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69,600 Views 8 Replies Last post: 19-Feb-2009 11:13 by Alex Jones RSS
Level 1 5 posts since
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19-Jun-2008 22:52

Two-way street - online reporting?


Can we open up the vision a little of what 'online reporting' might entail? Too often we seem to fall back to the 'get the marks out of the MIS and to the home asap' version, or even the original 'little Johnny isn't in school today' attendence view. Both wholly admirable and worthwhile concepts - but not exactly the holistic view. Let's throw in the 'the boy done good on the wing for the team today', or the 'great presentation by Sarah in assembly' for starters - as many of our schools have seen the major impact of timely and effective praise reaching the home.



And what about the opportunity for  parents or carers reporting in? The ability to report that 'Sally is very quiet and sad as our dog died yesterday', or 'Another bullying incident on the way home, I'm afraid' would be extremely helpful to both home and school. Indeed I suspect part of the problem may be the use of the word 'report' - anyone who has had dealings with a database manager may have an inkling of what I mean. A report is often something the system produces that is designed by someone else to tell you what they think you need. Maybe if we open up more of a dialogue with parents and carers about what  information should flow to AND FROM the home on a regular and timely basis we may be on firmer ground?






Tags: home, school, online_reporting
Pilgram Level 2 37 posts since
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1. 20-Jun-2008 21:26 in response to: Tony Parkin
Re: Two-way street - online reporting?


A two way street is an intriguing idea. However, it requires people to look both ways.



Is the average teacher really going to have time in the morning to log on to a system and read several messages before they start teaching?



How many teachers at present login to their Learning Platform / email before school?



And will they have time to make a considered response in these precious few minutes?



I'm actually in favour of Learning Platforms. However, I think they should reduce teacher workload not increase it.



Some schools don't have answerphones. Why? Because when an answer is left on an answerphone the person who has left it considers the matter dealt with. If this matter is urgent and the answerphone is not listened to (for whatever good reason) the urgent message will not be acted upon. 









Level 1 1 posts since
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2. 20-Jun-2008 23:04 in response to: Pilgram
Re: Two-way street - online reporting?


I am with you on this Pilgram. Way too many schools have decided to jump full steam ahead with offering parents "online reporting" with little or no consideration to the value of the information they will be uploading (generally done by administrators).



It is a shame that the average teacher struggles with finding time to log onto their schools vle or email client let alone have the online dialoge with parents to report progress and therefore empower parents to intervene early enough to be able to make a difference.



I wish my school were brave enough to scrap some of the paper based reporting, multiple parents evenings, target setting days, target review days, and academic tutorials.  I would love to see teachers being freed up to have an online dialogue with parents on a regular basis instead of a standardised out of date annual report. I guess this would raise serious questions about those that do not have access to the internet or a computer.



Tony Sheppard Level 2 23 posts since
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3. 23-Jun-2008 23:02 in response to: geek
Re: Two-way street - online reporting?


One of the issues with online dialogue is making sure it is effective. Parents' Evenings are effective as the non-verbal communication can be as productive as teh verbal communication, sometimes even more so. This is often lost with online dialogue and it takes a certain amount of time and experience to adjust to this method of communication.



Two way communication must be part of a substantial and gradual program. For many schools this will start with attendance and grades, then a logical step woutld for parents to understand how the schools uses a Learning Platform, giving them a chance to engage* with what and how their child is learning, and then understand the difference that they can make themselves.



For this to start we must not take parental engagement as a small project but ensure it is considered just one aspect of changing views towards learning and how students learn. Staff need to change and adapt to the new technologies, adapt or re-create resources, be re-trained where needed. All of this has a major impact on teachers, initially increasing their workload. If you do not increase their workload then schools must employ others to assist the teachers adapt. For some schools this is not an option and so we get schools purchasing pre-built systems based on what has worked elsewhere with little consideration for what needs to be adapted for their school. Whilst purchasing such materials may be a good start, it should be remember that it may just be that. A start. If you are not careful it may become the straight-jacket.



There will be many schools that will do the bare minimum to report to families. This will be for many different reasons including workload, but it should be an educated judgement on what is best for the school overall rather than a choice of "that will mean more work!"



Level 1 4 posts since
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5. 07-Oct-2008 16:48 in response to: Tony Parkin
Re: PS : priorities in parental reporting?


An interesting final thought, but I have yet to find any technology that has made life easier and less complicated beyond the shortterm.  Any capacity gained a once again filled, what improves is quality.



Lets forget the online reporting tag and focus on 'online parental engagement'. 






Simon Shaw Becta person 14 posts since
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6. 13-Oct-2008 11:47 in response to: George Wells
Re: PS : priorities in parental reporting?


"Online reporting" has grown out of the notion that statutory school reports shouldn't need to be paper based, or only happen once or three times a year. The five areas associated with reporting: attendance, attainment, SEN, behaviour (positive and challenging) and pupil progress can therefore be used as a starting point for considering what information a school might make more available for parents. However, Becta would completely agree with the principle of consulting with parents and learners about what they would find most useful to provide as part of online services, as advised within the attached "Getting started" guide. Transactional systems allowing parents to make and monitor payments for school dinners, trips, uniforms, fund raising, etc. will provide real benefits for parents and make their lives easier. Where such systems exist, and meet the needs of parents, then what a great starting point, and hook,  for increasing "online parental engagement" and building upon the services available to provide the sorts of information that will engage parents better with their children's learning.



Level 1 6 posts since
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7. 17-Nov-2008 21:58 in response to: geek
Re: Two-way street - online reporting?


Much of the online reporting which has been implemented in our school does not require the teaching staff to do any more than they already do - it is just a matter of the system transferring data from one area to another i.e. to a portal page where the appropriate parent can view it.  The data itself has already been entered into the MIS in the usual way by the teaching staff.



OK there is an overhead early on in getting the system implemented, and there may also be some work on getting the integrity of the MIS system up to speed, but other than that I'm not sure that creating more work for teachers is a valid reason for shying away from online reporting as it stands at present.






Level 1 7 posts since
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8. 19-Feb-2009 11:13 in response to: Tony Parkin
Re: PS : priorities in parental reporting?


I've just been supporting two schools by creating a survey that they have used to ask their parents about how and what they want communicated. I think the whole goal of this process is to create an effective and helpful conversation with parents about their child's learning. With the schools I work with it seemd that we needed to take a couple of steps backwards and look at the whole communication strategy the school employs. In fact it turned out that the schools had never considered communication with parents in this wider sense before. Hence the decision to start by asking the parents.



The answers the parents gave were in the end not very clear cut. One said "The preferred method of communication would differ in different circumstances. For general purposes I would prefer letter format, but for emergencies, such as illness I would prefer a telephone call." Letter was still (marginally) the preferred method of communication. But I think the point made by this parent probably means another survey of views with a little more sophisticated questioning needs to happen.



The preference for letters might also mean that parents were thinking about messages and not communication in general...



Still some food for thought.



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