I had the pleasure of attending Aviva @avivaloca and Aaron @bloggucation ‘s session at ECOO 2013 on parent communication. Aviva is very passionate about her students and works very closely with her families. She blogs, tweets, emails and does weekly phone calls. Her junior class is also involved in broadcasting from the school and they use http://105thehive.org/ Aviva also described how she uses LiveScribe pens to record planning sessions and shares those sessions with her families. She finds multiple ways to engage with her families.
I also engage in daily emails, a class blog, hand written notes, biweekly newsletters, SKYPE and phone calls as methods of communicating with my parent community. I have a lot of success in emailing out a quick photo of a child learning and sending it to their parents at work or home. I receive a lot of positive feedback from families. “It makes my day, when I get a photo of … while I’m working at my desk.” “I love showing my colleagues what my daughter is doing at school.” I think all educators will agree that parent communication is essential and an important aspect of our role as educators.
As I attended ECOO 2013 I heard a lot of wonderful conversations, presentations and keynotes. The emphasis was always on students learning and the technology tools were secondary. However, there was one thing I noticed that was not always in the forefront of our conversations. Accessibility for all parents, specifically parents of those who are English Language Learners was not a focus in our discussions. Karen Lirenman @Klirenman recently posted a blog entry and she talked about how she now included a translation widget on her blog. I have been reading and trying to figure out the best way to include translation widgets on my class blog and have not yet had success. I’m sure I’m missing something obvious. I welcome suggestions but at this point I can locate a link but my wordpress class blog does not make it easy for me to create a widget. I consider myself pretty techie and this simple process is a stumbling block for me. I wonder why as educators we are not demanding our blog sights to include translation widgets in the list of choices to add to our blogs. Why is it we can add cluster maps but not translation widgets?
I am sure in time I will find an easy way to add the widget to my class blog. I welcome any suggestions in the comment area. However, that’s not the focus of this entry. I ask educators to please consider all families of the students in your classrooms. How can we use technology to make it easier to communicate with everyone? How are we being equitable in our communication methods? I know I will ask myself each time I create something for families, I will question how can I ensure this meets the needs of all of my families. Will you too?
update- Thank you to the support team at Edublogs. I contacted their help email support and received a quick reply. The support team even put the translate option on my blog. Thank you!
Now I need to figure it out for my class blog.