Early during the 2010-2011 school year, my Principals Advisory Council came up with the idea to engage parents and community members by teaching technology classes once a month. We were cognizant of a potential gap that was occurring in terms of technology tools our students use, we use, and our parents use. If we were having difficulty keeping up, we figured our students’ parents and community members were too.
As we were planning what “Community University” would look like, I read a blog post written by Burlington High School Principal, Patrick Larkin, about the technology classes his school offered to parents. I knew we were on to something! To decide which classes to offer, I surveyed the staff to find out what classes they would be willing to teach and from there, created a schedule and class description for parents. The next step was to inform parents and make it happen!
We launched Community University in October, 2011 with a Facebook 101 class and it was a hit! Our orchestra teacher along with our district Chief Communications Officer facilitated the class for about two dozen parents. Parents were very appreciative of our efforts and left excited about the new information they learned. We saw it as opportunity for them to engage their students in a conversation about digital citizenship as well.
Community University classes are offered the first Monday of each month for an hour. We now offer two classes each month and since October, we have held a resume writing class, understanding Google Docs class, Facebook 102, and a telescope class, which was faciltated by students. Some of the future classes are as follows: How to use your Smartphone, What is Digital Citizenship?, Twitter 101, Enhance Your Power Point Presentations, Understanding Movie Maker, iPad 101, and Understanding Prezi.
Each class is facilitated by a GLHS staff member who volunteers their time to connect with and engage our community. I encourage you to offer technology classes for your community as well. We see it as an opportunity to increase parents’ and community members’ confidence in using the technological tools that are increasingly becoming a part of our world.
This is cross-posted on Connected Principals.com