Option A Summary
School Year: 2016 – 2017 School: Quaker Ridge School
Name: Jen Cheung Subject/Grade: 2nd
What I DID:
The intention of this work had two parts. One part was to see if the use of different kinds of social media tools had an impact on school to home communication. I analyzed different forms of Parent/Teacher communication to see if it helped to foster and support learning at home. Part two was to teach students to become conscience digital citizens in their school life. This was done by blogging using the Seesaw platform of digital portfolios.
What I LEARNED:
Communication is key to understanding the world around us. Social media tools can either foster or hinder communication. Being a full-time working parent of a school aged child, communication between home and school is very important to me. It is important to be transparent about what is happening in the classroom environment. This year, as with other years, I put forth considerable effort and pride in providing numerous forms of communication with parents so that they feel knowledgeable about what’s happening in the classroom. There is tremendous value to the use of the social media tools I used this year (i.e.Twiitter, Seesaw, Remind) as a home/school connection as compared to monthly newsletters, emails, and teacher website. Maintaining a balance with all these tools seemed to be welcomed and appreciated based on parent feedback.
In part two of this project I used The Seesaw Blog platform to share and display student work. All parents were connected to the class blog. They had the ability to view their own child’s work. Anything that I published on the “public class page” could be seen by all/anyone. Students were able to “show and share” their learning experiences through video or voice recordings, pictures and drawings. Through this year long study, students learned and used many programs/applications to enhance their technology experience.
When it comes to the use of technology in the classroom, it does not discriminate. No matter what age or ability, anyone can learn to use a program to communicate appropriately.
My Report On Teaching Students To Become Digital Citizens and The Use of Social Media Tools In The Classroom For Teacher/Parent/Student Communication
Part One: The Use of Social Media Tools for Teacher/Parent Home-School Communication
This year, as with many other years, I have used many tools to make a home to school connection. I send home weekly emails. I write monthly newsletters on my teacher webpage. I tweet on a daily basis. I have used an application called Remind that sends text message reminders directly to parent cell phones if they had joined. Communication has been ongoing all year. I was interested in finding out how informed parents felt about their child’s school day. Home to school communication is essential to the success of students. You need to have two-way communication in order for any relationship to work.
I created a questionnaire that was given to parents to find out their thoughts on communication between school and home. Only 15 out of 22 parents completed the short survey. The idea was to find out which form of communication best supported learning the age old question parents ask their children; “what did you learn in school today?”
The majority of parents feel well informed about their child’s school day. I use photos in all of my Tweets which, seems to engage parents in questioning their child about the day’s events.
Overwhelmingly, parents found the weekly emails and the Remind text messages most helpful in keeping organized and having an idea of what was planned for the week. Email seemed to be the most popular among the parents in the survey. I was sending out weekly e-blasts to the families in my class on a Sunday. The email included the letter day in the 6 day cycle, the special class, extra lunch ticket, monthly menu, and any pertinent information for the week. In this same category, parents liked receiving text messages through the Remind application. Sample text messages would include library day reminders and trip reminders (i.e. bring lunch). The use of email provided parents with quick opportunities for immediate access to the teacher. It’s probably the most convenient two-way communication in the present day.
Very few parents made any comments as comments were optional. However, the feedback was positive. Parents seemed to be satisfied with the various forms of communication this year. The monthly newsletter provided a recap of the month’s events. The pictures included in the newsletters and the Tweets seem to provide a topic for conversation between parent and child. Tweets would spark a conversation between parent and child because I would pose a question in my post along with pictures; for example, “We had a mystery reader today. Ask your child who she was and what activity she did.” Parents seem to enjoy the new blogging tool I used this year as well. Seesaw provided opportunities for parents to see and hear what their child is learning from their own child through the use of video and or voice recordings.
Part Two: Digital Citizenship and Blogging with Seesaw
Seesaw was the new form of communication that I decided to try this year. I love this program! Our class blog https://blog.seesaw.me/2chv1617 gave parents the opportunity to see and hear what their child was learning in the classroom through video and pictures. Parents were able to view their child’s work in an online portfolio organized by date. Any parent that joined Seesaw would receive an email when a new posting had been made to their child’s portfolio. Student work would be made “public” only when I approved it to be made public. The teacher had the ability to edit a post and edit a comment. The teacher could approve or delete posts as well. The teacher also had to approve any comments made to student work.
Seesaw has so much to offer both students and teachers. On the teacher end, I was able to create folders to keep student work organized. For example, if students were explaining their math thinking, then when they were ready to post it, they would find the math folder to place their video. You can also choose to select a specific folder to see student work.
Students first log on using a QR code or class code. When students or the teacher are creating a post, there are so many options. This year, students learned to take clear, centered photos. They learned to record video while speaking and drawing on the video. A recent addition has been the ability to upload student work from their Google drive. They learned how to upload a file from Google Drive into a post on Seesaw.
Students created blog posts in all different subject areas throughout the year. We connected with another second grade class within the district. I conducted lessons on how to make appropriate blog comments as well as lessons on using the appropriate emoji to show an emotion.
This year I had about 90% of parent followers on Twitter. I don’t think social media apps like Twitter are seen as a “generational thing” anymore. It’s almost as if you’re not part of the “in crowd” if you don’t tweet or have some kind of social media account (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, etc…). I had 100% parent participation with the class Seesaw blog. It’s pretty clear that communication between parents and teachers is one way to build a trusting, effective relationship. This kind of relationship is important to the growth of the student.