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Engaging through technologies

Technologies can be used to support and facilitate deeper engagement with parents, whānau, and the school community.

There has been recognition of the importance of reciprocal two-way communication to enhance the understanding of student backgrounds and learning needs; to consult with parents, whānau, and communities on school priorities; and to engage in collaborative goal setting.

Mutch, C. and Collins, S. (2012). Partners in learning: Schools’ engagement with parents, families, and communities in New Zealand. School Community Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1

Building communication with parents and whānau

Digital technologies can be used for:

  • building two way communication
  • increasing parent engagement in student learning.

Hillcrest Normal School teacher, Michelle Macintyre shares how technology has enabled parents to be involved in different ways with students' learning. She explains, at their classroom learning celebrations they have been engaging parents with technology in practical ways. Creating videos of learning experiences facilitates discussion between students and parents, particularly for English as a second language families. The class blog has become a portal for parents to interact with. It's become an e-portfolio where student progress is shared.

Using text and email to inform parents

Early notification
Early Notification is a text (and email) messaging service that allows schools to customise messages to groups of parents/caregivers to quickly inform them of the unexplained absence of their child/children. It also provides a return path to the school's register to update the reasons for a student’s absence.

Curbing bad behaviour through texts
Vardon Primary School principal, Marcus Freke, talks about a drop in bad behaviour from students following the introduction of a new text messaging system with parents on TVNZ's Breakfast .

Text to notify absence – interview with June Clark
In this clip from the I-Connect Cluster in the Virtual Learning Network (VLN), Karamu High School share how they have been engaging with their wider community via the web, LMS, and mobile technologies to inform parents of attendance and learning events. You must be logged into the VLN to view this video clip. 

Key resource

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau (November 2015)

Useful examples of practice are described in this report from ERO and the Ministry of Education.

More information »

Watch these schools stories to find out how different tools are used successfully to engage whānau and the wider community, and the benefits this provides.

Online resources supporting te reo and tikanga Māori

Online resources supporting te reo and tikanga Māori

Te Kura o Tiori Burnham School principal, Rob Clarke talks about setting up Taha Māori @ Te Kura o Tiori as part of their school website. 

e-Portfolios in the classroom

e-Portfolios in the classroom

Associate Principal and Senior Team Leader at Te Kura o Tiori Burnham School, Linda Sweeny, explains the process for setting up Blogger for students to use as an e-Portfolio. 

e-Portfolios - the benefits for student learning

e-Portfolios – the benefits for student learning

Deputy Principal Miranda Makin explains the benefits of using e-portfolios for students participating in the Impact Projects .

Sharing learning using the class blog and e-portfolios

Sharing learning using the class blog and e-portfolios

Teacher, Jacqui Innes from Russell Street School describes how students individual e-portfolios and the class blog serve different purposes but work in conjunction with each other. 

Using e-portfolios to record the learning process

Using e-portfolios to record the learning process

Russell Street School teacher, Jacqui Innes, describes the process and benefits of planning explicitly for what students will share on their e-portfolios.

Te Kura o Kutarere

Connecting with the community

Principal, Dave McShane, teacher Susan Lee, and kaumatua from Te Kura o Kutarere discuss how technologies have helped to engage the local community to support and share students learning.

Connecting teachers, students, and family

Connecting teachers, students, and family

Students and teachers talk about how they share their work, the ease with which they can do it, and the different tools they use.

Home–school partnerships

Home–school partnerships

Finlayson Park school has set up a computer lab and fund a teacher aide to provide teaching on how to use computers and the Internet for parents. 

Study centre

Study centre

Finlayson Park School work with the philosophy of doing more for many with less. They have set up a free after school study centre for students to allow them access to computers and the Internet as many families don't have Internet access from home. 

e-Competencies in action at the KidsCan Film Festival

e-Competencies in action at the KidsCan Film Festival

At the KidsCan film festival in Nelson 70 students were put together for three days to create films. Kellie McRoberts describes students' development of e-competencies within this project. 

Using technologies to connect with the community

Using technologies to connect with the community

Principal Jane Danielson explains the different applications they are using to connect with their community. 

Using e-portfolios to share students learning

Using e-portfolios to share students' learning

Rob Clarke principal of Burnham School describes the benefits of using e-portfolios in the school community to connect with parents.

Engaging your school community using technologies

Engaging your school community using technologies

Rob Clarke, principal of Burnham School, explains the importance of face-to-face meetings in terms of successful whānau and community engagement with e-learning tools.

Sharing a mihi

Sharing a mihi

Students at Burnham School found the process of creating and sharing a mihi, which involved engaging with their families and the community to research into their past and using technology to share that with their parents/whānau for feedback, was valuable.

Using Ustream to share assemblies

Using Ustream to share assemblies

James Rea, DP at Russell Street School, shares how they are using Ustream to live stream their school assemblies.

