Let’s give them something to talk about. -Bonnie Raitt
Have you ever been consumed with something? You know, a project or idea that dominates your thoughts, dreams, conversations, lesson plans…When we are so immersed in something, we know every facet, every detail, every scintilla of it. We assume that because we know all about it, that others should as well and we are a little nonplussed when they don’t.
I’m referring to our school wide use of iPads. We have had iPads in a 1:1 setting since January 2011 in 3 classrooms and school wide since the 2011-12 school year. We incorporate them into our daily activities. We use them all throughout the day. Our kids are engaged and excited. We’ve had a technology night to showcase for parents what some of our classes are doing. Surely, there is no question of HOW we use these amazing devices. Except, there are.
An independent consulting firm issued parent surveys to gauge the level of support. This survey asked what parents liked best about the use of iPads in the classroom and if there is anything that could be improved on. Several surveys, more than should have, came back with parents saying they aren’t really sure how the iPads are being used. They didn’t know enough about it to comment.
Well, ouch. That hurt. Our first reaction was, “Of course they know! How can they not??” Then with a little time and objectivity, we decided that we needed to do a better job of letting our little light shine. We needed to be more intentional about including parents in the conversation. We needed to give them something to talk about! It was decided that we will have a monthly newsletter highlighting what’s happening with iPads at each grade level. Here is our first:
This will go home in each class newsletter, be featured on our school website, and printed out and made into posters for each of our main hallways. Teachers will also be more focused on communicating not just the “what” by the “why” so parents can see value and be more closely involved in the process. Yes, this is all common sense but it is easy to assume we are all engaged in the same conversation when we really aren’t.
Involving all stakeholders in a large project like this is critical. I realize that I could stand on my head and eat a bug but that doesn’t mean everyone will get the information. We will always have people say, “I never knew…” but by being more intentional in the curating and sharing of the good news, we are partnering in the best possible way with our students’ very first teacher…their parents.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it.
PS: Big shout out to Lisa Bevans for creating this awesome first parent newsletter!