If you haven’t, you really should read through this report.
As an educator, it’s probably pretty easy to immediately come to the conclusion that the parent is wrong or out of touch or something … But it goes a little deeper than that and is another example of being careful of the message we send.
As educators, we think we know what is right and I suspect that we think that it’s intuitive that everyone would agree. After all, who would argue that a computer with internet access that a student has for her/his educational career is not going to be appreciated by everyone? Gift horses and all that.
It’s important to note that we’re only really hearing from one side as we work our way through this story.
The districts mentioned may well be ahead of the curve in these initiatives so there’s a great deal of learning to be done for other districts who may follow in the future.
So, what would you do?
Some of the things that come to my mind immediately:
- explain the rationale and the expectations that should arise as a result of the initiative, including providing convincing research for success from pilot programs or other initiatives from other districts
- explain, in detail, what the district’s plan is for educating students about how to use these technologies and the plan for developing competent digital citizens
- have initial and then ongoing parent information nights to discuss the success and challenges of the program
- have a discussion area where parents can express their concerns and see them addressed by board personnel
- indicate ways that the technology can be used offline without being connected to the internet
- compare and contrast the use of this technology to the way that students have traditionally used home computers, school computers after schools, or in other places like youth centres or public libraries. In particular, what is the benefit of having a computer for their personal use, as it’s needed
- considering the high visibility of public testing like EQAO, show the best of applications to support student learning in mathematics and literacy
- explain any limitation that the technology might have compared to computers used in specific courses – computer science, graphic arts, videography
- address concerns about using computers from one specific technology company
- show the parents the two ways of using technology that I’ve always mentioned
- use technology to do things differently
- use technology to do different things (really work this one)
- include a way for parents to opt out of the program if they just can’t buy into it
An initiative like this requires support and buy-in by all members in order to be successful. It definitely requires the district to be on their best communication and partnership mode.
What more could be done?
What would you do?