Preparing your Learning Platform for Parental Engagement
As promised I would like to spend this week talking about all things Parent and in particular the use of learning environments in Parental Engagement. Twynham School has spent 18 months working on a Parent Gateway and carefully rolling out a process to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our parents. Our work on parental engagement started in October 2007 when we first thought about involving our Parents in the Gateway we had created. Our first and most important task was to meet with parents to find out what they would use the Gateway for. Remember this is the same process we used with students and it is always essential to start any development with the end user first. Here is what our Parent Gateway home page looks like.
We have started with a fairly simplistic interface at the beginning and plan to gradually grow functionality in the next 18 months. The key is to start with core information which is useful to the majority of parents. For our Parents Focus Group newsletters, school visits and extra curricular information were the most pressing needs.
When this was completed we needed to think about setting up and testing the environment with a small group of parents. Because we planned to share data about students to their parents we started our test with members of staff who had children in the school. This allowed us to ensure that the right data was being pulled through to the correct parents before rolling out to ‘external’ parents. After 2 months of testing we then rolled out to our 50 mentoring group parents last January. We now have over 600 parents who have signed up to the Parent Gateway and will have all parents online by this September.