Tag Archives: techno parents

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

If I go into the room today, I’m in for a big surprise!

At a recent online session for web conference leaders someone asked what to do “should everything go amiss!” Response: “The show must go on!”
Well…. I had a night like that tonight. Logging onto the room for our second of three series for TechnoParents and connecting staff and parents together, I was utterly dismayed to realise that I had forgotten to book the room through the online conference centre! Initially we were going to start two weeks earlier but due to a busy calendar delayed the commencement of the online sessions.
After some quick thinking, I quickly booked a room through learncentral, grabbed the link and quickly changed the link on the two blog posts where parents and students would go, to get access to the session. This was 30 mins before we were to start. As the starting time approached, a number of staff logged on, some new to the elluminate environment. It was starting time, and we still just had staff until a parent appeared in the participants list and then several more. The session commenced and followed the following agenda:-
1. Quick tour around the features of elluminate
2. An icebreaker. Participants were asked what ingredients they do not like on their pizza from the following options:- pineapple, olives, salami, cheese. Participants then had to make up three pizzas that all of us would eat.
3. Sharing stories – what I do in my spare time! Thanks to Marg M for sharing their bird raising (Macaws) stories with us.
4. The Ultranet – with our Principal, Mr Colan Distel
5. Sustainability projects in our school with Britt Gow
6. Link up with American School of Bombay , Mumbai, India and our years 5/6 student volunteers at lunchtime, to discuss racism and Australia going to India to play sport with me, Anne M
7. Whiteboard brainstorming – where can we go with these online sessions with fantastic input and great ideas from both parents and staff?
Next week we have our year 7 and prep transition information evening. Should we invite interested prospective parents to come online with us for next week’s session?

Link to the recording

 Link to recording

If I go into the room today….

As I entered the elluminate room tonight, I wondered what I would find. I had just answered a phone call from a parent who had problems entering the scheduled room and spent 10 mins or so, trying to step her throught the processes of unblocking the popup filters on her computer. It was with some nervousness that I logged on to the room.

What if there is noone there, what if noone can get in, what if the audio does not work, what if my internet fails…

It was 15 mins after the room had officially opened, that I got in. To my great surprise there were already nine partipants in the room – a mix of staff, students and parents. Time was spent testing microphones and sound, with the usual mix of problems. Fortunately the majority of presenters were able to use their microphones. Here is the link to the recording! Soon, it was time to start the session. After a brief introduction to elluminate, an ice breaker requested participants to write their names on the board, colour them and make them look ‘pretty’. Soon we had a neat colourful board of names! The following speakers were given 7 mins or more to speak on their chosen topic. Here is what it looked like! (Here is the link to the recording)

  1. Ms Murnane spoke about her ‘week in a sentence’ task found on her blog, walking parents through how to add a comment and encouraging parents to be involved.
  2. Rachel Neale a prep teacher from Darwin spoke about the ‘teddy bear exchange’ with our school. She had shared photos with us and spoke about her class and why this teddy bear exchange was so important to her culturally mixed class. Tyna Lee (our prep teacher) also spoke about the exchange from Hawkesdale P12 College point of view. Questions came thick and fast for Rachel enquiring about life as a teacher in Darwin. Thanks Rachel for coming online with us.
  3. Mr Keith, our assistant principal spoke briefly on the naplan testing.
  4. Mrs Gow (our maths/science teacher) spoke about activities in maths and science for the past week and showed some wonderful photos of the activities, including the recent healthy breakfast. Finally, the Education week timetable was outlined, with students coming online telling us about the books they are taking to the pre-school to read to the students there. Alannah spoke about the golf day which grade 5s enjoyed today! Suggestions for the future use of elluminate with parents/community were put forward. There will be further sessions over the next two weeks and then it is hoped regular sessions might continue.

Observations:-

  1. Parents quite readily tried the tools and wanted to test microphones. They were far more confident than I thought they would be.
  2. The majority of parents who had said they would participate seemed to be online.
  3. The newsletter publicised our exciting events to be held for Education Week, and realised from the questions, that some information was missing.
  4. The pace of the chat- was very lively much of the time. Most participants placed comments, questions, statements of support etc in the chat. A great interactive feature of elluminate.
  5. Great to have our e-guest from Darwin speaking – added another element of interest for all.
  6. The students spoke and talked about what they had done today and were doing tomorrow adding nother rich element to the conversations.
  7. The strong support from our staff, including the principal class and leadership team.
  8. The strong impact and enrichment that images give to the conversations.

Follow ups

  1. Need to work out why audio did not work for some.
  2. Will question students at school,  to seek out who could not log on and follow up on possible reasons why?
  3. Sift through the chat conversation and record the  suggestions given for future use of elluminate.
  4. Determine what further advice or documentation is required.
  5. Follow up the times for some of the events on Thursday morning for education week.
  6. 7 mins was not long to give each speaker Need to revisit and discuss this limit. However, it does add variety.
  7. We could save the chat conversation but not the whiteboard, so I need to enable that next time.

Thank you to all involved. Another amazing experience showing the power that technology can give to education and transforming communities. Thank you to the virtual conference centre of DEECD for allowing us to use this room.

Related resources of interest. Engaging Parents using Sharepoint

Techno Parents

Unpacking the netbooks

Two months ago, students from years 5 to 8 received their netbooks. Hawkesdale P12 College has gone 1:1 for these year levels in 2010, after the successful introduction to grade 5 students in 2009. Although an information session was held prior to this event, a further session was offered to parents this evening to unpack the netbook with their student beside them, allowing them to ask further questions and to inform parents of their use in the classroom. The meeting took place in the library and each parent and student had a netbook. Our library has a bank of netbooks for borrowing.
How wonderful it was to see a parent beside their child discovering the content of those mobile devices, working together and sharing conversations. Staff were also in attendance. The session ran for one and a half hours and in that time, parents enquired about the internet access at home, voiced concerns about students potentially losing vital life skills and basic numeracy and literacy skills etc.
In two weeks time, parents will be given the opportunity to come online in elluminate from their homes and share further conversations. When teachers, parents and students work together, the learning will surely be stronger.