This past Tuesday evening, nearly 40 Year 7 parents and 9 teachers participated in a presentation and discussion event that we hosted in the library about the role of technology at school and its impact on family life, with particular reference to the current iPad pilot.
I started by recapping the journey so far, giving examples of how use of the device is meeting our stated aims of ‘preparing students for a society permeated with Technology’ and of ‘extending and enriching learning across the curriculum.’ I also explained the rules in place at school and highlighted evolving teaching approaches that reflect the key 21st Century skills we aim to develop in students.
My colleague, Jacqui, Director of Teaching and Learning Resources, then addressed issues around the challenge shared by all parents of teenagers in achieving a comfortable balance of independence, self-regulation and responsibility, and how technology access is different yet similar to other areas that require parent mediation of teen life.
After each of the two presentations, parents split into small discussion groups ‘manned’ by my tech reps as well as the Head and Assistant Head of Year 7, to share openly and frankly what is working as well as strategising areas for development.
Finally, I explained how the Parental Controls settings of the iPad could be a starter for discussion with children at home.
I am looking forward to reading the notes from the discussion groups…my initial impression of the evening was that, whatever reservations/fears parents may have, they welcome our efforts in advancing their children’s learning through technology, and that they appreciate our willingness to raise uncomfortable issues, as well as giving parents the opportunity to share with other parents strategies they can take away….