Video conferences - an alternative to phone calls

by 1:02 PM 0 comments
Screenshot from the YouTube clip I sent to parents of my
homeroom if I didn't see them at PT Conferences. 

Hi everyone. I know, it's been a while.

You look great by the way! Working out? Doing some running? Just chasing the kids around?

Anyway, I thought I'd update my blog because I had a little time, and I kind of want to brag. Let's start at the beginning (always a good place to start).

I have a homeroom class that some might call challenging. Unfortunately, it's also difficult to contact parents - whether by phone, email, text, conferences, whatever way. Well, at least, it's very difficult to tell if the right people are getting my messages if I leave them.

"I'm going to be honest here: I'm not a huge fan of making parent phone calls..."

After a recent tech conference, I knew that there would be tons of ideas flowing. And it just so happened that conferences were the next week. I'm going to be honest here: I'm not a huge fan of making parent phone calls because I'm not exactly the bearer of good news a lot of the time.

Enter the idea. Okay, I know. It's taken me five paragraphs to get to the point where the title is finally brought up. It's been a while since I've blogged. 

MediaCore Capture from the Chrome Store.

During a summer session that another awesome teacher (Kayla) and I presented Google Tools for the Classroom, we thought of the idea to recreate the session so district employees could watch it on their own time. We used the aforementioned MediaCore Capture to do just this. And since the app was already on my browser, what better way to try something new than to use what I already know in a different way.

So, I recorded myself looking at grades and talking about attendance, while allowing the parent to see the grade book for themselves. I limited myself to two minutes max. I know this isn't a new idea. And it only allows for one-way communication. But it seems to have done the job.

Questions? I know there are a few.

How easy is it? Once MediaCore Capture (or whatever app you want to use) is downloaded, recording the video is generally just the push of a button.

How did you send it to them? What I did was downloaded the file, and uploaded it to YouTube as an Unlisted video (keeping the privacy to those who have the link). I then either emailed it or sent it via text message through my Google Voice number (so I can just copy and paste the link). Now there was a little back-work here to get preferred contact methods and up-to-date phone numbers, but I would have done that anyway.

How do you know if they watched? Easy! Just know that I watched it (sometimes twice) and look at the times viewed. Also, all but three of my parents either sent a text back or an email saying how much they appreciated the video! The most verification of communication I've received in the two years I've had this homeroom group.

I don't have that much time. How much time did it take? Because I limited myself to two minutes max (most were about 90 seconds), I think I spent about two plan periods to do this (about the same amount of time of calling each kid and either leaving a message or making contact).

So, for me, it was worth it. I think it's something I can definitely do once a month. If a kid needs more attention, I can use the other methods as well, but I know that sometimes parents just want to see who is helping their kids as much as getting a text or email.

I know because I do for my two little girls.

What do you think? Post questions or your own methods for parent communication in the comments section below!




I do a lot of things. The best thing I do is fathering (I think). I'm the ol' "Jack of all trades, Master of none." I teach aspiring journalists. I run. I play guitar(s). I also host a running podcast. Oh, and I dabble in drawing. And I dabble in authoring... children's books no less. I just dabble. Sometimes I ramble.


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