Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Parent Engagement Teacher Inquiry using Class Dojo

This year I worked collaboratively on my Teaching Inquiry for 2016 with another teacher, and we were also accepted to follow this inquiry under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education's Digital Era Learning Teaching & Assessment (DELTA) Programme - Grassroots Ideas, which has a focus on 'Investigating and sharing ideas to help schools around New Zealand to effectively use digital technologies for teaching and learning.'

Last year, we identified parent engagement in student learning (particularly digital based learning) as a concern that needed to be addressed. We wanted to target three areas of parent engagement that are an integral part of student learning: (Engagement in the school - knowing what is happening and being involved, engagement in the class of their child/children, and engagement in their child's learning).

Our Inquiry will focused on the use of the app Class Dojo to connect with parents and whānau. We will focused specifically on the use of Class Story (a quick and easy to use and access page), where 'snack bite' posts with or without pictures are sent instantly to invited members. We also investigated the use of another Class Dojo feature; Messaging, to send notices, general information and individualised information whenever necessary. 
Our inquiry was a huge success with 94% of whānau accessing Class Dojo at least once a week. Parents felt they were more engaged with the class learning and able to have focused discussions with their child about their learning, as parents knew what was happening in class. As teachers we felt our relationships with parents were more solid with almost no parent issues; we believe this is because parents felt they had a more personal connection with us.


Our inquiry is available to view on our website: http://otongagrassrootsproject.weebly.com

Now in Term 4 we are sharing this initiative with our staff, with the vision that they will begin to use it themselves to build parent engagement in their classrooms. In order to spread the benefit of our inquiry into our community of schools, we will share our inquiry with other educators at various local events. I have already started this at Educamp Rotovegus 2016. See our staff presentation below.

If you have had any experiences that would add to our learning, I would welcome your thoughts.