Registration: August 5-7, 2014
You plot and plan, create, worry, create some more, lose some sleep and then the day comes. Our school registration this year at RMMS was online. The parents then came to the school to turn in their paperwork, see the nurse, buy PE clothes…the things you have to do in person. We also asked them to watch 4 short iPad training videos and take 4 quizzes, to make sure they came away with good understanding (and have the opportunity for reteaching). The expected is not what made me take pause. The content: policies, citizenship, use, care. The couple of parents who wanted to opt out or the majority who were thrilled with the project. But the unexpected…now that’s a different story.
Our videos and quizzes were loaded onto a school technology site and we had a couple dozen chromebooks for the parents to use. You have to log into a chromebook to use it so I logged into all 35 or so and felt very accomplished. As I walked around and helped people to click the right place and answer question I noticed that every once and while the parents ended up at a place that allowed them to edit the quizzes. I navigated out and got them to the right place. I was a little overwhelmed at how many parents we had and how long it was taking some to finish the quizzes, so I put 1 and 1 together and still came up with 1. It was not until a very sweet student came to me and explained that her mom tried clicking the correct answer, but it didn’t work, so they typed in the correct answer in the spot that said “help text” that my nickels dropped and I realized what was going on. Every computer assumed I was the one working on it so, of course it gave editing privileges to everyone taking the quizzes. We quickly started logging into the computers using someone elses ID and I started fixing the quizzes. Every one of them had some sort of accidental change. The best one was the quiz that had every answer given right after the question was asked. Lesson learned.
Other unexpecteds: Parents may not speak English or Spanish. They may speak French, or Thai, or German. Or, they understand English, but they are deaf, so they cannot listen to the video. Parents may have never touched a computer before and their student is the one who did the online registration. It is quite an experience to see someone type for the first time. There is no good explanation for how the keys are laid out. It was heart wrenching to watch a parent search for every letter of their name in the mixed up mess that makes up our keyboards. Even tougher, the illiterate parents. They could not read the quizzes in either language. You have to give them credit, though. They watched the video and when the quiz was read to them they picked the correct answer. That takes all kinds of guts…to admit that you have to have someone else read to you. But they did it so that their kid can take home that iPad and learn all the things that they didn’t get the chance to learn.