Funded through the Parent's Reaching Out Grant program, this project has 3 objectives:
- to increase parental skills related to 21st century competencies, especially those that focus on digital literacies and technology-supported learning;
- to support the acquisition of those skills in a evening learning program using technology provided to their children by the Peel District School Board; and
- to increase parental/guardian awareness of and strategies for talking to their children about digital citizenship and media use, including social media.
To meet those objectives, the project goals are to:
- to create an after-work, early evening learning group with a maximum of 20 volunteer parents/guardians, 1 evening a week for 10 weeks;
- to create a shared learning space where parents/guardians will work with researchers and facilitators to learn computer-related skills, particularly designed around digital storytelling, in any language of their choice;
- in that shared learning space provide a context for talking about parents'/guardians' perceived needed skills related to technology; and
- to specifically address digital citizenship and social media use, questions and concerns through a facilitated workshop on the topic.
This project seeks to 'level up' parents/guardians' skills in relation to the technologies students are using and will be using in their school lives.
This project will support the acquisition of technological skills, and 21st century competencies in a group of parents/guardians that may well lack in those areas. Further, it will engage parents in some of the same school-based learning methods related to technologies that their children have experienced and will experience in Peel schools. It is an especially important project because it addresses a direct need in the community: how to assist parents/guardians in supporting student learning with technology.
Parents/guardians will benefit from the acquisition of these skills and a deeper understanding of digital citizenship and media literacy. Students will benefit from collaborating with their parents in the use of digital technology production and engaging in critical conversations about their use of media and understandings of said literacy.
There are three potential benefits from participating in this project: 1) learning new skills and competencies related to computer-based technologies, especially those that are currently used in Peel schools; 2) participating in programming that is similar to what happens in schools, but is focused on parental learning and engagement; and 3) learning about digital citizenship and responsibilities of parents/guardians and students on social media. A further outcome is the creation of learning community for parents that may well continue beyond the reach of this program.