By Diane Strandberg
The Tri-City News
Want to know how your kids are doing in school?
There could be an app for that.
School District 43 is looking at ways to engage parents online and some will be canvassed next week for their ideas on what information they'd like to see and how they would like to receive it - including text messages or a smart phone app.
"We don't know what that will look like but [parents'] ideas will feed into some design work we might do over the next little while," said district technology services manager Brian Kuhn.
Kuhn also wants to talk about ways students could do their school work on the district's My43 site, such as on a password-accessible student space, and parents will be asked how laptops and other internet devices should be funded in the future.
His presentation will take place Tuesday, Feb. 15 at a District Parent Advisory Council meeting at Pinetree secondary.
"Where do PACS and DPACs fit in terms of equity and fairness because not all families are able to provide technology," said Kuhn, who is in the midst of developing a code of rights and responsibilities for school use of the internet.
The code will explain proper conduct online and provide information about legal, privacy and copyright rules that govern internet use.
Kuhn said the district has to take care that students aren't exposed to inappropriate material or bullying online, and the code will also lay out guidelines about how to maximize the internet for education purposes so bandwidth isn't wasted.
While the district is looking at a long-term plan to perhaps connect to Coquitlam's fibre optic network and is putting in tools to free up bandwidth, students and teachers still need to learn how to make the most of scarce resources.
Kuhn said parents will see videos about how technology is used in schools and Castle Park principal Dave Sands will offer some tips on how to keep their kids safe online.
"My view of parenting is - and I've got three older kids and so I survived - it's kind of an evolution from a dictatorship to a democracy. They're not going to want them there and you're not going to be there and it's different for every kid," Kuhn said, adding that parents should instil safety rules early so that as their children get older, they take fewer risks.
Tuesday's meeting will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Pinetree secondary school library. There is no cost for this event and childminding is available if need is indicated during registration. To confirm, visit www.dpac43.org and click on Parent Education. Pinetree secondary is located at 3000 Pinewood Ave., Coquitlam, next to Douglas College.