Every year I do a workshop/presentation to parents on living in a digital home with tech savvy children. The first year was a sell out and what I took away from it was that I needed to give parents more time to speak and share stories and strategies. The second year I planned for just that and…3 parents showed up. We still had a good conversation but we were very disappointed.
This year we publicized our workshop well in advance, put the poster up on our classroom blogs, and on our campus TV. We also sent, I believe, 2 email reminders to all parents. This year about 12 showed up. Both my principal and I were disappointed but it went very well and the parents that showed up were very appreciative.
So in the run up to the presentation I shared my vision with our principal that the majority of the workshop would be led by parents and she agreed. I would organize the presentation around CommonSense Media’s 10 Rules Of The Road For Parents In A Digital Age. For each rule, each table of parents would discuss amongst themselves and then we would open it up to the floor.
Here’s my Google Presentation I used to guide our workshop:
Because we didn’t get the numbers we wanted we just had an open discussion after each point and that worked well.
I wanted the parents to be provoked and to react to each prompt. I didn’t want arguments. It would be a total failure if there was ONE argument.
I started off with the two quotes; one from The Shawshank Redemption because it resonated with how the world has changed in a hurry and some parents/adults are struggling to keep up and to stay informed. I added Louis C.K’s quote because he’s awesome and even though he’s saying it to make people laugh it’s got something to it. Why do children (and adults!) act differently online than face to face?
Just this week I had a Grade 5 incident where digital communication between two Grade 5 students was blown out of proportion and misunderstood and warped by the online media they were using. This was all done at home. What we are trying to get through to the parents is that school is the most monitored and moderated place when it comes to their child’s interaction with technology. We can learn together, we can monitor behavior, and we can moderate the exposure. This needs to be mirrored at home.