Fall is on the way and that means the new school year begins. Schools are getting better about using technology not only in the classroom, but also to share information and stay in touch with parents during the school year. This means that parents need to know more about using tech also. Here is a list of tech things parents of students need to know as school starts again. If you are unsure how to do these things make sure you learn. Ask friends and family, school, or leave a question below and I will try to help.
- Access Grades Online
Many schools now have access to students grades online for parents and students to keep track of how they are doing throughout the year. This means no more surprises when report cards come out. Generally you will be provided the link to the site and you will either be given or need to create a username and password. Just go to the link and log in to see how your kids are doing any time of day or night.
- Refill Lunch Money Account
Another trend is to use services that you deposit money into, via a credit card or bank account, which serves as your child’s lunch money. The students have a pin number assigned to them and when they go thru the lunch line they just type that in and the total is deducted from their account. Learning how to add money online to this account is very helpful if your school uses this cashless system.
- Download School Calendars and Documents
Most school districts have the entire school year calendar online. This includes early release days, scheduled days off, etc. If your school is on top of things they will also have a calendar for the individual schools events like spirit days, testing days, sports, and the like. You can generally download and/or print out these calendars for easy reference. Schools may also have different documents and forms online for permission slips, applications to clubs, and other items that you should learn to access.
- Update Contacts
Be sure to add contacts for school to your phone’s contacts. Teachers, principals, attendance line, school counselors, etc. Include the name, position, email address, and phone number. If you do it at the beginning of the school year it will save you time searching throughout the entire school year.
- Learn to Scan Documents/Photos
Many home printers have scanners built in and there are also smartphone scanning apps. Scan documents, test papers, reports, photos, etc. that you want to keep for practical or sentimental reasons and save them to a specific folder, or better yet, the cloud, for easy access. This is also helpful for students working on projects or if they forget homework at home you could scan it and email it to the teacher!
- Saving Memories for Photo Book
As I mentioned above, you can scan in documents and photos for many reasons. One fun thing to do is scan or photograph papers, awards, art projects, and of course just some fun photos from the school year and collect them the entire school year. At the end of the year create a photo book using all the special memories you have saved and title the book with the grade and year. It’s a great memory to keep and far easier to store than all those actual items.
- Learn to Use the Cloud
If you do not already use a cloud storage service this is the time to learn. You can store all of these things we are mentioning there and then have easy access to them from any computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. Many students are now required to use cloud services themselves to keep assignments and work in and even to submit to their teachers.
- Learn to Use Thumb Drives
While many schools are moving to the cloud, which is more practical, there are some that still use thumb drives (or flash drives). These are those little sticks that store things that you plug into your device to access, change, view, etc. your documents and photos.
- Find Safe Search Engines
If you have younger children you want to make sure if they are working on homework at home that they are using a safe search engine. Both Google and Bing have safe search settings available. Check these out to make it safer for your kids to search, but remember parental guidance is still the best way for kids to have safer online experiences.
- Set Up a Shared Calendar
With busy school schedules, after-school activities, work schedules, doctor appointments, and so much more our lives are very busy. Create a shared calendar that everyone in your family can access and add or update as needed. Assign each family member a color or each activity type a color to help code your calendar for easy viewing.
- Explore Links from Textbooks and Teachers
Many textbooks, worksheets, school newsletters, and teacher’s notes have links to various websites. Take time to explore those resources and expand on your child’s learning at home.
- Apps, Apps, Apps
This is an entire other post I need to do. There are thousands of apps for your smartphone, tablet, computers, etc. that can help you and your kids stay organized, learn faster, and just make the school year easier and more fun. Stay tuned for a post with app suggestions next week!
Do you know how to do all of these things? Is there anything I have forgotten?