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FORUM: How are you using technologies to both report to parents and encourage them to engage with their students learning?

The advent of the school interviews site has allowed for parents to take control of setting their own interview times and has freed up teachers and admin staff to get on with other tasks. It is an efficient, time saving tool that puts the control firmly back into the hands of the parents and allows teachers to easily see who is attending and follow up with those who are missing.

What other tools are teachers and schools using to streamline their reporting processes?

Are you using google docs or learning management systems to share information instead of a traditional paper report?

Do your students share their progress through blogs or other online sites?

Mission Heights School reports online to parents using moodles on open source software (Linux and OpenOffice). More on TKI.

Waiuku Primary SchoolWillowbank School, and many others, are using facebook and twitter to engage with their parent community.

Rachel Boyd: Building community relationships with social media from EDtalks on Vimeo.


How are you using technologies to report to parents and to encourage them to engage with their students learning?

Share your ideas and experiences with us in this FORUM.


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 09 Aug 2013 11:16am ()

    For us we use Google Presentations to curate their digital portfolio and share their progress with parents/whānau via three way conferences- very powerful learning with the child being the driving force in sharing their learning.

    Some of 'my schools' use Facebook / Twitter to communicate with parents. 




    To better stream line communcation around policies and procedures we use School Docs


    Our class blogs are another fabulous way to encourage participation in our class. 


    And I have put a QR code on the classroom window to link to the blog for parents who wander around in the weekends and after school to have a look inside.


    Class QR code

    I also had a QR code on the main door of the school that took viewwers to the school prospectus.

    And here is our home school partnership resources we wrote over the last couple of years to collate our ideas.



    Home School Partnership


    Lots of ideas - I would love to hear of more.

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 09 Aug 2013 1:04pm ()

    What a great question!  

    I have used such a range of technologies but I think the crucial thing is face to face time with the families to make sure they are aware of their learners journey and aware of the HUGELY important role they play in the journey.  I run sessions where the learners showcase their blog and actively teach their extended families how to add comments to get conversations going.  Once the families develop an awareness of the online learning environments then it is easier to maintain the momentum. 

    We place notes to families in the blog or wiki as well as regularly survey families using embeded google forms. We encourage learners to share blog posts wide and far with extended family.  We share a sample of work on the blog and encourage families to come into class to see more.  We regular hold shared lunches and celebrations of learning to get the families in and seeing the online learning environment in action. 

    For reporting the learners are responsible for compiling their own goals and progress and evidence of success.  They then run the session with their families with my support if needed. 

    We have regular digital citizen sessions to learn from our inevitable 'mistakes' and discuss how to create a positive digital footprint.  

    Extended families are subscribed to the blogs so they get updates automatically.  Careful labelling of blog posts enables parents to easily view their learners journey. 

    I think blogs, wikis, google sites and email are helping us to keep in contact with our learners, extneded families and supporting the development of learning portfolios and sharing learning journeys. 

  • Mary-Anne Murphy (View all users posts) 20 Aug 2013 8:26pm ()

    Hi All,

    A couple of ideas:

    1. A simple tip with regards to blogs - "Tagging/Labelling for Assessment". 

    A bit like setting-up a filing system, teachers need to consider labels they wish to have when setting-up a blog. Simple concept, but often overlooked.

    Here is a great example from Catriona Pene:

    Blog labels

    In this way specific samples of student work can be easily located for Conference and Reporting time.

    This also links with the purpose of a blog: is it as a showcase, for working pieces/entries or solely for assessment purposes? If it includes "draft" work, then the pieces could be used for making OTJs (ie showing what a student can do independently, most of the time).

    Here is a link to an article on the use of Blogs as ePortfolios: http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/eportfolio/eportfolios-are-out-bportfolios-are-in-apparently-eportfolio-bportfolio/

    2. Guiding parents how to make a comment on a blog. Here is a wonderful example from teacher Miel MacLean at Hillcrest Normal School.


    Miel's Blog

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 02 Sep 2013 8:04am ()

    This article from my scoop.it feed this morning via Edudemic.

    covers 5 tools to use to engage and communicate with your parents.
    Remind101  - a safe and free way for teachers to text with students and parents.

    Skype - free way to connect with remote parents.

    Twitter is a simple tool to keep parents up to date. 

    The Teacher App & Grade Book is a Google Play app that offers a portal for teachers, parents, and students.

    and finally Edublog’s blogs. Setting up a classroom blog is a great way to get parents engaged in their student’s work.

    How are you using these tools and others to increase your parent's involvement in their child's learning journey? 
    Please share!


  • Tim Gander (View all users posts) 02 Sep 2013 9:29am ()

    Hi Catriona, some great tools there - has anyone had experience with using Remind101, I looked into it a while ago but found out that it is only available in the US - has it been updated to support NZ?  It looks like a really quick and easy way to communicate with parents and students!

    Here are some of my thoughts and experiences of reporting and assessing in secondary school which I expressed on my blog a couple of weeks ago;

    "Last week I sat in the school hall on a cold and stormy thursday night, in the middle of the hall, possibly the furthest point from any source of heat you could have found, for 2 and a half hours furiously marking yr 9 tests ready for the junior deadline next week - I saw 3 parents out of 79 potential.  I couldn't help thinking there must be a better way to do this......

