Relate, Research, Read, Record
Schools currently focus not only on rigorous academic studies, but also want to engage families in shared learning beyond the traditional parent attendance at student performances. Yet while families have always been celebrated as the first teachers of their children and as partners in school learning, ways to concretize that connection with meaningful shared family literacy projects and programs often elude educators and the family/parent coordinators hired in many schools to deliver that programming. Another factor complicating the development of family literacy engagement programs is the spectrum of multilingual families needing programming as well as the diverse educational and technology expertise backgrounds family adults bring to these shared learning experiences. Yet the connection is as easy as the educator, family coordinator or district family engagement administrator tapping the capacities and network of Chromebooks and other devices to enable a broad and growing spectrum of family members to meaningfully bond and authenticate digital literacy.
First, family members- from whatever linguistic or ethnic or technology expertise background, can bring in family photos or memorabilia or even passports, mail from distanced relatives and foreign or regional ephemera (travel tokens, movie tickets, menus, store receipts etc). They can use digital capacities of cell phones or scanners to impart these images into individual family files and then “relate”- talk about the family photos and other ephemera now part of a Chromebook curated online gallery, these discussions- recorded audio files can be in any language with students perhaps supplying translations. Of course, the various curated Family photos with family member and student voiced narrations can be informally shared with the other participating families in the during the school day or afterschool/weekend session. But even better, the managing teacher or family engagement coordinator can invite an extensive network of student and family peers to comment and to react plus post their own photos and ephemera inspired by these. Through the audio files including music capacity of the Chromebook and Google resources, these Family galleries can also be scored with personal or emblematic ethnic/cultural music. As a bonus, Chromebook curated family talks and exhibits because of audio and visual possibilities are immediately possible for all family members native English speakers or no and with assistance of managing teacher or coordinator past Chromebook family use or not!! As a bonus family members can if they wish add to their galleries by filling in family trees with images and dates- http://goo.gl/images/G7WCJv. Children in schools who do not have living or biological family members can be part of these Relate galleries by partnering with their caretakers or guardians and even richer “celebrating” a school staff members or neighbor’s family with a gallery multimedia exhibit.
Google Earth allows family members to punch in addresses and check out the building, house and street or place they grew up. The visual and data provided as well as the use of You Tube and other videos plus audio files to identify personalities and voices of adult family members’ political and cultural an musical past can through family members “researching” and “reading” together lead to ineffable literacy linked emotional bonding and family pride. Adult facilitators of these sessions can also model this research by having the entire family literacy group watch a television show from family member’s childhoods- Chromebooks allow for international watching as well- to motivate shared conversations. You Tube offers Writing Family History Templates https://goo.gl/images/ISt9kB
Which can be used if the objective is for family members to author a lengthier more formal online publication or share this with a district or local network or genealogy groups.
Sometimes the very best inspiration for families to share and to illustrate stories-memoir moments- can be by reading a model story. StoryStar-www.storystar.com-includes authentic children’s stories about their families. Check out “The Tiny Brother Problem” by ten-year-old Neha http://www.storystar.com/php/read_story.php?story_id=13557 which is clearly a peer story rooted in family sibling experiences. Reading these stories can set the stage for family members to author drafts which the adult facilitator can help edit and which can have shared online with others as desired.
In the beginning before the advent of even print technology much less 21st Century digital storytelling, families passed on through the oral tradition family stories, legends and values. Elder family members took time to sit down with their children to make certain that this family lore would be passed down through the generations. Today Story Corps among other oral history projects has taken that family lore legacy tradition to the 21st century. Chromebook Family literacy learners need not even leave their classrooms to have family members record stories for and with them. The structure and format for the recording of these stories can be examined by the family literacy group with the support of the facilitator on the Story Corps website – www.StoryCorps.org-. In addition, the site has a section with animations inspired by cultural family stories which can be tapped to motivate family graphic illustrations of their recorded stories. Check out-
A Chromebook centered Family Literacy program makes the 4 R’s of relating family date, researching family cultural and ethnic background, reading family stories and recording family histories, real, realizable, relevant and relatable for all family members of whatever linguistic, educational or technology fluency background. Technology is too often portrayed as disconnecting users from interaction and bonding. The 4 R’s confirm the power of Chromebooks to concretize online and in life in depth family emotional and social literacy links.
Dr. Rose Reissman
Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5
Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SECT) is a Publicly Traded Proud American Corporation, that develops, manufactures, and sells innovative consumer electronics under its brand name, Sector 5. Sector 5 markets its Chromebooks to educational organizations and other B2B’s, and B2C sales channels and distribution with retail sales on AMAZON. It is in development of several new products to serve both the educational, business