It’s easy to see parents as “just” parents. They bring their kids to school, you let them know how their child is getting on, and that’s maybe as far as it goes. But it’s worth remembering that parents are also people in their own right, with interests and jobs that may be useful in terms of giving your pupils a real-world focus for computing and ICT.
It's better to involve parents as well
- A parent who works as a programmer could, perhaps, give the pupils a talk about their work, or about how they approach a problem.
- A teacher told me recently that one parent, who was a programmer, told him that they were teaching programming concepts incorrectly – and ran a few INSET sessions with the department to explain how it should be taught, from the perspective of how it is applied in the real world.
- A parent who works in a company which produces or sells video games, 3D designs or some other creative field could provide some insight into how non-programmers fit into the mix. (Something that is not often made clear is that such companies need people like graphic designers, marketing people and even psychologists.)
- A parent might be able to help you arrange an exclusive visit – if not for your pupils, perhaps for you and one or two colleagues – to enable you to see how technology is used in practice.
- A parent may be able to arrange for a group of her colleagues to run a scenario day for pupils, to cover problem-solving, say, or “computational thinking”.
- And a parent may even be able to get you access to in-house materials such as videos to demonstrate certain concepts.
Of course, it may be that none of the parents is in a position to assist in any way, but it’s worth finding out if they can. It’s well-recognised these days that parental engagement is crucial. In an area like computing and ICT, parental engagement can benefit everybody.
cross-posted on www.ictineducation.org
Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Computers in Classrooms."