Technology Workshops

Technology workshops help parents, students learn the basics and more

A new school year has begun and with it an onslaught of new protocols, ways of learning and new technology.

With all of this newness came an opportunity for parents to become students once again. The Port Chester Public Schools is offering a series of workshops for parents and families to learn the basics of how to use the school-issued Chromebooks and the programs that students will be working with during remote and hybrid learning. Throughout the summer, the district prepared for the possibility of continuing the remote learning that had been introduced in the spring and offered instructional workshops for teachers. It occurred to the district’s technology team that if teachers needed a refresher, it was likely parents did too.

“We began to ask what about parents who may be tech savvy, but don’t understand Google Classroom?” said workshop instructor Estrella Marziani, who teaches English at Port Chester High School.

She described the series of workshops as “a crash course for parents.”

The workshops have been districtwide, with each elementary school hosting its own virtual workshops in the mornings one day a week. The middle and high school each host an evening once a week with three sessions running at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. For all the in-person events - Technology Tuesdays at the high school and Workshop Wednesdays at the middle school - participants need to bring their child’s Chromebook and everyone must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health and safety guidelines. At each session, Ms. Marziani provides the Spanish instruction and her co-teacher, Ms. Ruggerio, conducts the session in English.

“Our first workshop we called ‘Back to Basics.’ We presented it as this is your Chromebook, here is how you open it, here is the charger. These presentations are extremely basic, but it’s so helpful to them,” Ms. Marziani said.

Subsequent workshops included learning how to connect to WiFi and an introduction to Google Classroom.

“I can’t tell you how many emails I have gotten saying ‘thank you,’” Ms. Marziani said. “It was so helpful to them.”

“The initiative has made parents not be afraid,” she continued.

“We're thrilled to partner with our families and help them learn how to use educational technology in a remote learning environment,” fellow session co-host Veronica Ruggerio said.

Although the workshops are geared towards parents and guardians, students have attended as well.

This is especially true for the middle school Workshop Wednesdays.

As Ms. Marziani explained, people often assume that younger children are tech savvy, but that is not always true. Or they may be knowledgeable about the programs they use most but have to learn the Google platform. There are some who have never used a computer before.

“We take that for granted,” Ms. Marziani said, adding that now in some instances the mom, dad and child are learning to use the computer together.

“It is very rewarding, our community is united,” she said.

In this week’s sessions for both the high schools and middle school, parents were instructed to bring their headphones, so they could try them on and understand what their children experience during a Google Meet session with a teacher.

Both Technology Tuesdays and Workshop Wednesdays will continue through the week of Oct. 6. Ms. Ruggerio said the district will host future workshops to keep parents as up to date and engaged as possible.

“We'll continue to update the Parent Technology Google Classroom, so please check back frequently,” she said. “More parent technology resources will also be made available on the district website.”

Please note a new day for the middle school! The Workshop Wednesday will be held, for this week only, on THURSDAY, SEPT. 24!