Thursday, June 11, 2015

Teacher websites are so 2010... and what to do about it

I am working with teachers this week on technology integration. I am seeing a real determination to find productive ways to integrate technology and subject matter (TPCK anyone?). Speaking yesterday during our summary I said "Websites are so 2010", as some are working on a website this may have come off wrong BUT I do stand behind my main point. Businesses have already realized it, teachers and schools are still trying to come to grips with it. Having a website is not enough. To be in contact with our students and families, we have to shift from static web pages to interacting  using social media, texting, and email to reach everyone. This way new content whether analog or digital can reach its target audience.

I can see the justified reaction: Teachers are asked to do more than ever and here is one more thing... and: We might get in trouble...

I believe that this are true concerns. On the other hand:
A good communication plan will make sure that parents and students have the most up to date information increasing the rate of homework completion, assessment success, participation in parent conferences and many more activities that require the collaboration of parents and families. Our hardest to reach families may become much more available and attentive if we use communication channels they use anyway. The potential benefits outweigh the risks and costs.

In short, I believe that the days of sending notes home on paper are numbered. For now we probably should still have them as a backup to ensure equity of access, but I am convinced that the rate of engagement would grow significantly with digital, especially, social channels. Districts (and teacher education programs) should help teachers by providing tools, training, and guidelines that would encourage contact while protecting all stakeholders.

P.S. Can we do away with paper planners for students?

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