Friday, 1 February 2013

Getting the parents on board?

This week we started teaching our parents how to use the iPad/Tablet.

The main point of our roll-out is that parents need to be partners in this project.

Firstly, they have all the usual parental decisions to make. How long can the child use the Tablet at home, what restrictions need to be used, can the child add or delete apps?

All these thing are up to the parents to discuss and negotiate with the child about. As teachers we cannot make these decisions for the parent, we give advice, train to use and help with software and hardware issues but we do not decide how the PERSONAL device is used.

Secondly, they should know how to use the devices themselves. The training this week focussed on setting up an iTunes account and setting restrictions on the iPad, later we will do the same on Android and Slate devices.

Finally, they need to allow the child to 'run' the device as their own. After discussing options we suggested each parent set's up one 'paying' iTunes/Play account that they run (and attach their payment details to!), in order to download paid apps and also one account for each child (set up in the parents name due to the 18 year age restriction, we can't allow lying now, can we?) to use for free apps that they will then update, control and, probably most importantly, access the iCloud with.

I learnt a lot too. Often parents are left behind or out of the technological revolution happening in education. They need to be involved and they need to be 'baby-stepped' through it. A teacher cannot assume that the parents can just up and run with the devices we are asking them to buy. As a school we need to be aware that parents often see technology from a different point of view. For them the important thing is the safety of their child, both literally in a security sense and on-line in the virtual sense. The first question we need to answer was regarding how safe our school cyber filter is. Luckily ours is pretty good!

We then need to let the parents understand that we all need to start some where, and that it's OK to ask question without feeling ignorant or embarrassed. Once this barrier is passed the training proceeds much more fluently.

The next step is to get our parents to have a device on their own and not just borrow the one they bought for the child.... steps!