Using blogs to communicate with the school community

Using blogs to communicate with the school community

James Rea, DP at Russell Street School, shares how students are using their library blog to post book reviews and character profiles.

Maximising technology to support learning between home and school

Maximising technology to support learning between home and school

Technology enables access to the Internet and removes communication barriers for Wadestown School student, Renée Patete.

Stop motion animation to promote literacy

Stop motion animation to promote literacy

Sue Martin uses stop motion animation with her students to promote narrative skills, particularly sequencing and retelling. 

Improving written and oral language with multimedia

Improving written and oral language with multimedia

Sally McDougall and her students explain their process for writing book reviews and creating QR codes to share them with the wider community.

Engaging parents in learning through technology

Engaging parents in learning through technology

Hillcrest Normal School teacher, Michelle Macintyre shares how technology has enabled parents to be involved in different ways with students' learning.

Using mobile devices to improve communication

Using mobile devices to improve communication

Parents from Holy Cross School explain how they are able to connect easily with the school, using mobile devices and different forms of digital media.

Mobile devices at home

Mobile devices at home

Holy Cross School student, Coretti and her mother, Fiona Tuffs, discuss how using a mobile device makes access to schoolwork easier. Corretti explains how the iPad is changing the way she learns. 

Parent technology sessions

Parent technology sessions

Holy Cross School principal, Kathy Moy-Low explains how they consulted with and engaged the parent community in e-learning. Parents explain why they attend the after school parent technology sessions. 

Introducing digital technologies to the community through student voice

Introducing digital technologies to the community through student voice

Staff and students of Ruawai Primary School used student voice to share with their parent community the ways in which digital technologies are used to support learning, and to share what students are learning with their families.

Bringing the classroom to the community

Bringing the classroom to the community

Staff at Mahurangi Christian School discuss how the school connects the classroom to the community through digital technologies.

Using the eLPF to inform strategic planning at Waerenga o Kuri

Using the eLPF to inform strategic planning at Waerenga o Kuri

Principal, Richard McCosh explains how they used the e-Learning Planning Framework to identify strengths and areas needing development within their school.

Developing a framework to support Māori achieving success as Māori

Developing a framework to support Māori achieving success as Māori

The board of trustees, parent community, and school leadership team at Waerenga O Kuri School explain the collaborative process they used for developing their Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM) framework.

A student’s perspective of inclusive education

Inclusion

Waerenga o Kuri student, Herepo Wynyard talks about how the involvement of her whānau both online (through her e-portfolio), and face-to-face at school has encouraged success with her learning goals.

Benefits of the MASAM framework for the school community

MASAM framework

Motu School community share their perspectives on the partnership that has been built based on the Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM) framework they developed together.

Seamless learning facilitated by BYOD

Seamless learning facilitated by BYOD

Connor Fitzgerald-Mansell, a student from Hillcrest High School, describes the benefits of bringing his own laptop to school.

Connecting with ICTs

Connecting with ICTs

e-Learning teacher Mervyn Cook and student Connor Fitzgerald-Mansell, from Hillcrest High School, discuss the benefits of being able to connect via ICTs during outside of scheduled class time.

Māori achieving success as Māori – setting up a framework

Māori achieving success as Māori – setting up a framework

Motu School principal, Paul Cornwall explains the process they went through to setup a framework for Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM).

Parents engaging in student learning

Parents engaging in student learning

Motu School community talk about the positives of parents engaging in their children's learning.

Creating MASAM – Collaborating with the community

Creating MASAM – Collaborating with the community

Parents, BOT, and teachers from Motu School discuss their collaboration around whanaungatanga to create their Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM framework).

BYOD – Information and support for parents

BYOD – Information and support for parents

Teacher and e-learning leader, Kate Friedwald explains the information provided for parents at Wairakei School to introduce a BYOD trial for Year 5/6 students in 2014.

Setting up BYOD in the classroom at Wairakei School

Setting up BYOD in the classroom at Wairakei School

Kate Friedwald describes step-by-step the process she went through from researching BYOD to setting up a classroom learning programme using BYOD at Wairakei School.

Outcomes from the BYOD pilot at Wairakei School: Parents reflect

Outcomes from the BYOD pilot at Wairakei School: Parents reflect

Parents from Wairakei School describe the benefits that being in a BYOD class has had for their children.

Improving student writing using blogs

Improving student writing using blogs

Wairakei School teacher and her student explain why blogging encourages students to produce better quality work because it is being seen and commented on by an authentic audience.

Building connections with parents and whānau

Building connections with parents and whānau

Wairakei School principal Shane Buckner explains the benefits of using digital technologies to build connections with parents and whānau.

Māori succeeding as Māori

Māori succeeding as Māori

Chris Luke, teacher at Coastal Taranaki School, talks about the Te Ika Unahi Nui initiative, using digital technologies, and the benefits this has had for Māori students.

