Parent Partnerships – Final steps in transforming school communities

Techno Parents Online in Elluminate

Our goal

To offer three online elluminate sessions over a three week period to parents of students who are part of our 1:1 netbook program.

Our approach

  • Three weekly sessions were held online, on a Monday evening from 7:30-8:30pm.
  • An initial face to face meeting was held with parents/student and netbooks in the library.
  • Our first online session launch was the first day of Education Week.
  • Notes went home with the 1:1 netbook students, newsletter notices
  • User documentation was sent to those who showed interest.
  • Email contact and phone number backups for the sessions were given. Parents made use of both those means of communication

Initial reaction

  • Strong support from staff and leadership
  • Keen interest from parents, excitement, nervousness but real determination to be part of this.

What worked

  • Amazingly everything did! Parents with the help of their students were able to logon.
  • Having parents, students and staff all in one virtual classroom
  • Icebreakers eg build the snowman, make a pizza that everyone can eat
  • Sharing classroom stories
  • Having our teddy bear linkup teacher from Darwin online with us the first session, talking about how excited her students are to share an exchange with us. They have a large proportion of African students and they think that there are lots of elephants, zebras etc in Victoria. It was really interesting to hear about their mix, technology use (or lack of) etc. Created a lot of interest through the chat
  • Marg M, one of our teachers, talking about their hobby of raising macaw birds and sharing pictures with us. Made everyone relaxed, got questions started in the chat etc.
  • Using images to talk to
  • Staff learning and sharing about we are doing

Topics covered:-

  • The ultranet
  • What’s on this week
  • The maths/science classroom
  • Our biodiversity program
  • The Techno 5 class blog, homework page and asking parents to ‘add their day in a sentence”
  • Mathletics
  • Global connections
  • Cows Create Careers and Horticulture in the middle school
  • From the prep class room! Gorgeous images, great activities (mentors, dance, art etc) and wonderful use of ICT. Some of the preps were online with their parents and pointed out their work.

Faces of the preps

Ideas for further use of connections with parents in elluminate

  • Maths -Parent tutoring Keep the parents up to date with what is being done…especially with the new technologies..ie graphics calculators – Mathletics
  • Good way to train parents on the use of the Ultranet later in the year
  • Online Open day and night?
  • Arts – film, photography and graphic arts exhibitions
  • whole of school approaches to particular social issues such as promoting healthy relationships, positive body image, Aboriginal reconcilitation etc.  Of course student learning and stories would be great too and tuition sessions in a range of subject areas.
  • potential for kids who miss school through illness
  • From school council president
  • As long as it was in addition to in person sessions, not instead of.
  • Could hear from our student teachers
  • Ross Student: About what happens in other schools and presentations from kids
  • Maybe even if you did one/two levels at a time
  • It would be good to hear what Parents Club are doing and how we could get other parents involved

The unexpected results:-

  • Students were happy to come on the mic and talk about their day’s activities
  • The keen interest shown by parents and staff
  • My school staff were able to experience the benefits and potential of working online in a virtual classroom
  • The confidence of parents and willingness to use the chat, whiteboard and microphone.

What could be improved:-

  • advertise the agenda well ahead of time, rather than throw it all together a day or so before
  • Share an online document or encourage comments on the posts that were published on the school blog for feedback and evaluation
  • Evaluation survey needs to be set up
  • Share the responsibility of planning sessions with staff, students and parents
  • Vary the chief moderator when other staff become confident
  • Some parents did have difficulties with java errors  and could not get in – need documentation on that
  • Some parents still have dial up internet access, some have no internet access

The outcome

  • Unanimous agreement that the sessions continue on a regular basis – monthly for a start

How to advertise these sessions!

  • Individual notes to home
  • On the school blog
  • Newsletter
  • Parent buddies,each of us invite a new person each time
  • email groups

Final words from the one of the parents:

Rochelle: Thanks everyone, very elluminating!

Tracey: This is all interesting, even with Em at Prep it is interesting to see what the older kids are doing

Helen S: loved hearing about what’s happening at school and hearing from Rachel in /Darwin

Tracey: Love to hear what they are doing in the classrooms, the different technologies they are using

One response to “Parent Partnerships – Final steps in transforming school communities

  1. Pingback: Learning Adventures in Elluminate « On an e-journey with generation Y

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