My First Blog Post

Thanks for visiting!

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Capstone Project: Home School Connection


Describe the target audience for this series (grade level bands, parents, community members, admin, other teachers at a conference, museum staff).  

The target audience for this project would be classroom teachers.

What is a topic you’d like to tackle with colleagues that involves technology integration and education? 

The topic is choosing a parent portal that best fits our needs to best communicate with families.

What is the evidence that there is a need or a problem in this area? 

The problem is that our teachers use several different parent portals and that makes it difficult for families who have more than one child in the system.  Our leadership team decided that it would be more effective to use one parent portal throughout the entire school. That way we can provide training and support for teachers and families on that specific portal. 

How will you design the professional development so it is about an idea (digital citizenship, engagement, autonomy, global collaboration) not about a tool?

The professional development will be designed around the idea of family engagement and building community.

Invitation to Learn

Click here to find out more about this professional development series!


  1. Building Relationships Between Teachers and Parents

Watch this TEDx Talk by Megan Olivia Hall to hear about building relationships between teachers and parents.  Hear about how becoming a parent transformed her teaching.

  1. Relationship Building

Watch this video created by San Bernardino teachers on how important parent communication is and for some practical suggestions on how this can be accomplished.

  1. 8 Ways to Communicate with Parents in 2019

Visit this website for tips on how to communicate with parents in today’s digital age.  Learn more about blogs, podcasts, email, social media, communication apps, and more!  

  1. Teacher and Parent Relationships

Watch this TEDx Talk by Cecille Carroll to hear about how building relationships with parents improved her community.  Hear about her perspective as a parent and community organizer.  

  1. 3 Great Ways to Power Up Parent Communication

Watch this quick 3 minute video to learn 3 ways to power up your parent communication.  This video is helpful because it includes a teacher’s perspective.

  1. Power Up Your Parent Communication

Visit this resource to learn more about ways to power up your parent communication.  You will find a helpful 3 minute video and downloadable cheat sheets for teachers on how to be proactive when communicating with families.  

  1. Remind

Visit this website to learn more about how Remind can connect you with families.  Remind is a quick and easy way to send a message to families. You can send a text right to their phone!

  1. Remind Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on Remind as a way to communicate with families.

  1. ClassDojo

Visit this website to learn more about how Classdojo can be used as a way to communicate with families.  ClassDojo is a great way to document and reward behaviors and it has a few free features including a way to monitor volume and create groups.

  1. ClassDojo Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on ClassDojo.

  1. SeeSaw

Visit this website to learn more about SeeSaw as a way to keep families connected.  SeeSaw can be used as a platform for assigning activities, posting student work, and communicating with families.  You can also use SeeSaw as a blog to connect with a broader audience.

  1. SeeSaw Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on SeeSaw.

Digital Citizenship

What are two elements of digital citizenship that you will focus on during this professional development? Please describe why you selected and how you’ll address  them.

  1.  Digital Access
    1. I selected digital access because we live in a community that is growing and changing every day but still need to consider our families who live in poverty.  We can’t assume that everyone has access to a smartphone, desktop computer, or wifi.  
    2. It is important that the parent portal we choose is free and as accessible as possible for families.  
  2.  Digital Communication and Collaboration
    1. I selected digital communication and collaboration because communication is the basis of my entire capstone project.  
    2. It is important to address what kind of information will be shared with families and how this tool will be used.  

Provide at least one handout that you created for your colleagues with regards to your two elements of digital citizenship 

Learn more about Digital Access and Digital Communication and Collaboration here.

Session Design and Delivery

  • Click here for the google form to assess what participants already know.
  • What evidence in the professional development suggest that the learning environment supports andragogical principles?
  • In what ways does this tap into, and extend teacher interest or school goals?
    • Our school is part of the Greater Schools Partnership and communication has been a goal on our action plan for the past three years.  This project would address our communication with families goal.
  • How does the environment and unit offer a variety of ways to explore and express ideas?
    • We will have a shared folder on Google Drive for participants to use.  Participants will have a choice on how they will present ideas within small groups and with the whole group.  I will provide support on how to create a screencast or a short presentation.
  • What structures and tools will you use to enable your learners to work collegially and to contribute to the community of learners?
    • This professional development series will be spread out over five sessions.  During these five sessions we will meet first as a whole group, then participants will meet with a small group who is using the same tool to determine pros and cons, then participants will meet with a small group who are all using different tools to explore other tools, finally we will meet back together as a whole group to report out consider making a decision.  

