After reading about this event that elementary and high school districts in suburban Chicago were sponsoring, I was motivated to coordinate a similar event for parents in Portland and the surrounding metropolitan area. Educate & Engage 2016: The Parent-Teacher Conference happened last Saturday and brought together regional education leaders to facilitate sessions offering parents an opportunity to hear about the roles and implications of technology both in and out of today’s modern classroom. With technology changing so rapidly, I often feel like there is a disconnect in terms of what a lot of parents understand about technology and how it is being used in schools today. Organizing this event was a response to that problem.
As this was the first time hosting such an event, parent turnout was small, but those in attendance indicated that they had meaningful conversations about their kids and technology. Some of the topics included sessions on social media, making and tinkering, Google Apps, cyberbullying, coding and computer science, 21st century skills and more. I’m very grateful to have a professional learning network that volunteered their time to facilitate these discussions with parents and answer questions. The long-term intention is to host other Educate & Engage events across the state in different districts. The framework has now been set up so that others can replicate this kind of parent-teacher conference within their own communities.