Future Focused Community Engagement

by Sandy  •  12 Aug 2014  •  Pedagogy, Showcase

Earlier this year in  “Building Home / School Partnerships” we blogged about sharing ideas on ways to connect and communicate with your community by integrating Ultranet Webpages, other Social Media Tools and Virtual Classrooms. Today I want to explore this theme further and take a brief look into why it is so important to engage with our communities and what this engagement might look like.

In her article “Community Engagement and the New Zealand Curriculum” (2010), Ally Bull argues that there is a need to think carefully about what community engagement might mean in a future-focused curriculum, and how  important this is now if schools are to start laying the foundations for tomorrow’s interactions with community. She discusses the need to “reframe” community engagement so that this goes beyond just informing parents about what is happening at school.

If the purpose of community engagement is for the community to engage collaboratively with schools in decisions about curriculum, and if we want schools to have a 21st century curriculum, then it is important that the wider school community has the opportunity to engage with future-focused ideas about education.

So, in the context of 21st Century eLearning Pedagogy, what are these future focused ideas we should be exposing our community to?

Take a look at the presentation below, originally developed for a Community Information Evening at Omanu School.  It explores  ideas around Digital Literacy, the Industrial Age vs the Knowledge Age,  Multiliteracies and Digital Citizenship in a fun, catchy style designed for both a student and  community audience.

The presentation explores these themes and is then contextualised to Omanu School in terms of their vision and plan for elearning and the role of Ultranet within this. There is a purposeful endeavour by the school to extend their vision for eLearning by developing a “shared language of learning”  with the community.

The immediate  “take away” ideas from this presentation are that…

  • Ultranet gives the school control over the way aspects of  learning are published and shared with parents and the wider community.
  • Ultranet supports and encourages home-school partnerships which can contribute to raising levels of achievement.
  • Ultranet provides a forum for secure social networking where children can start to learn how to become good digital citizens. Staff and students work together to develop protocols for appropriate use of this tool as they set off on their journey as digital citizens.
  • Ultranet provides opportunities for 21st century learning by helping teachers to blend the  curriculum with ICT and with a more personalised approach to learning.

The school’s online “Community Zone” provides the community with further support and access to the school’s vision for elearning and home/school partnerships. Expectations for  Online Safety, Social Networking and Participating Online are established and shared and the school continues to explore opportunities to reframe their community engagement practices through opening up their Parent Portal.


If you would like to find out more about how the Ultranet Parent Portal can help you build on your existing home/school partnerships or if you would like a similar presentation personalised for use at a community evening then please do get in touch with us at info@ultranet.co.nz.