I'm interested in learning about examples of schools using technology to successfully promote parent involvement.
I'm doing some writing about different strategies that would more successfully engage parents in the life of schools and the academic life of their children, and would like to include technology ideas. I've got several examples, but was hoping to get more. Any suggestions? I'm particularly interested, though not exclusively, in low-income/urban schools.

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The primary reason to offer a translation is that chances were that not many persons would take the time to go to the babelfish website, paste the text, request a French > English translation, wait for the result, and read it till the end of the message.

Then, babelfish can sometimes make you appear as an illiterate person because of various awkward or quite obscure translations. There were risks for that to happen with some sentences in Vincent's post. This was susceptible to negatively influence any opinion of Vincent... in ways he didn't deserve.

I let you judge, below is the babel fish translation:

Hi everyone, Hello with all, I believe that the question raised here by Larry Ferlazzo is particularly important. To imply the parents in the training is made very easy by Web 2.0. Thus when I assembled my school social network, it appeared to to me with a great obviousness that it was necessary to make place with the parents. In the architecture of my public network, I thus provided that the parents could be registered as well as their children, and produce contents according to their competences. In the same way, I envisaged a group intended for the parents, at the same time to allow them to ask me questions about the use of the interface by their children, that to propose a space of discussion on their own uses. Which was the result until there? In the one week space hardly, I have more than 120 people, primarily pupils obviously, registered on the platform created. But also 2 parents, who thus seemed very quickly moved by the proposal. These two parents expose their competences, one in a linguistic field, the other in a scientific field. There is no doubt that other parents quickly will join their children (we let us be in France in period of school holidays, Happy Thanksgiving one next Nov. 22; -) Vincent
Larry:

You and I are close enough that it might be interesting to meet for lunch some day.

I would be interested in this discussion at the most basic level--access to computers at home for low-income families, just to be in email and basic web contact with the schools. This is not my area of expertise, but I'm sure I've seen some information about the performance of students when the school is in active communication with parents. Even basic blog, wiki, and calendar pages probably would make a huge difference if the parents had access to the web and could gain some basic comfort in its use.

For a long time, this was at the heart of my www.publicwebstations.com project, which allows very old computers to be used as "web toasters," and which I thought the municipal wifi efforts would really latch on to. But after months and months of discussions, it really got nowhere. We discard 100,000+ computers every day in this country, most of which could easily run a super-light Linux operating system and boot right up into Firefox. This makes training very simple (just training in using a web browser) and maintenance almost nothing. (I installed two of these in a tire store in Sacramento for customer use, and they are still running 2+ years later, with NO upkeep. Amazing.)

Maybe now where you were going with this thread, but my passion got the better of me!
Hi Larry, Taecanet Springboard (www.taecanet.com) is a cost effective elearning tool that helps to disseminate best practice amongst our community of schools. Teachers generate the content and assessment, which Taecanet then 'packages' into Learning Journeys so that other teachers and students can benefit. The service can be accessed from home, so that parental involvement can be facilitated. Connection to the internet is obviously a pre-requisite, but it does provide a cost effective way of helping parents increase involvement in their children's education. There are many urban schools using the service as it is a good way of benefitting from the huge 'knowledge share. You can apply for a free guest account at the above web address, or let me know if you wish to know more.
Tim Lauer is the principal at Meriwether Lewis Elementary school in Portland Oregon and has done wonderful things with teaching his community how to subscribe to the RSS feed of his school website http://lewiselementary.org/ . Each of his teachers blogs weekly about class activities and not only do parents but also Grandparents and community members subscribe to their blogs.

He would be a great resource.
Thanks again for all the new responses, and a special thanks to Marielle for the translation! This Forum really works.....

I'm going to review all the contact suggestions and recommended links, and I'll probably be contacting some of you with follow-up questions.
Hi Larry,
This is a very simple technique for involvement. Ask an English teacher (or history teacher or any educator) if they'll assign interview questions for kids to ask parents, or better yet, grandparents or someone older in the community. We call it "Ask Elders." We have used both Moodle and ning to post answers, as forums. This way students are assigned discussions--and the discussions get shared with a wider audience. Everyone can be a "winner" in this : students get one-on-one time with an elder, students get to practice their interviewing and writing skills, what is learned through this format is shared and can be reacted to. Everyone ends up feeling important and valued.
Some questions we've used:
What is one of the most beautiful places you've ever seen?
What act of kindness changed your life?
Who is a hero to you, and why?
When did you learn the value of "just keeping going" counts for a lot and gets you through?
What book or movie impressed you a lot, and why?
I met a teacher who used Voicethread to do this very project. The grandparent gave the child some pictures from their youth and the student and grandparent recorded questions and answers about each photo. I wish I had written down the Voicethread URL - darn!
Voicethreads would be a cool tool.

It is the pumped up and upgraded version of the photo album, scrapbook and cassette tape interview we used to do.
Thanks for that tip Connie! It brought up a whole raft of memories. LOL....It's a big raft! Never reinvent the wheel when it is already perfected, right?

Your "Ask Elders" project reminded me of FoxFire!, one of the earliest, longest running school wide project based learning programs in America. Beginning in the 1960's and spanning almost half a century, the continuing FoxFire project changed an entire Applachian community and the American teaching community.....

Do you remember FoxFire?

Even though, the FoxFire students started with the magazine, they soon developed these awesome books that helped save the knowledge of the elders of the Applachian region where they lived. I own the first five editions of Foxfire books. I think there are more than 25 different books that the English teacher and his students produced over the years.

The Foxfire project epitomized the "Ask Elders" project. It was quite high tech when it began.....a Wollensack reel to reel and a camera. LOL! In the days before microwave ovens.

The ideals that lay at the foundation for Foxfire always inspired me. I admire the Appalachian community who is carrying on the FoxFire learning and teaching traditions.
Hello!
A few years ago I started working on the development of a resource page for our students who were filing Math, but the result of the site turned into a parent/student academic resource. (http://www.nylearns.org/pgarcia) The parents were aware of the activities and began to get involved and using it with their kids. Just last years, thd parents agree on using the site to post the questionaire used for the development of the School Leadership Team C.E.P (Comprehensive Education Plan). Many parents came to the computer Lab to fill out the form online. Their participation increased a great deal. I helped some of the parents to create email account using Yahoo, Google, and MSN. Now they want me to train them on how to use the new Mac computers.
This a low income neighborhood where many immigrants and poor families live.
Hi Larry.
I don't have a particular example, but found your thread while searching for this specific topic. I'm working on my M.Ed. with a focus on technology-enabled parent involvement. I'm just completing a literature review (posted in http://parent20.wikispaces.com), and next term will be doing an independent study project assessing requirements models for online environments. My Masters Project is the development of a parent portal in my school district.
So you can see why I'm interested in your writing!
Would love to connect and share resources, and link to them at Parent 2.0. Please consider joining the wiki as well. Look forward to hearing from you.
I am CEO and Founder of Forkie.com

I created Forkie.com to address this specific issue, and as such I provide it to all schools free of charge.

An overview of the features for Schools (and all community/sports groups for that matter) is available here

Forkie.com provides parents with one focal point where all their communities of interest (schools, sports and community organisations) are combined, rather than trying to keep track of many seperate class contacts, school/team/club events, websites, etc,

Happy to accept any questions, and as always committed to enhancing for the parents/school community.

Kind regards, Jason.

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