HearMeOut fostering teacher-parent classroom communication

An idea was born

Playing the role of both parent and teacher can revolutionize and innovate your ideas and thoughts. Well, that was the case for high school Spanish teacher Mark Sernatinger. As a proactive and involved parent and teacher, Mark saw a gap between parent and teacher communication. Mark made it his mission to address this area, and thus, the HearMeOut experiment was born.

Let’s paint the picture

Effective communication is essential for building parent-teacher partnerships. It promotes parent involvement in the classroom and forms solid relationships between parents and teachers. In today’s classroom setting, one form of updating parents of their child’s, daily activities and overall progress is through quick messages with ‘pictures’ or ‘snaps’ of moments throughout their child’s day. As a parent, Mark welcomed the images of his pre-school aged son smiling and painting as it made him feel connected and well-informed. Mark felt he could expand on this method of connecting with parents.

How the beast was tacked…aka the problem

It is a common occurrence for parents to ask their child after a day of school,“What did you learn in school today?”. Mark felt as though this question didn’t provide insight into specific events of his child’s day. A question such as, “I heard you are learning about chromosomes in science class from Mr Smith. Tell me more about it.” is more likely to promote a more thorough response by demonstrating care and engagement. “We show parents what is happening in our classes through pictures and text via Twitter. By using HearMeOut, I am also telling parents with my own voice.” The main goal of speaking to parents is to provide them with a window into a classroom setting so that they would be able to ask their son or daughter specific questions about the content being taught.

What was the experiment?

The experiment consisted of utilising social media as a way to reach out to parents by providing them with an inside scoop into ongoing classroom daily activity….but with an added twist. His twist consisted of adding voice notes to his ongoing posts. Mark used his Twitter handle as a means of distributing his HearMeOut voice notes. The idea of sharing and using Twitter for sharing information with parents was not a novel idea, however, Mark focused on integrating voice-notes into his post. A new idea to the social media world.

The plan of attack

Below is Mark’s detailed yearly plan outlining how he aimed to connect with parents/guardians.

  • Every week or so I will send a voice-note to the parents and guardians of all my students to update them on what we are doing in class. I will also be including them in some of our homework through these voice notes. Here is a step-by-step process of how I will execute this connection:

o Parents will join my teacher twitter account: @srmarcoTHS

o I have created three hash-tags for the three classes that I teach #esp2Hths, #esp3ths, #esp4ths

o I will be using an app from the company HearMeOut (@HearMeOutApp) to create voice-notes for the parents and guardians

  • This is a free app you can find for your iPhone or for your Android and it will enable you to record42-second voice notes.
  • This app can be linked directly to your Twitter account

o I will create a voice note through the @HearMeOutApp. I will then associate that voice note with one of my 3 hash-tags by putting it in the title of the voice note, and then I will post it to my Twitter account. If you want to see how it works, go to @srmarcoTHS and click on #marksernatingerblogpost.

  • My plan is to tell parents and guardians about what we have done in our class every couple of weeks. I will also ask parents and guardians to tweet questions and comments to my account so that they feel as though we are all working together as one team. My goal is to give parents a window into our classroom and to offer parents a little bit of that same feeling that I get every time I receive a message from my son’s preschool. I will write another blog post in October to let you know how the rollout of this project is progressing.

The results… F A S C I N A T I N G

 

Read more here

 

Why Voice Matters

Using our voices as a default means of communication used to be obvious, but the wonderful invention of the internet and smartphones that invaded our lives has changed the way we communicate with each other.
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