I have just returned from three days visiting’ Our Nations Capital’ Canberra. Canberra is a popular Year 6 excursion, since all stage three Australian students have to learn about Democracy and Government. It is also usual to try and cram in as many of its attractions as possible while there and so on our trip we visited the following places.
The National Film and Sound Archives
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and an education session
A guided tour of New Parliament House and an education session
A guided tour of The National Gallery of Australia
The Australian Electoral Commission, with an interactive education session
The Australian War Memorial, including a guided tour and self guided exploration
The National Museum of Australia
The Australian Institute of Sport, for a tour and hands on session
A self guided tour of Questacon
What was new for us this year though, was that prior to leaving I had sent out an email to the parents of year 6, reminding them that we would be using social media to connect from camp. At my school we have a twitter account which all classes can use while on excursions and camps as well as a private Instagram account. We also have class blogs which can be updated from a phone using the edublogs app.
We had three days jam packed with activities and all the while we kept our parent body informed of our whereabouts with photographs and blog posts using only three teachers i-phones. Mr A had only just purchased his first smart phone but he soon became a whiz at using the app Instagram to send out photographs. Mrs W took to twitter and I used them all, even writing two blog posts while on the go. The only problem we encountered was the need to charge my older phone while on the go but thanks to our helpful bus driver Ken, we were able to do that using a charger that plugged into his cigarette lighter.
The overwhelming parent response has been positive. Viewing and reading about our trip as it happened allayed fears and helped anxious parents and children to feel closer to each other. It gave a unique ‘on the go’ perspective of our many activities. It was a fun way for us to communicate and it helped staff back at school know what we were up to. It has also made me aware of the pressing need to offer more parent education in how to use social media themselves. I had assumed most of them would already know what Instagram was, when in fact many did not. Since their own children are rapidly taking to communicating in this way, I know it is vital that we assist our parents in catching and keeping up. We all need this so that we can monitor and help keep our children’s digital footprints as honest and safe as possible.
Further posts on this topic:
Communicating from Camp – How we used social media to communicate from camp earlier this year.
A room with a view – Do you understand just what your teenager might be using Instagram for?