How to Keep Parents Engaged in School Activities Using an LMS
An LMS, or Learning Management System, is a digital software application that can be used to track a variety of materials and processes in a school system. But it can also be a supplemental learning tool, or a rescue for parents who suddenly find themselves engaged in homeschooling, with little or no preparation.
Public schools have the advantage of being required. For a virtual classroom, such as the one provided by Pedagogue, attracting parental attention can be a little bit more of a challenge, especially if the class is not attached to a formal school curriculum. Here are some ideas for gaining attention, then keeping it.
- Develop exciting ads about the content. Look for material that will draw parents attention, and will also engage student interest. Hire a professional to create videos or graphic material that will catch the eye. Modern parents and students are bombarded with bright, colorful, moving materials, so you have a lot of competition.
- Run your colorful ads where parents and student will see them. Grocery shopping pages, game pages, and websites where similar material to your content is displayed.
- Partner with a local school district. Talk to the principal or superintendent first to learn about the school’s policies. Bring your exciting video and your curriculum to the meeting.
- Create the learning on two or more levels. Walt Disney cannily developed his animated works on two levels: the silly slapstick for the kids, pointed social references for the adults. Good learning can appeal to people on all levels. Keep it simple, but do not talk down.
- Make it relevant. A frequent question from students of all ages is, “What does this have to do with me? Use examples and ideas that are kind, current, and correct to keep the attention of the whole family.
- Know your technology and your material. When you put material online, your handling of your presentation matters. Pictures or videos that will not load, or that run only on one browser, misspelled words, or misrepresented historical material create lack of trust in your material.
- Keep it Super Simple. In this context, the KISS method means using language at the level of the target age group. Use clear, relevant graphics that enhance the content. Give clear directions for activities, as well as create a way for students to upload their work or pictures of their work.
- Provide supplemental material for parents. Even the best educated people know only a small slice of the world’s knowledge. By providing instructor materials for the parents, you make them “in the know”. You can indicate whether materials will be needed to complete assignments.
- Above all, make it fun. Invite parents to take part, give them a role in developing the project, especially for younger children. The best learning involves an element of play for everyone.
- Create a small reward for students and parents. Everyone works a little harder if they get something fun at the end. It can be a virtual sticker, a short cartoon, or a story that might or might not have anything to do with the material.
Social Learning Management Systems, such as the one offered through Pedagogue, give new challenges to teachers. Unlike local dance, music, or gymnastics teachers, it is a little harder to take out an ad in the local newspaper or to post flyers in the supermarket.