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April 1, 2023
Vol. 80
No. 7
Ask Our EdTech Expert

Sharing Student Work with Families

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    ASCD author Monica Burns responds to educators' tech dilemmas.

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      Q: I want to help families understand what is happening in their child's classroom without it feeling overwhelming for them or me. How much access should I give my students' families to view and monitor student work?
      —Eager to Share
      A: Keeping families informed of what is happening in their child's classroom is so important! And you're certainly correct that it can feel overwhelming for teachers to manage this type of communication. At the same time, you want to make sure that the information you are sharing with families is worth their time and attention. You don't want them to get overwhelmed with a firehose of updates and not understand which information matters most.
      Here are several considerations to help you make sure you're sharing a "just-right" amount of student work.
      Share expectations: Communicate with families at the beginning of the school year what they should expect to have access to throughout the year. This helps families know when and what to look for, whether it's an online gradebook that is updated once a week or pictures of student work sent home every Thursday.
      Attainable, not aspirational: Set yourself up for success by committing to share an amount of work that is attainable for your workload and schedule. It can be tempting to start off by sharing lots of examples, but you want to make sure that you can actually stick with the cadence you've chosen throughout the school year.
      Prioritize and simplify: To figure out what really matters, choose items to share that connect to a long-term goal students are working on, represent a chunk of a larger goal, or simply something students are sure to talk about the moment they get home.
      Make it easy: If your Monday schedule seems out of control, don't commit to uploading new examples of student work during that day of the week. Choose a day of the week that's easy for your workflow so this task doesn't feel like it is creeping up on you at the end of a busy day.
      Create templates: Save some time when sharing updates with families by using templates so you aren't typing out the same thing to each family. A great tool for this is Text Blaze. You can also leverage the templates already built into popular correspondence tools like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.
      Consistency is key: To make sure families don't feel overwhelmed and understand exactly how to check in on their child's progress, be as consistent as possible with the way your share updates and the frequency with which you update a digital space with student work. This ensures that families will check back regularly and that the time you spend sharing updates on student work is well spent.
      In short, to make sure you aren't overwhelmed with the task of sharing student work updates with families, be sure to prioritize what is worth sharing, set goals for yourself that are attainable, and communicate those expectations with families.

      EdTech Essentials

      In a world awash in technology, what edtech skills and strategies should educators focus on to ensure they are making the best use of online spaces for classroom learning?

      EdTech Essentials

      Have an edtech dilemma?

       Submit a question for Monica.

      Dr. Monica Burns is a curriculum and EdTech consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator, and founder of ClassTechTips.com. As a classroom teacher, Monica used digital tools to create an engaging, differentiated learning experience to meet the needs of her students. Monica started her blog, ClassTechTips.com, in 2012 and launched the Easy EdTech Podcast and her membership site, the Easy EdTech Club, to support educators who want to streamline technology integration. She leads workshops and provides keynote presentations to teachers, instructional coaches, administrators, and tech enthusiasts at numerous national and international conferences, including SXSW EDU, ISTE, FETC, and EduTECH. Monica is the author of Tasks Before Apps and four ASCD quick reference guides, among other publications.

       

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