Parent Technology Education and the School/Home Connection:


“PROACTIVE” TECH ED FOR PARENTS:
Do you host (or co-host with other campus leaders) tech-related parent coffees, evening events or drop-in sessions for parents? What is the content/tone of these events? Who organizes/attends? Inside or outside speakers?
  • Yes. Last year for the first time we held a 'mandatory' meeting for all 5th - 8th grade parents; they attended with their daughter(s). I gave a presentation (along with another teacher) about internet safety, online behavior, experiences and suggestions, questions and answers. After the meeting the parents were requested to have a conversation with their daughters and then both signed our "responsible use agreement." While we still had a couple issues crop up throughout the year (tweeting during a history class being the most egregious), we at least were armed with the signed agreements which gave us a place to continue conversations with the students and the parents. This year we are having an evening devoted to Internet Safety, Social networking, online behavior, but it is not mandatory and it is parent only. I worry I will be preaching to the converted or to the extremely worried! But we shall see. I'm encouraging parents from 3rd grade on, especially 3 - 6 grades. Also, we have a web page of intenet safety links for parents.
  • We have in the past, but not for a while.
  • I get time at the 4th-7th grade coffees that happen twice per year... maybe 20 minutes at each. I also try to do at least two evening Parent Education events (one for 4th-6th, one for 7th-8th) somewhere mid-year. Those evening events are a full 90 minutes and can cover much more. Of course, not all the parents come, and often the families that would probably benefit the most aren't there!
  • At our grade-level coffees we sometimes use tech at home as the discussion theme. This year, in response to a few Upper School incidents that have occurred at home, we're having a "special" 5-8 coffee discussion on the topic of school/home partnerships around tech.
  • Coffees annually but our teachers multitasking talk resulted in parents collaborating on shared guidelines for home tech use.
  • We are suppose to begin doing this at grade level coffees, and before dances. We'll see if it happens.

TECH COMMUNICATION:
Does your tech department have a regular way of communicating with parents about tech? (blast emails, web page, tech dept. blog, etc.)
  • Our school is currently reviewing the communication piece to all our constituents. We use the web site, blast emails, tweets, etc. Some parents love it, apparently some don't.
  • We have this, but don't use it for tech related topics
  • No. The communications person here would *love* it if I were more regular in writing something like this, though! If I wanted to, I could do a monthly letter.
  • We've tried various methods of communication over the years, but can't seem to attract a wide readership. We share a Twitter feed with the library, which gets integrated into the main website's Twitter feed.
  • The parent monthly newsletter has been the most effective way.
  • Email blasts usually accompanies with other items of note.

HOME TECH INCIDENTS:
How do you navigate the rocky terrain of tech-related incidents that happen at home but trickle into school? (Cyberbullying, inappropriate uses of tech at home, etc.) Is there a general protocol? Do you do any tech sleuthing at school to help parents figure out what happened/what to do after an incident occurs at home? Do you (or others) do any kind of just-in-time learning with kids if an incident happens at home? Do you (or others) send any kind of community-wide correspondence to parents informing them about the incident? Who gets involved in the follow-up of these incidents? Tech Department, Division Head, Head of School, school counselors or others?
  • We actually have something in the school handbook about the crossing over of boundaries, when a tech incident involves our students and reflects on the school, we have an obligation and a right to be involved. It gets handled by the division directors and head of school as appropriate. Always, I am doing 'just in time' learning with the girls... whether it is an incident that is exactly ours or even when we hear about things from other schools, in the paper, etc. I think it is important to keep the topic front and center.
  • We do not have a general protocol and deal with it on a case by case basis. I have done some tech sleuthing when needed. We have not made general annoucements to parents about incidents we've had. Our head of school, dean of students and homeroom teachers are involved in resolving issues with students. Head of school deals with parents.
  • Ours process is mostly reactionary... wait until something crops up, unfortunately. I get involved in talking to the kids about what happened, and help craft a response to parents, and (if it is something that many kids know about) a letter to the whole grade.
  • Very similar answer to the one directly above.
  • If the incident involves a large number of our students we address it as it has an impact on the School community.

TECH SUPPORT AT HOME:
Do you ever/often help parents to get their (non-school owned) laptops/home networks/devices set up or privacy/parental control settings configured?
  • No.
  • No, been asked and I avoid it. It would be a fulltime job in itself.
  • Not much. Our tech guy is a super-nice guy, though, and I know occasionally someone will bring him a machine from home for help.
  • We typically do not, but will help out occasionally.
  • Frequently. But we have a large tech staff and school owned laptops.

IF YOU’RE A 1:1 SCHOOL:
What does the laptop rollout process look like for PARENTS specifically? Is there an event? A packet? A series of things? One-time or ongoing?
  • n/a
  • We are not.
  • N/A at this point!
  • Not yet.
  • several letters and emails, laptop info night, followup letter and emails the day they receive laptops. We also have a laptop FAQ site.

RESOURCES:
Do you have parent ed handouts, slides, delicious/diigo links, resources, etc. that you’d be willing to share with other BAISNet folks?

OTHER THOUGHTS:
  • Overall, I feel that over the last 12 months, there has been a marked increase in the "hue and cry" from parents for the school to step up and set more firm guidelines on technology use *outside* of school. I've hesitated from being too prescriptive on that in the past since every home will have different expectations and ideas of what is right and wrong. However, now I'm seeing the call for at least setting some standard suggestions on things like cell phone use, video game rating, age to introduce personal email, and all that good stuff.