Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Including Parents In Our Personal Learning Networks

Hey everyone! I am taking an online class this summer about personal learning networks and I cannot tell you how much I have learned. It is exciting to me to think about the direction the modern classroom is going. With Twitter, Instagram, blogging, podcasts, and so many other tools to help disperse information, share ideas, work together, and communicate the possibilities are endless!!! I am excited to grown my own personal learning network and share with others how to do this. But with this new exciting knowledge also comes a fear. As a kindergarten teacher, I realize the dangers that come into play when using such technologies. Unfortunately it is a conversation we need to have. And it is my opinion that the parents of our wonderful students are at the top of this list.

Getting parents involved in the classroom has been one of my biggest struggles. Conflicting schedules, lack of enthusiasm, and even just not knowing how to do it have all been reasons I have given myself of not getting more parents involved. However, with the growth of Web 2.0 tools, we have the opportunity to involve and educate parents more easily. While expanding our own personal learning networks, we should include parents and invite them to have conversations about these tools, teach them how to use them if need be, and instruct them on using the tools safely with their children. Below I will list a few ways that I plan to involve my parents in my own personal learning network.

  • Blogging: While I don't expect parents to blog, I would love for them to follow my blog here and see what's going on in the classroom. I plan to do weekly posts that show the progress the students are making and would invite them to comment as they see fit. I do think it is important to express to them to keep comments pleasant. While questioning is good, it is important that parents of my students not feel other parents are bad talking their kid's work. 
  • Twitter: Tons of information can be dispersed through Twitter. I know the district I work for has it's own Twitter page. Following that page and my own can keep parents better informed. 
  • Lastly, I think that parents can create their own personal learning networks. They can learn from each other, other teachers, other educational blogs, and even listen to educational podcasts if they so choose. The point is to use the tools available to them to become as involved in their child's education as they can. 
I hope that this information has inspired you to get parents in the know and use the tools we already use to involve them as much as possible, We have all heard the saying "It takes a village." Well with Web 2.0 tools, the village just got a lot bigger.