As with all areas of school life, and life in general, technology has allowed information exchange and personal connections to occur at a speed previously unparalleled.
This has allowed for an explosion of pedagogical development where students are now able to do what earlier generations could not, but one area that has remained relatively untouched is the connection between home and school. Which is undoubtedly one of the most important areas to foster.
So what can we do with tech to connect to home better?
IDEA – School Apps
School apps come in many varied forms. There are free generic apps that schools can piggy back off or schools can engage developers and have custom made apps. Last year, while away at school camp I was able to send push notifications out that kept a healthy flow of information from the camp back to home. This came in very handy when the bus took longer than expected to return.
IDEA – Direct Communication
I have spoken with a number of Australian high-school teachers in 2015 who, are experimenting apps like ClassDojo by using it to keep contact with their classes outside of the regular set class times. They are able to support students working on assignments and give clarity to set tasks amongst other things.
This was new to me as I had been a long-term user of ClassDojo as a classroom management tool. I had not used the direct connection feature of their app until the start of this school year. As a primary teacher I used the app to connect with parents and the feedback has been amazingly supportive. I am able to contact parents instantly.
I also like that no contact information is exchanged. The parents never know private details of the teacher and all correspondence is done through the app. This feature is a real winner.
IDEA – Live Streaming Parent Info Sessions
How many times to schools put on well run events to a small group of keen parents. Why not maximise technology and reach a wider parental audience? I have recently established a connection with American author Jena Ball who runs the Not Perfect Hat Club. This club promotes student resilience and self worth. We were able to have a Google Hangout On Air and Live Stream a discussion about some initiatives that we were trying with my students here in Australia. Parents had pre-emailed in questions and could view the talk on their devices at home. Better yet, those parents stuck at work could view the session in their own time later. We will be doing something similar with a Maths Night shortly.
IDEA – Parents Embracing Pedagogical Change
The amount of tools, courses, apps, etc. that are available online have meant that parents have a huge selection of tools that they can use with their children at home to support learning in the classroom.
It is great to see programs like Matific, that have such quality pedagogical pedigree available at home. Previously, programs like Matific would have been exclusively available to schools and come at a high price. The proliferation of technology means that now parents can access high quality resources on their home computers. What a win!
There are of course a thousand other ideas and loads of teachers doing amazing things. We would all love to hear about them too! If you would like to jump on twitter and connect and share ideas with passionate educators join us each Sunday on #aussieED
See you online.