St. Vrain Offering Online Course on Technology to 6th-grade Families
Family Conversations: Technology at Home and at School course
To sign up, go to schoology.com and login with your credentials. In the upper left corner under the “Courses” tab, select “join” and enter course code JFJBF-M6D56.
For help, contact your school.
Starting next week, St. Vrain Valley’s sixth-grade families can take an online course the covers technology use at home and school.
The district is releasing one 60- to 90-minute unit a week for four weeks, with the goal of helping parents and students with the one-to-one iPad initiative that starts in sixth grade.
“One of the things we’re working on this year is trying to strengthen that partnership between school and home,” said Michelle Bourgeois, St. Vrain’s director of learning technology. “Parents can learn more about what it looks like in a one-to-one space and how they can support students at home.”
The neighboring Boulder Valley School District also is offering parent technology education opportunities this school year.
Boulder Valley expanded its one-to-web program this fall, giving Chromebooks to all its incoming sixth-graders. All but two of the district’s high schools also participate in the program.
The district put together resources for schools to offer classes to parents , with a different theme each month.
In St. Vrain Valley, Bourgeois said, the online parent classes are an addition to in-person parent education opportunities offered at schools. The district also offers a monthly technology newsletter to parents.
“It’s a continual effort of what we can do to engage with families,” she said.
Along with working better for busy parents who can’t make in-person meetings, she said, the online course gives parents firsthand experience.
“It’s modeling what it feels like for a student to use those technology tools,” she said.
So far, she said, about 70 parents have signed up to participate in the new online offering.
The course will cover creating a family technology plan, such as where devices kept overnight, and discussions about parenting in a digital age, including helping students develop positive behaviors and habits.
“It’s tips and strategies and conversation points,” Bourgeois said. “We want it to become a family conversation.”
Participants also will receive a copy of “Screenwise,” a book by Devorah Heitner. Heitner is helping facilitate the discussion forum at the end of the course and partnered with the district in designing the content.
“We’re hoping that parents feel more informed and more able to support the values and practices they want to have as part of their home life,” Bourgeois said. “We don’t want this to feel like we’re doing this to them, but that we’re partnering with them.”
Riki Frea, a parent of an eighth-grader at Altona Middle School, is one of several parents who gave feedback to the district about the course. She also recorded an introduction video for one of the segments.
“It’s just a new experience for a parent because kids are learning in a different way than when we went to school,” she said. “It’s a lot to learn as a parent. The school district is helping parents learn the system so we can better support our kids.”
She likes that the course covers resources for parents, noting she didn’t know what was out there when her daughter got an iPad two years ago.
Her advice to parents is to take time to learn how to use the technology.
“It saves frustration if you use the resources the district is giving us,” she said.
Amy Bounds: 303-473-1341, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/boundsa