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Given the reality of almost free and virtually instant connections between any two persons with access to the World Wide Web–and a shared understanding of how to “connect”– teachers can also organize student’s moving forward in their learning as a collaborative effort.
Considering the multiple possibilities for interaction can be overwhelming — but teachers, parents, and students are encouraged to brainstorm opportunities to make meaningful connections both during and outside of class and just begin somewhere! Doing one thing well is much more effective than understanding a hundred things and doing nothing!
Some examples that have worked in my experience:
- College students can mentor middle school students
- Grandparents can encourage and provide constructive feedback to elementary aged children
- Experts on any topic can visit a classroom learning about that subject via Google Hangout or Skype
- Parents can tap into what is actually happening in their children’s learning environments to prompt broader conversations around the dinner table, encourage students to recall and rehearse new learning, and foster personal connections to the learning.
For those new to the opportunities of online connection, there may be some useful resources in this TIES Presentation on School to Parent Communication by Dr. Roxanne Pickle and myself. There is a special emphasis in materials here on meeting the needs of exceptional students as well.
What do you do or plan to do in the future?
Graduate student Rob Mathis created a set of tutorials for his EDUC 642 Service Learning project to help parents set up their home wifi to protect children. Click here to go to his wiki where you can watch three tutorials at home and set up your server to work under parameters with which you are comfortable. This might include precluding access to certain web content or controlling the hours that certain networks are available to your children’s devices.