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Keeping parents in the loop

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Started by Mark Osborne 14 Nov 2012 3:02pm () Replies (8)

Kia ora,

One of the most important things for us when we embarked on our BYOD journey was to keep parents informed about 'why' we were doing the things we were doing. There was a lot of 'what' and 'how' the programme was going to operate but the really important discussions seemed to be about 21st century learning and the world into which our students would enter.

I'm interested to hear what people have done about communicating to parents the 'why' of BYOD as well as the 'what' and 'how'. Public meetings? Newsletters? Social media? Student advocates? Research?



  • Amy McCauley (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 3:14pm ()

    We aren't BYOD (yet), but have a lot going on at the school in regards to using technology (we have ipads, laptops, etc in every class).  Our focus for the second part of the year was to really get our parents actively involved.  I found parents often said they didn't understand what their children were doing and found it difficult to help them.  Some parents were taking night-classes at the local collage to upskill themselves on basic computing skills.  Putting two and two together, we decided to run night-classes for parents to help them understand the how and why with certain tools (wikispaces, blogs and twitter).  So we ran workshops which were open to all parents/ caregivers where they signed up and were actively involved.  This wasn't a stand and deliver, these were hands-on workshops, with the ultimate goal to get the parents using these tools with their children.  

    These workshops were a great success and helped with so many questions and misconceptions that were out in the community.  

  • Mark Osborne (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 4:17pm ()

    Parents as experiential learners! Learning to use the the tools alongside their children. That's a good way of doing it.

  • Jo Wilson (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 3:22pm ()

    Hi Mark

    Totally agree - the 'why' is the crucial discussion. The 'why' conversations foster shared understanding and provide direction to the decision making in regard to the what, when and how. Open meetings, open days, newsletters, shared readings, examples, surveys, facebook updates, twitter feeds, public post it boards,  all assist in creating the understanding of the 'why.'

  • Teresa Burn (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 4:00pm ()

    I agree that parents need to know the why - but at our school we need to be very careful with regards to communitcation.  AT open meetings and forums it is really easy for agendas to be high-jacked by the loudest voice / most forceful opinion.  It's easy to look pretty dumb having spent large amounts on equipment that you intend to use anyway to have a public meeting that declares learning this way to be the end of civilisation as we know it.

  • Mark Osborne (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 4:16pm ()

    Great point Teresa. I'd be interested in how people have dealt with the 'vocal minority'. As often happens with things like this, the people who have totally bought in don't feel a need to come to the parent meeting which means the people who are present are not representative of the overall community feeling. One thing we've done is get parents into groups to brainstorm questions about BYOD which are then written up and answered either at the time, or over the following days with the benefit of some time to research and present a considered response.

  • Teresa Burn (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2012 4:21pm ()

    We've adopted a very different approach in this case.  We experimented with things in a really low key way and just with individual classes.  This means that when we have met with parents who have concerns we are better informed than them about the reality of BYOD - and already have the answers in pace (well at least most).  It has helped to be really well informed about the practice - the sort of informed that you only get with experience.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 15 Nov 2012 11:18am ()

    I hear you when you say you don’t want to have your meetings hijacked Teresa, the necessity to keep parents informed about the potential value of e-learning is on-going, so thank you for the practical ideas Jo and Amy your story is very encouraging.

    I’ve heard some BOTs say, what’s the use of e-learning, where’s the proof it has an impact on our students? This becomes more specific/relevant when it relates to the financial costs of implementing BYOD – for both the school as well as the wider community.

    Fostering shared understandings about Big picture thinking Big picture thinking and future-oriented trends in research helps to keep everyone on the same page.


    Sharing examples of the impact of BYOD on their students is a good CARROT.


    The STICK might include:



    1. Referring to moral and legal obligations of schools to provide the necessary resources for their students.

    National Administration Guideline 4

    According to legislation on financial and property matters, each board of trustees is also required in particular to: (a) allocate funds to reflect the school's priorities as stated in the charter;


    Ideally school policies and documentation (vision, strategic plans) would reflect the priority to raise student achievement through the use of e-learning tools.

    2. The fact that e-learning has an integral place in the NZ Curriculum, means we can make specific references to why increased access to mobile learning devices is a proactive step in education.

    For instance, e-learning in Curriculum reads:

    ◦                      assist the making of connections by enabling students to enter and explore new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time

    ◦                      facilitate shared learning by enabling students to join or create communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom

    ◦                      assist in the creation of supportive learning environments by offering resources that take account of individual, cultural, or developmental differences

    ◦                      enhance opportunities to learn by offering students virtual experiences and tools that save them time, allowing them to take their learning further.

    How do these bullet points relate to BYOD? This thread has suggestions for how schools might deliver these messages.

    My question is, are there any parents wondering about the equity of it all


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