Strengthening Māori identity, language, and culture

Strengthening Māori identity, language, and culture

Students and parents from Coastal Taranaki School talk about the difference marae-based learning has made to their engagement, motivation, and confidence.

Marae-based learning Puniho Pā

Marae-based learning Puniho Pā

Coastal Taranaki School teacher, Chris Luke explains how he connects students' learning at the marae with the learning in the classroom.

Teaching and learning with Māori tradition and modern technology

Teaching and learning with Māori tradition and modern technology

Te Ika Unahi Nui is a wānanga (learning) partnership between Tarawainuku marae, Coastal Taranaki School, and the local community.

Planning the new build, a school and community partnership

Planning the new build, a school and community partnership

Halswell School principal, Bruce Topham explains key steps in planning and building an innovative learning environment that is part of the community.

Connecting with the community through social media

Connecting with the community through social media

Rosin Lamb, Communications Manager at Pakuranga College, explains how they use social media to connect with the community.

Sharing student learning

Sharing student learning

Staff and students from Apiti School discuss the benefits of using e-portfolios to share student learning with parents and the community. 

Connecting learning and the community

Connecting learning and the community

Teacher, Nicki Fielder and students from Apiti School explain the different social media tools they use to connect with parents and the wider community.

The Katote cluster – working together

The Katote cluster – working together

Graeme Barber, Principal at Woodend School, discusses the ways in which the Katote cluster works together to create a seamless transition for students moving from primary to secondary school.

Engaging with parents

Engaging with parents

Parents from Hampden Street School share how the school’s open door approach gave them confidence that their children’s learning needs were being met in an innovative learning environment.

BYOD – Consulting with your community

BYOD – Consulting with your community

Pakuranga College deputy principal, Billy Merchant explains their ongoing community consultation process, which includes how and why students devices, and digital citizenship. 

SMS – Connecting parents, students, and teachers

SMS – Connecting parents, students, and teachers

Michael Malins, principal at Konini School, talks about the app they use within the student management system to record, "children's progress... to keep the learning alive in the parent's mind and student's mind".

Learning partnerships with parents

Learning partnerships with parents

Parents of Hampden Street School students explain how blogging and e-portfolios help them stay connected with their children's learning.

Making horizontal connections through a Make Club

Making horizontal connections through a Make Club

Teachers and students from Taupaki School talk about how their Make Club helped to connect their school with whānau and technology experts.

The Leamington learner

The Leamington learner

The Leamington Learner concept, or dispositions, is the school’s strategic focus and foundation for enhanced achievement. Owned by the school community, technological capability is an integral component.

Community consultation on the iPad initiative

Community consultation on the iPad Initiative

Parents of students at Leamington School explain how the school prepared parents and the wider community for BYOD implementation.

Children Skyping

Making connections globally

Teacher at Newmarket school, Virginia Kung, talks about how they have made connections with people across the world through Twitter and Skype.

Children using iPads

Home school partnerships

Teacher, Reubina Irshad, explains how they create home school partnerships by helping parents to support their child’s learning at home.

Whanaungatanga

Whanaungatanga

Newmarket School teacher, Reubina Irshad talks about how they connected with whānau during their Matariki celebrations.

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Key resource

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau (November 2015)

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau (November 2015)

The Education Review Office (ERO) evaluated how well 256 schools worked with parents and whānau to respond to students at risk of underachievement. Of particular interest is the Focus on the use of technology in the Findings section, which gives examples of schools working with parents and whānau to accelerate and support progress and improve achievement using technologies.

Educationally powerful connections summary

Educationally powerful connections summary

A two-page PDF summary of the Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau report. This includes key findings, quotes from students, parents, teachers, and leaders, and an inquiry framework that teachers and leaders may find useful when thinking about how to improve learning partnerships with the parents and whānau of students who are not achieving.

Education for Māori: Relationships between schools and whānau

This report brings together information about relationships between families and schools. It gives examples of practices that build effective relationships and highlights the importance for Māori to know who the people behind the school gate are, as well as what those people do. Whānau, primary, and secondary schools were surveyed to find out what they thought about their relationships.
Author: Report for the controller and auditor-general Tumuaki o te Mana Aratoke
Published: 2015

Partners in learning: Schools’ engagement with parents, families, and communities in New Zealand

The Education Review Office (ERO) conducted an external evaluation in over two hundred New Zealand schools to find out more about the engagement
between schools and the parents and whānau (families and extended families) of their students. This paper provides some historical background and
key findings from the relevant literature before expanding on the six key factors which the evaluation found were critical to enhancing and strengthening this engagement: leadership, relationships, school culture, partnerships, community networks, and communication. The paper concludes with recommendations for ways in which all parties can strengthen this vital relationship.
Authors: Mutch, C. and Collins, S.
Published: 2012

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