Instructional Map

How might we best communicate with families using technology?
StandardDescribe the connection
  Leader  Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student                        empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:2aShape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.
This professional development series focuses on determining the best way to communicate with families, therefore  empowering student learning by connecting the most important education stakeholder, their families.  

What  are 2-3 learning outcomes from the professional development? 

Series Learning Outcomes
Learners will determine what is important when communicating with families.
Learners will examine tools for communicating with families.
Learners will evaluate tools for communicating with families.

Outline the Learning

1) Session Title2) Session Learning Outcome3) Steps and resources
IntroductionParticipants will understand why communication with families is important to student success.Participants will determine what is important information to share with families.Participants will meet in a whole group for a presentation.  Home School Connection.pptx
Pros and ConsParticipants will determine the pros and cons of current parent portal.Exploring Parent Portals Session 1
Participants will meet in a small group with others who are using the same tool.  Participants will come up with a list of pros and cons.
Small Group ExplorationParticipants will present the pros and cons of current parent portal.Participants will examine other parent portals.  Exploring Parent Portals Session 2
Participants will meet in a small group with others who are using a different tool.  Participants will share the list of pros and cons.Participants will explore other parent portals by clicking on the links to the website and reviews.

Report OutParticipants will reflect on the different parent portals.Participants will evaluate the different parent portals.Participants will meet again with the small group with others who are using the same tool.  Participants will reflect on all of the different parent portal.  Participants will discuss which parent portal would be the best fit.  

Final ThoughtsParticipants will share final thoughts and rate each tool.Parent Portal Rating Scale
Participants will meet back in a whole group to rate each tool and discuss next steps.  

Instructional Aids & Supporting Documents

Supplemental Slides: Home School Connection

  1. Parent Portal Rating Scale
  2. Tips on Communicating With Parents
  3. Intro to Communication Tools We Already Use

How will you know if your sessions reach the goals? Professional Development Evaluation

Self Assessment

How is this professional development be different than what you would have planned prior to EDT 520? 

This professional development is different than anything I had planned prior to this course because it focused on technology and included videos that I made myself.  As a literacy coach, all of the professional development I was responsible involved reading and writing instruction and was often in the form of a book study.

Outcome 1 Read and synthesize literature and research on educational technology to support personal experiences and deepen conceptual knowledge:  The most valuable reading I did before this project was on andragogy and supporting adult learners.  Adults need to know why they are learning something so I included several videos in the resources section that showcase why communicating with families is so important.        

Outcome 2 Engage with peers and professional learning network through a variety of modalities to lead and contribute to discussions on educational technology to support deeper reasoning:  This was my weakest of the four outcomes.  I used Google Groups to collaborate with group members but did not have a lot of success with it.  I did bounce ideas off of our computer teacher, media specialist, and leadership team. Most of our interactions were face to face and I now wish I had used a google doc so I could share it here.  

Outcome 5 Demonstrate fluency with new educational tools, and articulate the affordances and constraints of such tools to support educational practice:  I researched three different communication tools that I had limited experience with including; SeeSaw, Remind, and ClassDojo.  This project was designed around and for leveraging media. Two of the tools teachers will explore will not only be used by parents but could also be used by students to demonstrate understanding of a lesson.  I also used the checklist for selecting technology for learning when I planned the sessions.     

Outcome 6 Plan for educational experience (of K-12 students or adults learners) that demonstrates the ability to use educational technology, sound educational philosophy, and plan for local context:  I planned this professional development with Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction in mind. I began the first session by building prior knowledge and asking open-ended questions.   I used technology to create google forms, handouts, introductory video, presentation, and a screencast.    

Aguilar, E. (2016). The art of coaching teams: building resilient communities that transform schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Crowley, B. (2019, February 19). Connecting a Classroom: Reflections on Using Social Media With My Students. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2015/09/09/connecting-a-classroom-reflections-on-using-social.html.

