Today’s Contributor: Beatriz Gutierrez, bilingual teacher and CIC at Dobie Pre-K Center
To increase preschool parents’ participation and use of technology, I started by asking parents to download a QR Reader app in their cell phones. I used to send printed weekly letters home, which included a QR code with a link to an educational video. It was my hope to promote children’s use of educational videos in their parents’ cell phones, and at the same time, reduce time spent on games without educational content. Most parents were not used to QR codes and found some difficulty. I would usually know through the children if their parents had used the codes the next day after I had sent the letters.
I moved to Seesaw from the printed letters with QR codes a month later and found that parents really like it. They love to see action pictures of their children during diverse school activities and their children’s work directly on their cell phones. Seesaw has also proven to be economically beneficial, since the weekly letter was replaced by Seesaw announcements, and the QR codes by links sent through this app. Many parents use Seesaw messaging as well to communicate with the teacher.
Early Childhood Parents also have access to ReadyRosie through the AISD Early Childhood Department. ReadyRosie is a program that sends parents weekly video clips with ideas to have teachable moments with their children. This is an excellent program, but it is not as popular as we wish for. Only about 30% of the class parents open the video clips.
We created a Symbaloo page for our school. This has been very useful, since we have the links to the webpages students use in one site. To facilitate access to Symbaloo, I set it so that it starts when I open the browser in each student computer. I shared instructions to all teachers so that they can do the same.
Children are just learning the alphabet, so in our school BLEND is mainly for adults to use. I used my BLEND during our Hour of Code. I had the BLEND instructions and guided exercises on the screen while students used concrete objects to learn basic coding. Students had to help a Clifford puppet eat his fruit. A student placed the fruit in a grid and had another student use arrows for each step Clifford needed to take to achieve his goal. In Pre-K, gaming is learning. The more they play, the more they learn. 🙂