Involving all stakeholders in any large scale school project is really important and it’s essential to remember this. Parents are no exception. I wouldn’t say that we got everything right with what we did but certainly, involving parents in the project is something you should definitely do. It’s particularly crucial as it will be highly likely that with the project you will be embarking upon that you will be further building your relationship between school and home. Let parents know how it will affect them, their families as a whole and their children and open communication channels to take the discussion further.
I’m looking in to providing training opportunities for parents which are coming in different forms. Some will be sessions run by Digital Leaders and by myself. Parents will be offered support with their infrastructure at home, with esafety and ensuring that their questions are answered. We ran lots of different sessions across the build up to offering iPads to students. They took different forms:
- Introduction information evening disclosing intent
- Information evening offering information about progress
- Small, genius bar style sessions with opportunities to discuss issues with small groups
- Open forum meeting with parents given opportunities to ask questions and have them answered in a large forum.
The most powerful session was definitely the one which involved the open forum with parents being able to ask open questions. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the session, far more so than from any other session too.
We also found it beneficial to have other avenues of communication so we created the iClevedon Twitter account and the iClevedon site to feed back information to parents and other stakeholders too. The site has become a portal for lots of different stakeholders. There’s information on there now for pupils, parents, teachers and more. There are a number of videos there too with ‘how to’ guides on various aspects of using iPads and their apps. This site will grow as time moves on and our learning about pedagogy related to iPads and their use increases.
Have you embarked on a project similar to this? How did you liaise with parents in your project? What are you planning to do to involve parents. I’d love to hear from other schools on how you’ve approached this and what the feedback has been.