ISTE NETS Standard 3: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
How can I use technology to communicate information to students and parents that will support student learning?
My question connects to ISTE Standard 3 because it focuses on communicating with students and parents using a variety of digital-age media and formats. My initial research led me to the website homeworknow.com. This resource allows teachers to post classroom information such as announcements, homework, learning activities and classroom events. It provides a way for parents to access information including links to additional educational resources and school websites. Parents can receive alerts when new information is posted. This site also supports the collaboration piece of ISTE Standard 3. It serves as a source for two-way communication because parents can send comments or questions to the teacher. This resource seems like an easy way for parents to get information.
However, my classmates, Andrea N. and Darryl S. suggested a simpler way of communicating with parents through the use of blogs such as WordPress or Blogger. Blogs allow teachers to post information and parents can leave comments that can be moderated by the teacher. One potential problem with class blogs as a tool for parent communication is that parents might not take time to read the information posted. My classmate, Andrea N., suggested a Twitter account as a way to get information to parents in 140 characters or less. With just a quick note or reminder, parents are more likely to read it. They can quickly access the information on the go via their phone, while still using the blog as a resource for more information. Even sending a link to the blog via Twitter when a new blog is posted may remind parents to check the blog.
Blogs can also serve as a tool for increasing collaboration between students, parents, and the community. With permission from parents, the class blog could be used to share students’ published work making learning a more authentic experience. According to Starkey (2011), “Learning in a digitally enhanced society is the ability to connect and collaborate with others beyond a constrained environment” (p. 21). In order to help students collaborate with their peers, students can use the class blog as a model for creating their own blog or can contribute to the class blog. Students can develop writing skills, share their learning in a creative way and receive feedback from their peers through the use of comments. Starkey states (2011), “Learners have to have connections with other learners or people with whom they interact, collaborate, critique, and gain authentication” (p. 21). Edublogs and Kidblogs are two resources available that allow students to engage in class discussion about a specific topic and reflect on their learning. This is an example of how technology can be integrated into writing activities. According to Kumar & Vigil (2011) , “The creation of digital content and its integration into learning activities with K-12 students is extremely important” (p. 150).
Another potential resource suggested by classmate, Audrey M., is TeacherWeb. Although this is a cost of $39/year, it includes several features for communicating with parents. In addition, it allows students to continue their study of a lesson at home with access to links that support their learning. Newsflash is one feature that sends short messages. The site allows for multiple tabs for providing parents with newsletters, homework, schedules, upcoming events, lesson plans and access to educational links used in the classroom. Previously, I have sent newsletters home with students with links to educational sites that students can use at home to practice math facts or engage in extension reading activities. Parents aren’t as likely to type in the web address and newsletters can get easily lost before they make their way home. Having the links and information easily accessible online eliminates this problem. Samples of TeacherWeb websites also included links to a classroom blog. Teachers can write a short paragraph about a learning activity that took place at school as a way to engage parents in conversation with their children at home about what they are learning. This type of engagement increases the chance of student achievement when both the teachers and parents are involved in the child’s educational journey.
Kumar, S., & Vigil, K. (2011). The Net Generation as Preservice Teachers: Transferring Familiarity with New Technologies to Educational Environments. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(4), 144-153. Retrieved , from https://bbweb-prod.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-920404-dt-content-rid-1636508_1/courses/EDTC6433_28657201342/The%20Net%20Generation%20as%20Preservice%20Teachers-%20Transferring%20Familiarity%20with%20New%20Technologies%20to%20Educational%20Environment.pdf
Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century, a digital age learning matrix. Technology, pedagogy, and education, 20(1), 19-39. Retrieved , from https://bbweb-prod.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-920397-dt-content-rid-1636485_1/courses/EDTC6433_28657201342/evaluating%20learning%20in%20the%2021st%20century.pdf