    Later that evening I went home and had a look at some of the Edchatnz talk on twitter - the conversation topic was about what teachers spent most of their time on, and it echoed my feelings that we spend far too much time on assessing and reporting, at the moment I feel like that is our main emphasis - and not enough time on teaching and nurturing our students, over the past 3 weeks planning interesting and engaging lessons has had to take a bit of a back seat as I have been marking books/assessments and writing reports for my junior and senior classes for the second of four occasions this year.  I'm not saying that there is no need to assess students - but at the moment I feel like we are assessing for the sake of assessing, but this is a different issue all together!!
    So, a few thoughts that I had to make the process more effective for everyone involved.  Instead of having defined reporting dates and evenings, the teacher keeps an online mark book where students and teachers could actually see how they were getting on in real time, updated and amended live (like the one below in I keep in google drive - see this post to set one up).... PE is an internally assessed subject, and for the last 2 report rounds we have not had any internals to report on as they are ongoing, and results are collected in the form of homework and other tasks - this information could be kept in the online mark book and parents/students could drop in at anytime - from the start of the year until the student leaves school.

    We could be more flexible with meeting parents - it is clear that the system at our school is not working at the moment, especially mid year/mid-winter - a 3 parent night is not a good show, some staff didn't see anyone - many parents are working and have other commitments,  I don't think it would be too hard to increase this ratio with Skype/google talk hangouts and a booking system that parents could sign up for using a shared google calendar, you could open up times which were convenient to you and also prepare more examples of work and methods to improve learning if you specifically knew which parents you would be talking to.  You would also keep an option to talk face to face with parents who would like to meet with you, I still believe that this is the most valuable way of communicating, but I think we need to take steps to use technology to involve more parents.  The more parents you can connect with and start a relationship regarding the education of their children the better, and if it means being more flexible in our use of available technology then we should be doing something about it now.  I'm not too sure what is happening in other schools at the moment, some of these things could be in place already - I'd be really interested to hear if anyone else had any other thoughts or ideas?"
    So in relation to this forum I can see there are some great ideas being used already - are they implemented schoolwide or is it down to the individual teacher?  Has anyone used online conferencing with parents - how did it go?
  • Hunterville School Principal (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2013 10:44am ()

    Hello Tim

    I am interested in this remind101. I have an android phone.  I've signed up to the remind101 website but when I try to text a message on my phone it's not sending. Can't find an app for it in Google Play. Any suggestions?

  • Tim Gander (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2013 11:06am ()

    I checked with 101 support and it is not available in NZ at this stage, which it a real shame.  I haven't looked for an alternative as I have stuck with email and encouraged students to install the gmail app on devices so they can see messages staight away.  Let me know if you find anything else which works well as I'd be keen to give it a go and see it as a really useful tool.  Thanks, Tim

  • Terry Hokianga (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2013 11:58am ()

    Knowledge net is the system we use at our school to report to parents about a wide range of systems be they student progress, parent feed back on assignments, home work and even students using this system to place homework or any work on for that matter. By adjusting viewing settings they can be teacher pupil only, teacher, pupil and parent, teacher to teacher. As passwords are rquired all manner of traffic can be shared. Classroom pages (Blogs) can be constructed, newsletters, and interviews if necessary made. In one of our Tech classes students are totally on line amongst each other, school to home and school to outside agencies if so required. No books at all are taken to this class.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 21 Feb 2014 10:26am ()

    imageIn most schools, parent/teacher conferences for goal setting 2014 are coming up.

    This is a chance for parents, whānau and teachers to meet face-to-face and talk about our children - their strengths/needs as well as our hopes/dreams for them, as caregivers. It's about knowing our tamariki.

    It reminds me of the power and potential of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, where the role of the school is to, "fulfil the expectations, hopes and aspirations of their communities."

    The home, the community, the culture and hapū of the learner all contribute to the education provided by schools. For learners to succeed, the school, the home, hapū, iwi and community must work together effectively and consistently. 


    It's got me wondering, how can a school implement the aspirations of the parents and wider community;

    • when some parents/whānau don’t turn up at school for the interviews?
    • if learning goals (and strategies) aren't conveyed through conversations, pānui, newsletters or updates?


    How do you and your school plan to connect with the community (through technologies or other means), to help set learning goals between school and home in 2014? 

    Image sources: Creative Commons and Flickr

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 04 Mar 2014 10:19am ()

    imageSome more magic happening in this thread too, Using ICT in reporting processses. Bonus conversations from community members, about ways to engage and report to parents, using e-tools.

    Jump in, if you have any current stories to share.

    Image sourced from Flickr.

  • Steve Trotter (View all users posts) 23 Jul 2015 12:07pm ()

    Hi, My search for SMS/Text services led me here...

    I really like the idea of using Remind but alas it is not available outside of the US (still).

    Does anyone else have a SMS service they use? Want it more for Emergency notification system. What are other schools using to communicate with parents in an emergency situation? Facebook/Twitter etc are great - but what if you need to communicate with every parent? Have been playing around with creating an App, but even then parents can turn notifications off (and they need to download it...).

    Would be a great service for one of the big Telcos to provide (for free) to schools!


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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.