Wednesday, October 27, 2010

K-12 Online: Not just for Teachers!

It's that time of year again ... K-12 Online conference is in full swing! As I've pointed out on numerous occasions -- I am not a teacher -- nor do I harbour some unfulfilled desire to be a teacher. So the obvious question would be .. Why, as a plain old parent, would I care about K-12 Online? I've only scratched the surface of this years offerings .. but already I have a few "must sees" for parents....

Lorna Constantini's presentation Digital Parent Engagement: Supporting Student Learning is an obvious place to start. There are lots of great ideas to take back to administration or your child's teacher on how to enhance communication with parents. One service, Volunteerspot, looks especially interesting. I'd highly recommend it for viewing at your next Parent Council meeting .. I'm sure it will generate lot's of discussion.

Your child comes to you wanting help downloading pictures for their Science Report. You head to a few websites but you are just not sure what is legal to download and what isn't. This wonderful presentation by Karen Blumberg is a great primer on how to find Creative Commons licensed material AND how to use it properly. The need for resources like that isn't just limited to kids Science Reports ... community posters, websites, and even Dad's work presentation may benefit from this primer.

My daughter has saved and saved and saved and finally was able to buy an iPod Touch. Tony Vincent's presentation on Learning in Hand was perfect for us! Now I have to admit that my eyes glazed over slightly on the rubric section (see I told you I wasn't a teacher) but I was captivated by what students (aka my kids) could produce with a few simple apps. In fact my 5yo and I jumped right in before the older kids even got home from school. I'm sure there was a whole lot of learning going on --- but mainly it was just fun! I can't wait to see what my older children will do with these apps on Vacations, Christmas, fieldtrips and other family events.

I'll be chatting about Dean Shareski's Keynote with my fellow parents because sharing isn't just The Moral Imperative for teachers. As parents, community service members, coaches, 4-H leaders, Den Mothers etc. we would all be better off (as would our young charges) if we shared our successes and failures, ideas and resources. One small conversation, one tiny idea, can become huge when we give it wings and release it out into the world.

I'm looking forward to exploring K-12 online even further. Looks like there is even more information on Creative Commons materials, GPS and Geocaching (great for birthday parties), Tips on Using Skype and doesn't everyone want to Plan Less and Do More? Fellow parents .. I'd encourage you to watch a few of these presentations .... maybe even invite a teacher. Teachers .. why not invite parents to your LAN viewing parties?

After all -- we both have kids (aka students) that occupy a large part of our lives.

Image: k12badge, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from dkuropatwa's photostream

Image: K12Online LAN Party in Bangkok, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from superkimbo's photostream