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SMS – Connecting parents, students, and teachers

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Duration: 4:6

Michael Malins, Konini School principal, talks about the app they use within eTap to record children's progress and achievement challenges being met and engage parents and students in learning.

We wanted the data to be in front of the teacher, parents, and the students. We want to make sure that the experience and the interface for parents is as intuitive and parent-and-child centric as possible. When we looked at the best way to share children's progress, achievement challenges being met, to keep the learning alive in the parent's mind and student's mind, we originally wanted to keep it incredibly simple, and we saw this as an app that is encrypted within the student management system, that it is really a dual app for parents and kids.

Anyone can download the app, but you must have a secure login and password. We can share the videos of the child, or the child can upload the videos of themselves, or a piece of work that they want to share, they can send that directly to the parents. So we work from the mindset of assessment literate communities. This is explained during the three-way conference, this is explained with parent evenings, and there's information on the app itself to explain the learning progressions.

As a child develops through the literacy learning progressions they, on their app, will have the progressions of their child, and they can touch on that on a parent-speak, or child-speak, whichever we want, it will say, as a soundbite, what the child is currently learning. Go to the next one and it tells you what they'll be learning next. The ideal is that we will be able to load resources straight in there to show, and also lessons that can support you to teach your child.

The children obviously are engaged in their learning challenge. They understand their pathway. An important part of the digital pathway is also the visible learning pathway within the classrooms. We have the spaces set up very similar to how the app looks, and the children know their current progression, what that looks like, what that sounds like, because we assign QR codes for them to be able to go and hear what they're currently learning in a child's voice, and so a teacher can assign the learning intention through their SMS, and it all goes straight out to the parent. So this week we are working on this, this is what this looks like, here's some resources to support you at home. Obviously we've described a lot of movement from the teacher and the student in the classroom, to the parents via an app.

The parent's contribution back is incredibly important to an ongoing blog of learning. The parent is able to share back with the student and the teacher, that can be assigned to the blog. Our primary goal is to raise student achievement, and raising achievement is not about rote learning, it's not about passing a test - it's about capturing the whole person in that process. We can't do it without mum and dads. Mum and dads are hugely valuable in raising achievement, and I'd like to say that to raise achievement, you need to raise engagement.

What happens here, is pain points for kids are easily overcome, and all our parents, once they know how much we value their child, it's about easing the process and switching them on to learning.

Tags: Primary, Community engagement, SMS