With so many apps operating across device platforms, it is tough to tell what has grabbed the attention of the rapt user. And when users operate in different bailiwicks, it is even more difficult to discern. Such is the case in the technology realm of children and their parents. Hosting a technology night is one way for educators to ease parents’ apprehension around their students’ use of digital tools.
At Hopkinton Public Schools, the educational technology team hosts Google Night for Parents a couple of times a year. Most recently the event was targeted to parents of elementary school children who begin using Google Apps for Education in second grade. The goal was twofold: to teach participants the basics of Google Apps in a hands on workshop and to inform them about additional tools their students may access from home.
Just like our young students, parents came into the session with variety of skills. Unlike our students, however, parents came to us with a variety of life experiences and technology wisdom. While many participants had used productivity tools to accomplish tasks in their workplaces, they had limited know-how with Google products. The combination of their children using unfamiliar digital tools to navigate unfamiliar educational workflows made some feel they were unable to help students with their homework despite their own technological prowess.
Often times students do just fine navigating the tools they use at school and are happy to help their parents.
Once parents had a chance to try GMail, Calendar, Drive, and Docs for themselves they could see how the collaborative features of the products would transfer to student learning as well as facilitate communication between family, friends, and activities. And after an overview of Google Classroom, they had a better understanding of how teachers help manage student workflow. For those left wanting more, the team will host an intermediate Google for Parents workshop in February.
By: Steph Doty
Technology Integration Coordinator
@HopkinsTechLib / @BlendedTeaching
Cross-posted to hpsdigital.org