Our first ideas were to send home an information sheet explaining what we were hoping to do and also a chance to gauge where our parents saw themselves on the scale of ICT competence. We looked at knowledge ranging from google searching to blogs to educational tools like wordle. The last thing we wanted to know about were days and times that best suited our families. The response we got to the surveys was average with around half of both classes returning the notices.
From here the information we recieved it allowed us to move on and plan for the first sessions topics to happen on a day and time/s that suited our families. We found there was a clear split of families wanting to come straight after school and then again straight after work. So to allow for this we set up 2 sessions: 3.30-4.30 and then again 5-6pm. For each family we also emphasised that the students were to come to the sessions as we want them to be able to share and pass on the knowledge and skills they have. They are a key element in the sessions working successfully too. So the students sat with their parents and supported them throughout the session.
We sent out final forms again to notify the parents of the date/time and topics and we received 10 parents across the 2 classes who were keen to come - with another 2 who wanted to but were unavailable that night. We knew the numbers would be lower for the first ones and are relying on word of mouth to begin the upward trend to more parents.
We have called the sessions 'You Gotta Know To Understand'. A nice NZ musical reference there for those of you that know!
Our beginning topics were Google Searching and Wordle. Though quite a few of our parents said they felt confident in the basics of Google searching we knew that many of them did not understand further commands or ideas to use when searching - so this is where we focussed. We also looked at wordle as our classes had used it a bit and we felt this would be a nice, clear tool to hook parents in with. Both our beginning choices proved to be a successful place to start as parents gave us feedback such as 'I thought I knew Google searching but I didn't know all these other things!' A few parents were keen to take Wordle back to their workplaces and share their new learning also.
During the sessions we emphasised the idea that the sessions were for the parents and we wanted them to be driven by the parents. To help keep the connections up between the sessions we have set up a wiki that will allow the parents access to notes, how to's, tips and also a place to ask questions and set directions for future sessions. We gave the parents a quick intro session to the wiki and will continue to recap on using the wiki in each session. It was good to see that a few parents and students have already posted ideas to the wallwisher on the wiki.
- Our long term idea is that the sessions will be run by the students - but for our first ones we are providing clear models to the students on what the sessions could look like when they begin the teaching.
- To continue to build the audience each session.
- To continue to allow for the best availability of the sessions for parents.
- For the wiki to become more of a hub for the sessions and the parents continued learning.