ISM has a very progressive, research based, student centered technological philosophy. Students are taught what responsible tech usage looks like and how to be mature digital citizens. As teachers we try and model best practices. Our Mission Statement asks stakeholders at ISM to interact through honest, respectful and open communication, and I think that definitely extends to digital communication as well. However, that doesn’t always mean we cannot improve upon what we do at the school.
At the beginning of the school year I sat down with three or four sets of new parents and expounded on the virtues of Google Calendar. I felt little bit like a used car salesmen after going through all the glittering aspects of it, expounding on its virtues without having really giving it a test run myself. Yet, those virtues are pretty darn tantalizing. Take a look at the video below if you are not familiar with Google Calendar
I guess I was as sold on it as everybody else. It seemed like a can’t miss educational tool specifically designed for parents of learning support kids. These are kids who don’t write their homework down, who forget the assignment who will lie and say they have nothing to do. Google Calendar if used correctly will give parents an opportunity to check to see what is due and when. Take a look at this screenshot from Ms. Patrikios’ Chemistry class, this a great example of what is great about google calendar:
Everything is right there for both parents and students to access. There shouldn’t be any confusion as to what to do.
What I didn’t take into account when I was giving my pitch to the parents was the human factor. Google Calendar only works as well as those who update it. The first email from a parent popped up in October and I’ve had five or six since then wondering if the school has stopped using google calendar. I was as frustrated as the parents.
Every class period I sit down with my Strategy Support Instruction students and we go through their calendars to see what is coming up. Some teachers are really good about updating google calendar. Others hardly update at all. For technology to be successful school wide everybody needs to be on board. It will not work if some use it and some don’t. It is difficult to get two hundred odd teachers to all buy in to a certain system. However, for a system like this to work it has to be all or none, no matter how onerous it might seem. I got back to our mission statement, we need to have open and honest communication to see if it is something we truly want to keep or we let go, much like the school did with its required blogs. What are your thoughts?