Monday, October 29, 2007

Engaging Parents in Change

What does it take to bring about change?

Education, understanding, involvement? Any conversation about technology use in education seems to eventually turn to talk about ways to bring about change. Change needs to occur on many fronts at a many levels. So often we discuss ways to involve fellow teachers and administrators. But, change needs to engage all the stakeholders- community members, board members, students, and parents. This past week I unveiled The Learning Hub, in an effort to engage parents in the conversation and experience of learning in the 21st century.

The Learning Hub is a place where parents and students can explore, experiment, discuss, and discuss new adventures in learning together. In an email to parents, I explained that is a place where you can go to learn about the things we are doing in school, not just by reading about them, but by actually participating in them. It is just in its infancy, but will continue to grow as the year continues. Set up as a private wiki, each parent received an invitation to join.

The home page introduces parents to the concept of a wiki, addresses basic online safety guidelines, and invites parents to join in on their first adventure of learning together - the Sinking O.R.E.O. project. The inspiration for the project arose from the students' work with the O.R.E.O. Technospud Project created by Jennifer Wagner. On the link to the O.R.E.O. project, parents can view the graphs created by their children after selecting and analyzing data generated by 613 participating classes. Challenged to think further about the scientific method, students designed the Sinking O.R.E.O. project for parents and students to try at home. The extra wrinkle to the project is the Sinking O.R.E.O. Results page where parents and students are asked to edit the wiki and add their results to the page.

Will this effort effect any change? Time will tell.