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2008 2008 - Kicking It Up a Notch

Kicking it up a NotchParental Engagement in the 21st Century – Leveraging web 2.0 tools to engage parents in non-traditional ways

Lorna Costantini, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada & Matt Montagne Palo Alto, California, USA

Blog: http://www.ourschool.ca & http://middleschoolblog.blogspot.com/

Bio: https://k12online08presenters.wikispaces.com/Lorna+Costantini & https://k12online08presenters.wikispaces.com/Matt+Montagne

Bio:Matt and Lorna met each other ‘virtually’ through their mutual interests in new ways to consider parental involvement and through their participation in the Webcast Academy’s class of 2.4. Lorna and Matt are members of the Parents as Partners bi-monthly webcast over at Edtechtalk.com.

Presentation Description: New ways of looking at relationships with parents will help parents support their children, their child’s teacher and their child’s school. The next generation of parents are and will continue to be computer literate. Electronic communications will be one of the ways that schools and teachers effectively communicate with families in the 21st century. By engaging parents using new mediums, schools can help develop a broad base of parental knowledge regarding social media tools. parents that are more informated and have a better understanding of social media technologoes will be better prepared to help their children successed and excel in the information age.


Link to Dotsub



Original (20:10 Run Time; .mov, 65.0 MB)

iPod Video (20:10 Run Time; m4v, 65.0 MB)

Audio only (20:10 Run Time; mp3, 7.5 MB)

Supporting Links:

3 Essential Questions:




  1. gail desautels

    WOW – and even in Canada. I started this morning by watching your presentation…and couldn’t be more excited to find Parents as Partners.

    I do have a burning question: How do we get schools to open themselves up to the 21st Century???? Unfortunately administrators are often operating with tools and mindsets that preced even web 1.0. Many of them do not even have a website, yet alone know how to use email. They do not seem to have always Board endorsement to use web 2.0 tools. What are your suggestions for “Kicking This Up A Notch”????

  2. Sharon Betts

    Thank you for your presentation and addressing yet another use for Web 2.0. Getting our parents involved is the main road to student success. I am excited to tune into your webcast also. I am sharing your thoughts with my staff and readers on SharonsShare today. Great job!

  3. Wesley Fryer

    Gail: I think part of the answer to your question is helping students participate in constructive learning projects, and then sharing the stories of their learning with school administrators and board members. I think as we find more ways for students to create digital stories about local history, interviews with older members of the community, etc, and then share those with school leaders, they can begin to see and understand the positive, constructive role which technology can play in the learning environment. The same is true of collaborative projects. I think we need to share our stories of learning with technology directly with our school leaders more often. If we don’t share these stories with them, who will?

  4. gail desautels

    Thank you Wes for your response. Yes, today I dressed up as TechnoMum and dropped in on my son’s classroom. I was and have been very inspired by everything I have taken part in on K12 Online. And a woman dressed up as a pumpkin that I met at the grocery store this morning…

    I had a great time at my son’s classroom. We took lots of pictures. My son’s teacher has a lot of experience teaching, and is a very human person (& mother) …. I think we are working together now!!!! She is also a technophobe ….. and her eyes lit up, as did each and every student in the class, on the thought that we would be able to produce a movie of their class from today’s pictures ….. for their very own private viewing. Together … and networked… yes it is all about collaboration!

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  6. Gail P

    I very much enjoyed this presentation. Not only was it well done technically, it kept my interest up throughout. I will check out the Parents as Partners mentioned during the program and will also try to learn more tools for better communication with parents and the public in general.

  7. Shaun Wood

    Thank you, I found the idea of giving the parents the skills to use web 2 tools fantastic. It gives the parents confidence and the understanding of these social tools. I would like to see more parents become involved.

    However what if you teach at a school who’s community is lower income and majority of parents have not even got an email address? To me it doesn’t change the need but brings up a host of challenges. Can anyone offer some advice on this?

  8. Cheryl Oakes

    Great job! I like your presentation and the step by step process to get parents involved. What a brilliant stroke to use the ning to get parents involved in school. Nice!

  9. gaild

    Hi Shaun!! The first thing would be to never assume anything about anyone, including parents, unless it is positive, whether they are poor or rich. Second – they may not have email – but their kids probably do. Chances are good they have a computer (they are cheaper than most HD TVs). If they don’t – where can they get one (free & refurbished is always possible). Poverty is not usually a issue here .. in my neighbour everybody has a computer (but they borrow my ladder to fix their satellite dish). You could do many things to try to get their email – use their kids (they probably have email) …ask them if they ever email their parents. You also need trust … maybe the parents don’t want to give you their email address …I don’t know why? – I have it! Show them how – write a class newsletter, talk about the new tools. Give them your email address and encourage them to contact you. Make it easy .. are there resources at a local community centre???? Call them – ask them, find someone to give lessons. Possibilities are infinite …. and the dialogue is just beginning….as I am discovering, with many thanks to the K12 Online Conference. Sometimes you have to be a “broken record” and just keep giving the same old message….. I just hope you don’t have the remote Cdn issue of not enough high speed internet access!

  10. Lorna Costantini

    Thanks everyone for the great conversations going on here. Not only questions but suggestions and answers. Exactly what this presentations is all about. Please consider wandering over to our new site at http://www.portal.ourschool.ca. Help us design a support system for parents using web 2.0 tools. Be patient with us as we grow. You have a role to play

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  12. gail desautels

    Whew, I’m back in business and my blog seems to be working again.

    I am still recovering I guess from K12 Online 2008 – WOW was that good!!!!

    In the meantime, I am also desperately searching for information on Canadian possibilities for Give 1/Get 1 – laptops for children. So Lorna, Wes, if you are still listening, do you have any leads or info for me????

    Cheers & Seasons Greetingsk

    Gail D in Ottawa

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