As I put more information on webpages, video, on the computer for students to use at home, I am making myself more available to answer questions if the need arises. My students are special needs students, so if the parents have questions they can only ask the teacher for help. If the student has a question they need to text or video call, since they are auditory impaired. I feel perfectly comfortable for my parents to call and ask questions.
My question is this, how many out there are using video conferencing (FaceTime, Ovoo, or another) to speak to parents face to face with homework questions. Does anyone try to pre-answer questions and then put themselves answering those questions on web based program such as Voice thread, You tube, Vimeo? What are you doing out there in the digital world? How about you all who are Flipping your classroom? Are there any distance teachers? What about other teachers of hearing impaired students, what are you doing?
My homework assignments are pretty consistent, so they don't need a lot of explanation after the first few weeks of school. I post all my homework assignments online for viewing and printing, but I also provide hard copies at school. Students who lose their hard copies can re-print at school or at home. I also have assignments through google docs, so students can work together (or individually) outside of class without having to get together in person.
When I assign home projects, I include rubrics, pencasts, and occasional video samples (in addition to the actual assignment explanation).
However, if parents need clarification, I typicall do that through e-mail, phone, or in person.
Thanks for that. I always try to include everything I can when I send home assignments. I often run into the problem of non-english speaking parents, and students that only sign to non-signing parents. I think adding a video component is a great idea. I have used Voicethread in the past, and am starting to use it again.
Thanks for your input.
I share a short blog post regarding work we did in class each day. Homework is to finish anything that was not completed during class. I often include videos, links to related material, and .pdf files of assignments. Many parents tell me this helps them start conversations with their student about science. Parents know this tool is available and use it first when helping students with assignments. Both parents and students know I will respond to any email (usually within a few hours - even if school has ended.)
I am interested in hearing about blended classrooms and how the homework is accomplished in that setting.
I'm a bit "old-school," here, in that, parents who contact me still do so over email or plain old-fashioned texting (which isn't as common). I teach first grade, though, so I'm sure that's part of it. Most of the homework is fairly self-explanatory. Plus, I have a very flexible policy with students and families--that if you don't understand something or know what to do, simply bring it back the next day, and we'll discuss it or work on it, until things are clear. Of course, I make it clear, that I won't deal with abuse of the system, but, no, I haven't entered the full-techy realm in this area just yet. I admire all of you guys for doing so though. And, I have to add that I do get TONS of parent emails--not always homework items, but any and all items. I live by my email, every day, all week, night and day.
I am teaching a virtual class and I use a combination of texting, face time, screencasting and cell phone to communicate with parents. I take a survey at the beginning of the course to determine best mode of communication and store the results in a spreadsheet. Based on the responses, I use the suggested communication shared to keep parents up to date with student successes and short comings.
I agree with Lisa that e-mail is a valuable, critical communication link with parents. I wonder how many parents in Austin ISD do not have e-mail/internet connection. In this case, phone calls/texting would be quite important. I would like to add that, now that we are linked in these ways, we seem to be beholden to them. A friend and co-soccer coach of mine was irritated with me because he was not able to contact me on a Friday afternoon about soccer business (I had inadvertently left my phone at home). It made me consider leaving my phone home more often, but I realized how much I rely on my phone. I can always choose not to answer it.
i left my last school almost 5 years ago. at that time, i only had 1-2 parents who emailed me or responded over email. there were students during my 10 years there that did not have access to working phone numbers at home or with family members. contacting families was mostly done in person, as much as possible, as it was tough to communicate otherwise, in some cases. this was by no means, across the board, and i do think that technology has become consistently more available. however, within a cohort of teachers that i work with in the district, one did just mention the other day, that she doesn't correspond much with her students' families over email, as many don't have email addresses that are accessed consistently in her class. so, there's still a way to go, i think, until everyone can communicate with ease (of access) via technology.
Remind 101 is a great tool to use for sending out group texts to students and parents; especially if you do not have access to the computer but would like to use your cell phone to send out a quick text. The good news is you send a request to students/parents to join your remind 101 at the beginning of the year and they accept to automatically place their name in your Remind database. Only those students who accept the request are in your database, which will reduce the number of emails you will need to send out to share information. You send a group email with Remind 101 and all others will have alternative communication to share the information i.e. phone call, email, etc.
Yours is definitely a special case and there are a number of video solutions right now that would help facilitate teaching for the deaf. Our solution, Blue Jeans Network, helps folks connect via any call (whether it be Skype, Google, etc.) onto the same call. A call can even take place by browser, so all you need is a camera and an internet connection. We have a good handful of customers in the higher education space who use video in a variety of ways: one teacher was at the DNC and he communicated live to his students. While others use it to join multiple classrooms together- the possibilities run the gamut. In fact, one of our customers uses our service for deaf clientele. If I could be of any help, do let me me know. Here is our free trial for your perusal: Free Unlimited 14-day Trial - Video Conferencing| Blue Jeans - Thanks, Virginette