I have experienced that communication between teachers, children and parents can sometimes be quite incomplete and full of gaps. Messages disappear or are misunderstood. Many things are redundant. As most parents, children and teachers have access to internet I have thought about introducing a 2.0 solution for all parties of the class. Instead of writing messages and copying them for parents teachers could post them online. Instead of informing about a child's absence via phone parents could deposit a few words online. And many more things.

Has anyone of you introduced an open-source 2.0 tool for that purpose? Which experience have you made? I would love to exchange experience with you and develop some new ideas.

mara

Tags: 2.0, children, communication, messages, parents, teachers

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It could work for superficial things but confidentiality would keep "personal" messages and student names from being posted. Also if you want to use ning, you have to be careful of inappropriate ads.
This forum, CR2.0, pays for the space (or it was donated as a premium space). If you were to start a forum for your school and did not pay for premium space there would be a set of ads on the right hand side--most of the ads are OK for kids and parents but I've noticed several for "Sexy Singles" and "Meet your Mate". Check this group out and you can see the ads, remember ning is a social networking site so the ads entice you to meet the man of your dreams!! Just be careful.
http://teachstrongnetwork.ning.com/group/technologystaffdevelopment
This doesn't really fit the topic as listed, but one way that I seemed to be able to bridge the communication gap with parents was a quote I always said. Imagine my new parents sitting there in my classroom eyeballing me, and I was eyeballing them: "And finally, ladies and gentlemen, I promise not to believe what your child says about you or what goes on at home if you promise not to believe what they say about me or what goes on in here!" That always broke the ice and calmed their nerves....
I like it!
This may be off topic a bit- but as the years have passed I have gotten more and more comments from parents like " My child didn't know it was due." "He said you never gave him the asignment" "Are you sure he wasn't absent the day you handed out the assignment".

Having a classroom WIKI page has allowed me to post assignments, due dates, list web 2.O tools for publishing, and the ability to list resources to help them fufill their assignments. Each week the school sends home a newletter and my classroom page is listed. So after the first couple of phone calls from parents where I reminded them about the page and all the support in place for the students--the kids are no longer able to sing the ---"She never told me song! "
Now I teach 505 students-so you can imagine that I have a few helicopter mothers, and a few students in the 8th grade who were pro's at playing the system--the Wiki has basically taken away their tried and true excuses. 95 percent of this class hve really embrased project based, differentiated learning-but for those few-who we all get occassionaly-Having clear well defined expectations, spelled out, due days AND RESSOURCES to help student meet target goals -has made a positive difference. Since I am following a teacher who thought that MS Office and FUNBRIAn were the only tools she needed- it has been a pleasure and challenge to get my kids thinking, and giving them experiences with so many of the web 2.0 tools. The wiki allows me to post the kids projects, they get to take pride in another means of publication, and the parents get to see on a daily basis what is happening in class. One of the helicoper mothers bounces in a couple of times a week to comment on all the "cool things" thekids are doing. I get to smile accept her thanks and go back to teaching. ( MY educator PBwiki is free and has no adds)

So count me in as a believer and user of new tools. Next semester I am going to set up an edublog site.
Sounds like such a logical solution, wonder why more teachers don't try it. Some work at the front end probably saves hours of headaches in the long run.
Hi Mara,
PBWIKI offers free wiki space for educators. My wiki webpage is sent home in the school newsletter, and since I post my instructional lessons on it -I use it in the classroom .The kids themselves know how to go to it. Every lesson I teach I run off paper copies of the assignment, then post the assignment on the wiki page. I also post the kids projects themselves and photo's of the work they are doing. This month the fourth graders virtual Lego designs are featured on the slide show, the 6th graders podcasts are linked their back to teacher tube, and the 7th graders sketch-up designs are uploaded as documents/The kids are so excited when their work is featured that they go home and show off to their parents..

I do have a few families without internet and those kids borrow my pen drives to take information back and forth
I also have open lab time Wednesdays at lunch time and Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. This give the students without internet time to work on classroom assignments.

I also write a column for the school newletter once a month and send home a newsletter at the end of each quarter. Luckily 90% of my parents have access to a compter either at work or at home.

Kelley
I was on a committee with our superintendent to discuss the future of schools and provide information to the school board to be included in our next 5 year plan. Last week we were discussing some of the issues and a science teacher from one of our large middle schools was concerned about the issue of equal access as our district becomes more diverse. He said he had assigned the review of literature for the big science project and 18 kids did absolutely nothing. He called them all to a meeting and of the 18 kids, sixteen had no internet access at home. Will districts have to step up and provide computers/connectivity to kids who don't have it? Hmmm?
I think access is becoming a real issue! I stay after school 4 days a week for an hour so that kids from school can use the computer lab!. I have betwenn 5-10 kids every day and this is at a private school!

Internet services can be down, or the printer at the chil'd house runs out of ink-or students need someone to help walk them through how to do the assignment.

My general feeling is that if the teacher assigns something they should provide the student with the resources to accomplish the assignment.

I provide a paper copy oif the assignment, email it to parents who request it , post the assignment on the wiki, and stay after school to allow students time to work on the assignment at school if needed.
Its good relationship between them
Google provides the ability to create a website that's completely free. I think it'd be great to do this and post assignments and announcements on the webpage. This way, parents could check it any time and they'd have no excuse that important things weren't communicated to them. Google also offers the ability to create blogs and by giving parents access, they could post things to it. Better yet, I say go with email and have them email you with minor things. Obviously, the super important things need to be discussed either over the phone or in a face to face meeting.
I also have 350+ students, this year has been especially hard because of the influenza absentees. I use engrade.com to keep in touch with them.

This online gradebook and course builder gives each student & parent a code, and THEY are responsible of staying up to date. I use this site a lot with. My students as a "file transfer" system and ALL of my activities are posted, so they are familiar with it and can easily use it at home.
It also allows them to private message me or post replies to my activities.
SinceI began using this, my parent-teacher meetings have greatly decreased.

Edu20.org is another great tool!

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