Cycle 1 Data

AR Focus Statement

The purpose of my action research is to foster parental involvement with technology tools to communicate effectively and collaborate with the school.  Through this research, I am trying to improve upon the standard already in place with regards to communicative and learning technology tools.

Target Audience

The target audience is kindergarten parents.  The number of those that participated was 20 parents; the amount who returned the pre-surveys completed was 13.  They are African-American or mixed and are low to middle income.  The surrounding area that they come from is urban in nature but has all that the students and their families need from playgrounds to libraries to stores, etc.  Within the school, they have at least two computer labs, netbook carts, and classroom laptops at their disposal.  At their homes, most of the families have a working computer or laptop and access to a phone for alternative method of communication.

Summary of Cycle 1 

For Cycle 1, the primary goal was to inform students, parents, and administration about the purpose of my AR project and its focus.  The process began with asking the parents to complete pre-surveys.  The pre-surveys provided information with regards to the technology tools that parents already had as well as their technology knowledge.  Also addressed was the preferred communication methods.  The feedback from those pre-surveys was provided to them during fall report card conference time.  During the report card conferences, they were met with individually. They were offered an opportunity to address anything else they would like to share or add that was not listed in the pre-survey.

Internet based resources were provided to the parents so that they could experience the tools that are out there that aid in communication and learning.  The resources were shared with all of them via teacher websites (SchoolNotes and Google site), newsletters, teacher letters, and at back to school night.    The parents were evaluated throughout the process based on their use of Internet based resources as well as the methods of communication available (school phone system, website, e-mail).  Their opinions and perspective of the process will be addressed using interviews and recordings; they were not done during this cycle due to preparation issues and focus on other areas.

The strategies that were implemented in the cycle were how to videos, written communications or notices, workshop opportunities, and conversations.  The primary questions posed were: how is the technology (was it working or not), how can they do more, and what should the teacher do moving forward.  I provided them with access in terms of technology.  They were offered time in the classroom before and after school to use the computers and laptop to check for updates and relevant information.  They also were given some other resources that addressed how to get discounted Internet and computer equipment for use in their own homes.  As for the parents doing more, they were told to e-mail, write a note, or let me know in person when and how they shared and interacted.

Contact was constant and consistent throughout the cycle using phone calls, e-mails, letters, and other methods to share the resources.  Some were more proactive than others and it showed in the ways in which their children have interacted with what they are given.  I asked parents, as a result, to take a more active role within the classroom to aid in this venture as well but that has not worked out.  And I received further assistance from one of my critical friends, a fellow teacher, in the implementing of new resources to aid in communication.

During the faculty meetings we have talked quite a bit about other ways in which to venture out and get parents not only communicating more but also getting them involved in all the different things going on in and outside of our school.  It will be something that we will continue to work on and branch out using each other’s ideas and those that we can be introduced to by others.

Data Collection

Data Report

In terms of the responses, the parents seemed to be similar in their responses.  The following is a break down of their responses.  I realized that in part due to either their limited access or technology background, that it is the reason why they are not using technology more to communicate more efficiently between themselves and the school.

The data showed that emotions affect the focus on learning and motivating.  This was noticeable in their responses in the pre-survey to “Technology Experience” and “School Communication” questions.  Also, parents see the importance of communication from the school in order to keep updated and informed.  Another thing the data showed is that relationships through and with all involved prompts achievement and success. So the data collected through the pre-survey, observations, and other responses does indeed agree with literature.  The areas of success strategies, parental involvement, and learning theories were addressed in the activities and in the survey.  In terms of making conclusions, the data collection methods for Cycle 1 met their purpose and the initial use of websites and their accompanying assessments were evident and positive.

General Communication (from the pre-survey)

10 out of 13 communicated with others through phone, e-mail, and conversation

3 out of 13 did not respond to the type of communication that they use

School Communication (why is it the preferred method)

*The school communicates with parents using a phone system called School Reach and they also use weekly newsletters.*

10 out of 13 prefer communication of updates and resources using all available methods (quickest and easiest)

3 out of 13 prefers to garner information via the school/teacher website

Student Learning Resources

1 out of 13 left no response to the type of resources that they would like

12 out of 13 would like to receive workbooks and are willing to pay a small fee if needed

5 out of 13 would like software and other computer-based resources such as websites

Technology Experience (of parent)

7 out of 13 have some level of experience with technology for one purpose or another

6 out of 13 have minimal or no experience

School-Home Connection

9 out of 13 see the importance of communication and interaction in the school environment (no matter what method)

4 out of 13 gave alternative responses

Insight

Preparing the surveys and collecting data was the simplest part of the process for  Cycle 1.  I made sure to make an outline of survey contents prior to creating them in Google docs and then made copies and sent the link to the parents and students.  The information came back quite quickly but without majority participation.  There are at least 4 who provided no feedback in the process and don’t actively respond and communicate with regards to school related matters either. Motivating them to provide ideas and feedback whether through material items or other motivational tools were some of the ways in which participation could have been garnered.

Surprises

The data collection process was time consuming because I was teaching full time as well as taking online courses to further my education.  My time as a teacher did not end at the end of the school day so finding time to collect, sort through, and prepare the results was difficult.

The parents’ reaction was mixed.  Some were active participants and responded in many ways to the tools and resources shared.  Others have not, and therefore have not used communication tools that were set up.

KS:  I like the constant updates I receive and appreciate that involvement and interaction with the school.  I like to stay updated and informed about all things that are going on at the school and these things have helped.

SR:  I would access the resources more if I had reliable technology. I have had Internet and other computer problems and have not been able to check in as often as I would have liked.

Some of the other teachers had asked me about some Web 2.0 tools and other resources to help with effective parent-teacher communication.  They had just as much difficulty trying to keep the lines of communication open and keeping parents informed on a consistent basis.

Future Development

I plan to address the feedback from the post-survey, work to finalize interviews and recordings, and continue to introduce and work with various types of digital technology for the purpose of communication and collaboration.

This cycle was indeed relevant to the purpose of the Action Plan which involves implementing many methods of communication to share experiences and ideas.  A lot of the tools are now on my teacher Google website and SchoolNotes page, which are open to anyone.   Besides that I will continue to incorporate letters, phone calls, e-mails, website postings, etc.

Another element of the first cycle that I used was face-to-face conversations, which is a more effective and interactive way to communicate.  I have to figure out the best way in which to share what was discussed and shared during those meetings for the next cycle.

The question to be answered through Cycle 2:

“How can we, together, be instruments of change and enhance parent-teacher communication?”

Evaluate and Reflect 

During the faculty meetings we talked quite a bit about other ways in which to venture out and get parents not only communicating more but also getting them involved in all the different things going on in and outside of our school.  It will be something that will continually be worked on as we branch out using each other’s ideas.

I will make some modifications as I conclude Cycle 2.  One of the main modifications is to instill even more the importance of communication and involvement in the project and in using learning tools to communicate and for the purpose of enhancing collaboration.  The other modification is to seek out other ways to engage and involve parents who have not actively participated and show them the overall benefits of their involvement and increasing their communication to and from the school.

Documentation

Here are the surveys…

Here is the spreadsheet of the data  Using Technology Pre-Survey results

*Parents are identified by demographic code *

Demographical information available upon request; removed from downloadable spreadsheet form.)

Cycle 1

These are some of the pictures of their children working and using technology in an effective way which is what I want the parents to be able to do too either throughout or as a result of this process and project.  Also, I shared these images so that others can see what technology resources and areas are available for use in order to communicate or for the purpose of involvement via activities and workshops.
Computer Lab #1
Classroom
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