Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Importance of Involving the Community - Locally and Globally Now and in The Future

Day 23 of the TeachThought Reflective Teacher Blog Challenge

I think there seems to be a theme running through many of my posts and it centres around blogging!

Over the years I've used many different ways to connect home and school because the learning partnership is so crucial for students' success and confidence.  I've held parent information evenings for eLearning, reading, writing and maths, etc but one of the best ones was the one almost completely organised by my Year 3 students - 7 year-olds.  It was an Inquiry evening built around their Inquiries for the term.  A lot of food was involved and also a lot of ICT. (This was back in 2000).  It was so successful and gave parents an insight into the power of Inquiry.

While I love these opportunities, I wanted something that was more regular than phone calls home or emails to share positives.  These are still important to me but I needed more.  This is where the blogs came in.
The classroom blog became a source of information and communication for parents with many of them saying that it was the first time they really felt in touch with what was happening in their child's learning.

With a change in giving homework to Prep for Learning, there was also a shift in parent participation.  Parents were starting to get involved in the discussions that lead to 'at school' learning.  Something important was happening for us and it really opened up the lines of communication.  We also posted videos and links to daily learning, photos from the day and links to help parents understand what we were doing and why.  This was particularly valuable in maths / numeracy which is very different in many areas and in the strategies taught from when parents were at school.  It helped parents feel confident in asking questions and supporting their child's learning.

One of the most powerful ways I've involved the global community in our learning has been through ePals If you haven't looked at this yet, I highly recommend it, along with Skype In The Classroom.  Both of these tools will help foster collaboration and connections and the shared learning that is created across the world is real and relevant to our students.  ePals has many ideas for structured and less-structured learning and it is a completely safe environment for students and teachers to learn in.


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