What Did You Learn In School Today?
Clearly, these were not the answers she hoped to obtain, as they gave her no insight into my activities during the school day that could possibly yield any meaningful dialogue. And she could forget learning anything about my schoolwork or studies that would empower her to assist me with areas in which I struggled with activities at home.
In my school days, parents were left with little recourse other than to continue to question … or interrogate … as their children continued to stonewall and avoid giving up any information about what happened during their school day.
Today’s learners are still giving these classic responses to their parents and guardians. The difference is that, today, technology offers us an opportunity to break down the barrier between school and home when it comes to this topic.
Our challenge is how to leverage technology to provide parents and guardians better access to what we are teaching – and what their children are learning.
How much longer will it take for all learners, K-12, to have a learning plan that provides a clear roadmap for success? Further, how much longer will it take for us to provide parents/guardians a way to engage with this plan as true partners who can not only see where their children are now, but where they might go – or need or want to go – next.
You see this today at the secondary school level with the ability for parents/guardians to monitor grades online. However, what if they could access the same learning map that their children use throughout each day? What if, upon entry at home, a parent could immediately talk about and support his child’s work in science class? What if they also had access to resources to assist their child?
Leveraging technology to empower parents/guardians requires two things:
- Creation of Learning Progression and Learning Maps – A Learning Progression illustrates the learning experience over a student’s 13-year progression in a school district. A Learning Map clearly articulates what a learner has to know and be able to do, provide links to resources, and provide projects/activities to demonstrate mastery.
- Access to ePortfolios – A simple interface that enables access to anyone with a password to a learner’s journey and the learning maps (often called a learning management system).
We must create ways for parents/guardians to engage with their children in the learning process, and we must provide parents/guardians access to information that empowers them to support their learners from start to finish along this 13-year journey we call school. Learning Maps and ePortfolios are a start.
Imagine the power of parents/guardians being able to know watch closely and support their child’s learning … to become true partners in the learning experience.
The days of “What Did You Learn Today” being a big mystery must come to an end. You can track your child via GPS … why can’t you do the same with her 4th grade studies?