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An online resource for parent-teacher

communication and record keeping


Professional Activities Assignment ED4762
It is my understanding that the goal of this project was
to identify a significant problem in my professional
activities that lends itself to technology. The problem
that I chose was that of parent-teacher communication.
I added an additional platform of access to record-
keeping information. As a parent as well as a teacher, I
believe that having both of these aspects covered with
one form of technology would be fantastic! I began this
project by brainstorming some ideas of the problems
associated with parent-teacher communication. It
turned into my activation matrix (as I was trying to
determine a tool that would help solve the problems I
came up with). I also had to begin thinking outside of
the box right away for a couple of reasons: we were
asked to look at technology that we were not familiar
with, and technology that I am familiar with does not
solve the problems that I was looking at.
Is it possible for me to improve parent-teacher
communication in my classroom in a program
that allows all stakeholders access to record
keeping information?
Throughout my practicum experiences, record-keeping and parent-
teacher communication have been very important. I found that
when I recorded information on a sheet of paper, it was well
organized and allowed me to easily enter the information into the
required software; however, I always had to search through the
paper record to see who was missing an assignment. Once I
figured that out, I had to make a list that stayed on the board
the list included the name of the student and the assignments that
were not yet completed. This seemed silly to me and some
students dont like to see their name up on the board. I wondered
if there was a program that I could enter information into and it
would show up when there was a missing assignment from a
student. I also thought that it would be great for this program to
incorporate a communication tool. That way, parents and students
could access the information. The parent can see the marks their
child has as well as if there are any assignments that have not
been handed in. It was my hope that the program would also
integrate a communication platform. I thought that if the
communication platform was integrated in the record keeping
software that it would be easier for parents to communicate.
They wouldnt have to go to one form of software to check the
marks/assignments and then go to another form to contact me as
the teacher. It my hope that frustrations will be eased for all
stakeholders.
I found that there were many attributes of
SchoolRack that could assist me with my
problem. Some examples of these attributes
are:
Groups can be created for individual classes
Assignments and deadlines (including assignment
weight) can be posted
Parents can be allowed access to any or all
information
A discussion board can be used (either with just the
students, or can add parents)
Access is available for sending the teacher personal
messages (not everything has to be public)
Mailing lists can be created
Calendar reminders available
Ability to upload files
Dimension of the
Problem
Attributes of the
Tool Rationale for
Technology
Problem Solving
Strategies
Parental awareness
of assignments and
deadlines
Group pages that
allow for
communication of
deadlines
Deadlines are easy to
set and can be
changed easily if
necessary
Discussion or
communication
between all
stakeholders
(parents, teachers
and student)
Group discussions can
be set up to include
the necessary people
you want involved
(big groups of
individualized)
Discussions can be
limited to two people
or can include the
whole class
Easy-to-understand
visual representation
of dates
Calendar function
that lists important
dates
Visual
representations are
important and
helpful
Dimension of the
Problem
Attributes of the
Tool Rationale for
Technology
Problem Solving
Strategies
Private e-mail
available if needed
Direct e-mail to
teacher is available
Not everything needs
to be made public
on the website
Access to information
(files to be uploaded
resources for
student, parent and
teacher)
Resources are able to
be uploaded for the
use of teacher
and/or parents and
students
Allows easy access to
the resources needed
to complete
assignments
Record observations
about student
progress/behaviour
in a paper-friendly
and private place
Section for notes
where teachers can
record individual
information
Easily accessible
notes that will not
get lost
Free access any time Free web-based
software
No fee can be
accessed from any
device
The following slides provide information on
how SchoolRack is able to accomplish some of
the attributes that have been discussed
A view of the opening screen when you
log in to School Rack
Groups can be created that require codes for access
can be limited to students or include parents as well
Assignments can be created that are specific to
individual groups they include a description and a
deadline (easy viewing for everyone)
Discussion boards can be created and you can choose
whatever group you want involved there are also
statistics boards that show more detailed information
Mailing lists can be created on any level to
include as many or as few people as needed
Calendar entries can be established and a
visual representation created
Files can be posted for future references and can
be used as resources for students and parents
Private messages can be sent so that not
everything is made public
homeworkNOW.com
This was one tool that I explored for the
purposes of parent-teacher communication the
reason that I chose to veto this tool was that it
comes at a cost. I was looking for a free and
easily accessible tool. As such, I chose not to go
with homeworkNOW.com

thinkwave.com
I looked at this tool as well again, the problem
was that it comes at a cost. As I was unwilling to
pay anything, I didnt want to get too far into
the website. However, from the exploring that I
was able to do, it appeared that this was simply
a gradebook there was no real potential for
parent-teacher communication.
Microsoft OneNote
This tool looked fantastic; however, I felt that it
is something that comes at a cost. The cost is
that you have to have the program downloaded
on the device that you are using. I was looking
for a tool that was web-accessible so that it
could be accessed at anytime from any device.
Therefore, I had to veto this option as well.
Brainstorming! Always the key! I began this by look at an
activation matrix. My activation matrix helped me to
identify the dimensions of the problem. As I searched out
alternative tools, I was able to see from my visual
representation (in the form of the first column of the matrix)
which tool had the necessary attributes to deal with the
problems that I wanted solved. I had to overcome my own
mental barriers of attempting to find a program that I know
and am familiar with to work on this project. That is a lot
more difficult for me than I expected it to be. I do not like
to change things up if its not broke, why fix it? However, it
quickly became evident to me that my minimal knowledge of
this type of software was going to cause me to have to delve
a little deeper (not to mention, we were asked to do this)! I
believe that I incorporated a number of problem-solving
concepts and techniques that have been encountered in this
course so far. And it was fun to have to open my eyes!
YES! But kinda no

I feel like I learned a lot and
found a program that
addresses the concerns that I
have. However, I am
suspicious that it is possible
that there are better
programs for this out there
somewhere. There is SO
much technology out there
that I could not have possibly
exhausted ALL options!
SchoolRack. (N.A.). SchoolRack. Retrieved
from: http://www.schoolrack.com.