LaMotte, A. (n.d.). How to Design Your E-Learning Course Using Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction – E-Learning Heroes. Retrieved from https://community.articulate.com/articles/how-to-design-your-e-learning-course-using-gagne-s-9-events-of-instruction.

Pasquini, L. (2019, August 12). Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning. Retrieved from https://techknowtools.com/2015/04/03/checklist-technology-learning/.

Professional Inquiry Project

  1. Describe Your Inquiry

How might we use technology to consistently communicate effectively with families?

My professional inquiry project will focus on choosing an online portal that is the best fit for our school.  Our principal allowed us to choose which portal we preferred to use as a grade level this year with the expectation that we will all be using the same portal throughout the school next year.   As part of our Leadership Team, I volunteered to take on the responsibility of this task. As of right now we have teachers using Dojo, Remind, and Seesaw. My inquiry project focuses on how we will go about choosing a portal to use and the professional development and training needed to successfully launch the portal for the next school year

2. What course essential question are you investigating? Please include the question you are focusing on and describe the connection.

DHow might we use knowledge of andragogy and pedagogy to enhance our ability to leverage educational technology for teaching and learning

My inquiry project connects to this essential question because the home-school connection is so important for student success.  Building relationships and opening lines of communication with families is one of the most important things we can do as educators.  

3. What two course outcomes are you demonstrating proficiency with? For each please explain how you see your work as demonstrating mastery of the outcome.

2Demonstrate fluency with new educational tools, and articulate the affordances and constraints of such tools to support educational practice
3Plan for educational experience (of K-12 students or adults learners) that demonstrates the ability to use educational technology, sound educational philosophy, and plan for local context

Course Outcome 2: For this project I will explore the tools teachers are using now to see and examine the pros and cons of each.  I will conduct surveys so I have input from teachers and families.      

Course Outcome 3:  Once a tool is chosen, I will plan professional development and provide tutorials for staff and families. 

4. Find at least three scholarly articles from the library.  These sources should be studies of how your topic connected to improve outcomes or experiences.  For each sources

  1. Annotation in APA format
  2. Brief summary of the article and connection to your inquiry

Pynoo, B., Tondeur, J., van Braak, J., Duyck, W., Sijnave, B., Duyck, P. (2012).  Teachers’ acceptance and use of an educational portal.  Computers & Education.  58, 1308-1317.

     This article was written in 2011 but I thought most of the data collected would still be relevant today.  In this study the acceptance of an educational portal is assessed based on usage data and an online acceptance questionnaire.  Research indicates that a positive attitude toward using a portal and that the portal meets the expectations of its users is vital.  Teacher attitudes depended on two major factors: perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. This research study found that most teachers use the basic aspects of an e-learning environment and only a minority of teachers utilize the more advanced functions.  The implications of the study are that it is very important for schools to provide training and resources to support teachers in the use of an educational portal. Also, it is essential that schools choose a portal that is easy to use and create an environment that supports and encourages use of the portal.

I chose this article because it is important to think about everyone who is going to be impacted by the decision we make. This article also gave me some ideas on what I am going to include in the teacher surveys.

Goodall, J.S.  (2016). Technology and school-home communication.  International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning.  11, 2, 118-131.  

This article focuses on how supporting learners requires communication between school and families.  Goodall examines home-school communication with an emphasis on how it can be supported by digital technologies.  Digital technologies include technology-based systems, websites, email, and social media. Communication is explained as the passing of information from one to another and the receiver has the capability of a response, although the receiver is not required to respond.  The article emphasizes that the value and importance of parental engagement has been studied and published over and over again with the same results. According to the sociocultural theory of learning, In order for it to be successful the school must work collaboratively and respectfully with families.  Positive parental attitudes have been connected to children’s development and achievement. In essence, children whose parents model positive attitudes towards school will eventually develop similar beliefs. These students will achieve higher grades, adapt better to school, have better attendance, develop positive peer relationships, and continue in education for longer.  One way to build a more positive relationship with parents is to explain ideas in terms they are likely to understand. When parents receive positive and useful communication they are likely to be more involved. 

