The three central participants in effective learning are the student, the teacher and the parent. However, finding meaningful and effective ways to engage the oft-neglected third participant—the parent—can often prove quite difficult. Fortunately, Ultranet supports the creation of Parent accounts (manually or via SMS-LMS Interoperability), so the online medium can be leveraged to quickly and cost-effectively include them in the learning process.
Assessment and reports.
How often have you heard about report cards never making it home to parents because of a mysterious ‘interception’ along the way? Or what about parents wishing they knew how their child was performing earlier in the year, or more detail about how their child ranks against the national average?
With SMS-LMS Interoperability, this information can be transferred across to Ultranet and made available via the dedicated Parent Portal. Formal assessment results can be previewed as they were recorded in the SMS, and depending on the assessment type, details for each expanded on.
An option also exists to publish school reports into the Parent Portal, so these can be downloaded as a PDF rather than waiting for the printed copy to be distributed or mailed out.
Attendance and timetables.
If parents are concerned about what classes their child may have missed whilst ill, or are concerned that their child is not where they should be during the school day, SMS-LMS Interoperability also supports attendance records and timetable data.
Using the attendance history, parents can review how often their child has been marked present in class, and if any patterns in absence exist.
If uploaded into the Parent Portal, parents can also download a copy of their child’s timetable as printed from the SMS, so they can see where their child is meant to be on particular dates and times.
One of the key benefits of having Parent accounts active in Ultranet is the opportunities to build stronger ties between home and school, and introduce chances for the parent to engage with their child’s learning journey.
Once authenticated, parents firstly have quick access to an email centre to send through notes to the school alerting of absences, updating personal details, querying assessment results, or any general enquiries. They can also review their child’s weekly planner, so they can see homework or quizzes that need to be completed or other published milestones.
If the Message Centre is enabled as well, parents can communicate with their child’s teachers and identify areas where they can help out or get an update on their progress, rather than waiting for a report comment or interview feedback that comes too late to be acted upon.
One big opportunity for parent involvement is with the ePortfolio within uSpace. With a mapped account, parents have automatic access to their child’s uSpace profile to see samples of work that they are working on and review the feedback offered by their teachers.
If the teacher has utilised the formal commenting feature, parents can then participate in the conversation around the learning artefact, helping to identify their child’s strengths and weaknesses, and—most importantly—their next steps.