Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Engaging parents through Edmodo

Edmodo is a product that I have used a lot this year.  With continuing use of ICT I have noticed that the effects are often not what is expected.

The most recent effect is the re-engagement of parents in education. Parents have felt disengaged from education due to (I think) the closed door nature of classes.  Parents have expressed that they are afraid to teach their students as they do not know the correct way to present mathematics.  Often they can complete a problem but have difficulty with using the correct working.

Now, having marked a few teachers work, this is no real surprise as teachers use a wide variety of techniques to solve problems.  A method ok in year 8 is a big no no in year 9.  Balancing method in year nine is where I most often put my head in my hands as students often have no real connection made to BIMDAS(order of operations), nor to where a new line of working (formal algebraic notation) should be used.

Edmodo, by presenting board work online (such that parents can access it), is starting the process of re-engaging parents in high school education.  They can see what homework is set, what teaching method has been used and what the mark was on a test - such that they can help  a student revise/relearn/correct any practices that are not up to scratch.

It has also relieved pressure on teachers as comments like "You haven't taught my child that", or "I didn't know my student was doing poorly" are now not as potent - the information has been available all along.  It gives parents back a role in the teaching process as the primary carers (at least for the other 14 hours of the day) - something that has been lacking in recent years, especially where parental knowledge is not sufficiently great to understand the difficulty of engaging and teaching students.

Is it a pathway to parents again understanding that teaching is a real skill and that for the most part teachers are doing a reasonable job?

The counter side is that it will expose dodgy teaching techniques and (through increased scrutiny and transparency) open teachers to criticism.  The lack of use (as stated before in a previous post) may also expose a teacher at risk, as posting information online is often the first thing to go when available time is poor.

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