Technology has changed the way people communicate because it not only allows you to relay a message, but to also send a picture or video.  Technology also allows schools and parents to share information quickly and easily and stores it all in one place. Studies found that a simple texting system made a significant impact on parental support of their child’s learning.  It is suggested that schools adopt a holistic approach that is led by senior leaders toward using technology to communicate. Some recommendations are that any decisions made should be based on parental needs and capabilities and no decision should be made without careful investigation and discussions with parents.  

I chose this article because as we prepare to roll out teacher portals I am anticipating some resistance and it is important to have research that supports the use of an online portal.

Edwards, T.  (2016). Communicating Connecting with parents.  Leadership.  2, 6, 8-10.

This article focuses on connecting with families and showing families that you care.  Edwards points out that anyone can communicate with someone, connecting takes more of an intentional effort.  Edwards points out that connecting is less about transferring information and more about building relationships and trust.  Parental engagement increases when parents feel respected and valued. The ultimate goal of a home-school connection is to create a trustworthy atmosphere where families feel like participants in the journey of their child’s education.  The end result is successful students who go on to make a difference in society.

I chose this article because in our school our primary use for a teacher portal is to communicate with parents. This article supports our philosophy that connecting with families is a key to student success.

5. How did your inquiry question support your professional growth?  How do you know that your work advanced your learning?

This inquiry project really forced me to sit back and think about how using technology to communicate with parents would impact everyone involved.  It brought up the following questions:

-How can we ensure that teachers and families have a voice in the decision making process?

-How will teachers be expected to use this tool?  

-How can we prioritize that teachers and families have support in using the new tool?

-Will this eliminate paper notices and newsletters?

-What about the families who do not have access to the internet?

This project also helped me think about rolling out change from a leadership perspective.  I am planning to take leadership courses soon and planning this project has shown me how much work goes into making just once decision.  

6. Report out on the effects, pros and cons of your small group (PLN) interactions using multimedia tools.  Reflect on your growth in terms of accessing and participating in your PLN.

Google Groups:  I had a hard time joining Google Groups and every time I wanted to ask my group a question I had to login and search for it.  I did not receive any email updates either. I tried connecting with my group a few times without success. I felt discouraged and eventually gave up.  I am making the assumption that we are all feeling a little over our heads this time of year and are investing a lot of time and energy into our own projects and don’t have the time to check our group messages and provide help to our group.      

8. Provide evidence of your work, this can be photos, screenshots, videos, certificates, links, badges earned, ect.

Wednesday, 11/13
90 minutes
Searching Fogler Library online to find scholarly articles that connected to my professional inquiry.  I bookmarked 11 articles on my phone to read at a later date.  
Thursday, 11/14
120 minutes
Reading the articles and narrowing down the ones that would be most useful in answering the essential question I chose.  
Sunday, 11/17
60 minutes
Connecting my professional inquiry to our course essential questions and outcomes.
Monday, 11/18
90 minutes
Reading/Highlighting scholarly articles and searching for online resources.
Friday, 11/22
90 minutes
Summarizing scholarly articles.
Saturday, 11/23
180 minutes
Putting it all together. Creating new blog (SeeSaw did not seem like a good fit for this project) and posting to it.

9. What are the best four resources you found in this work?  Please make sure these are hyperlinked. Explain briefly how each would be used (background, context, how-to, teacher-use, student-use).


 Not only did this resource affirm that we are using three apps in our school that to-picks, it also provides reviews on each app.  


This is the resources I plan to use when creating the surveys for parents and teachers.  The results will be used by the leadership team to determine the portal that would be the best fit for our school.


This resource provides some background information on Seesaw as an educational tool and some tutorials on its features.  Teachers will explore this resource during staff meeting time.  


This resource provides some background information on ClassDojo as an educational tool and some tutorials on its features.Teachers will explore this resource during staff meeting time. 


This resource provides some background information on Remind as an educational tool and some tutorials on some of its features.  Teachers will explore this resource during staff meeting time.   

10. What are your next steps from this inquiry?

My next steps are to:

-Determine expectations around using an educational portal with our leadership team

-Create a survey for teachers and parents (user friendliness, cost, accessibility, star rating)

-Create an account for each of the portals we are considering and play around with them

-Make a tutorial for each one that includes affordances and constraints

-Design professional development and plan training for teachers

-Plan a family night

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