with what is going on in class so that they can help students to the best of their ability at home. It initially surprised me when I saw both of these sites recommend Twitter and Skype as means to connect with parents, but the more I read into it the more I really liked the idea. Twitter is a great tool to engage students and why not use it to its maximum ability by engaging parents at the same time. Skype is also a great tool! I know how hard it is to get parents in to school for parent teacher conferences with their busy schedules. Skype breaks down a lot of those constraints to allow parent teacher conferences at any time and any location. I simply don’t think it gets any more effective in engaging parents and pulling them into their student’s learning process!
The newest tool I found this week was Teacher App & Grade Book. There are similar tools out there, but this looks promising. This app for smart phones and mobile devises is a tool that allows teachers to publish grades, attendance, reminders and other important material that can be accessed by parents and students. This tool makes instant access to the learning process simple and easy regardless of when and where you try to get involved. Parents can know exactly how there students are doing and what they need to work harder at every time they pick up their phone!
Looking back at the things I have found and read this week I can’t help but realize most of it is not new. Most of what I found for engaging parents is the same stuff I found for engaging students. Though I was initially disappointed that I didn’t find a brand new, ground breaking tool, I am not disappointed anymore. It doesn’t have to be new and different to engage parents, but instead it just has to be effective. Plus, if you look on the bright side, using the same tools to engage students and parents simply means that as a teacher I don’t have to learn new tools and tricks. I can be effective by learning what I already use and using it well across the board!