If you’re interested in improving parental engagement with your school, you’re in luck. Bett 2017 has several must-visit areas.
The first one is, of course, Groupcall at stand B188. As well as being able to speak to staff there about the range of products offered, you will also be able to watch a rolling presentation about Emerge, Xpressions, Xporter and Messenger. It lasts for just over seven minutes, and is worth the small investment in time. That’s because although it doesn’t give any information about how the products work, it does provide a very good overview of what they do, and the areas of school life they address. Even if your school already has the products, it’s always useful to have a reminder about their features.
(Incidentally, although Groupcall are not doing any formal presentations on their stand, Stuart Abrahams, their Commercial Director, is doing a 25 minute one in the Microsoft partner village at 12noon on the Wednesday. It’s entitled, Microsoft School Data Sync in practice and is about the benefits of Office 365 integration and Single Sign-On.)
The remaining ones are all seminar presentations on the subject of parental engagement in one guise or another. Obviously, I cannot guarantee whether they will be useful to you and your school at the moment, but hopefully you’ll be able to make an informed choice as to which, if any, you decide to attend.
By the way, in my experience you shouldn’t be put off by the location: just because something takes place in the Primary theatre, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be irrelevant to secondary colleagues, and vice versa. So do check the blurb before you decide.
Texting parents to raise attainment, 13:30 - 14:00 Venue: Learn Live Secondary Theatre
This talk is about research showing that texting parents about tests and homework can improve exam results and reduce absenteeism.
Inspiring the uninspired - Strategies to engage parents, teachers and learners with the power of technology, 14:15 - 14:45 Venue: Learn Live Primary Theatre
This is a ‘showcase’ talk in which two teachers give examples of how they’ve used technology to ‘hook parents’, amongst other things.
Bridging the digital divide, 17:15 - 17:45 Venue: Learn Live Secondary Theatre
This is a panel discussion chaired by myself. While it’s not specifically about engaging parents, it’s difficult to imagine a discussion on this topic that does not bring parents into the equation.
The hidden insights you can find by truly listening to your students, teachers and parents, 14:40 - 15:00
This is a short talk about what you can learn from feedback from parents, pupils and staff. Unfortunately, no venue has been given, so you will need to keep checking the Bett website for the information: http://www.bettshow.com/Seminar/The-hidden-insights-you-can-find-by-truly-listening-to-your-students-teachers-and-parents
Panel discussion - Working together to tackle cyber safety challenges: Parent, teacher and student perspectives, 16:20 - 16: 55 Venue: Bett Futures
This discussion looks at how everyone in a school can mimosa the risks of going online, including cyber-bullying. Given that Safer Internet Day comes almost straight after Bett, on 7th February, this may well be worth putting in your diary.
Involving children and parents in your whole-school online safety policy and practice, 11:15 - 11:45 Venue: Learn Live Primary
In September 2016, it became a statutory requirement that all children should be taught safeguarding principles at school. This is a talk by Katy Potts, an advisor of many years’ standing at Islington LA. She’ll be giving attendees a free pack of online safety lessons and assemblies to take away. Again, it might be useful with Safer Internet Day in mind.
How to embrace PR and social media to promote your school to new students and parents, 13:30 -14:00 Venue: School Leaders Summit Stream 2
Wouldn’t it be great to have a waiting list for your school? This talk is about how one school engages pupils, parents and staff.
The parent trap: using technology to get home-school communications right, 15:00-15:30 Venue: Learn Live Primary
This is a talk about how technology can be used to develop good relationships with parents.
Case study - Strategies to improve parent awareness: Using digital badges and webinars to allow parents to engage fully with their children's learning, 11:15 - 11:35 Venue: Bett Futures
This looks at how one school used video and other technologies to keep parents updated and engaged.
With such a large choice, you should find something to inspire you!
Terry Freedman publishes the ICT & Computing in Education website, and the Digital Education newsletter. His latest book is called Education Conferences: Teachers’ Guide to Getting the Most out of Education Conferences, available at http://viewBook.at/conferences