I’m breaking my own rule about writing anything specific about my job, but my experience with a particular set of parents is worth telling. Recently, my curriculum director thought it would be good to hold a set of classes that would offer an introduction to computer skills. Although my friends ask me to all the time, I’ve never taught computer skills to parents, only to teachers. It turns out that there was such an enthusiastic response from our parent community that we had a waiting list. Anyway…I’m working with around 15 parents for an hour each week for five weeks. Here’s my digital handout. They are a wonderful and enthusiastic bunch of learners! If their own children are as engaged in the learning process, I’m sure they are straight A students. Here’s what makes them so cool:
- They all want to know about blogging. At least a couple of the moms want to start a blog. (Along with showing them what the kids are into, let’s sign them up for a blogger account!)
- One parent to another. “Just go on YouTube…it’s the greatest thing. Look up what ever you want. I like the laughing babies!” (Little do they know how pervasive YouTube is. According to David Jakes, it’s the number one thing that people spend time on the internet looking at – videos. With 78 billion videos, there are a lot of laughing babies. Let’s show them other good quality content.)
- Opened gmail accounts. We had a long discussion about their children’s email accounts. How awesome for parents to sign their kids up for email accounts so they can communicate with family and friends. (I hope we have time to work on google docs – wouldn’t that be a good thing?)
- The are very collaborative. When I’m going to fast, they jump up and help their neighbor. They ask each other questions and get input about how technology is used in their home. (Perfect for a social network.)
- They see the value in the skills. What ever I show them something – they can think of scenarios of how they can use this or that piece of knowledge or information.
- They practice when they get home. They even bring questions back to class. So cool!
I wish this class lasted longer that 5 weeks. Maybe at the beginning of next school year, I’ll drag them all back for “Parent Computer Class Revisited”. Maybe I’ll invite them to the teachers’ technology professional development days. Their enthusiasm might be contagious.