2Unite3-Getting Beyond 15 Minutes

Teacher and parents can become more informed, involved, and engaged through tools they use in their everyday lives.

Photo of Karen Sorensen
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Original Posts https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fnB-qibIQC3o8GtxpCYjkJLhL1wLig2mHOM5PIW0beY/edit?usp=sharing

Parents and teachers have the greatest influence in a child’s life. All parents want their children to be successful and a teacher plays a major role in a child achieving success. They have mutual interests. However, they communicate little with each other. Some parents, never meet there child’s teacher. Students spend 782 hours per year with a teacher, a parent with a teacher 15-20 minutes per year.

How to Get Beyond 15 minutes

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With the start of the 21st Century, ICT (Information Communication Technologies) are being disrupted at a scale that we have not seen since the 15th Century invention of the Guttenberg Press. The way we communicate now is much different than even just 5-10 years ago. The raise of mobile devices has changed how we live today. The following is a Pew Report graphic that shows the growth of Smartphone usage by age. Texting, email, and video chat is how a majority of people today communicate.

the idea

The idea took the premise, if teachers and parents communicated through digital channels that they do in their personal life's then the frequency of communication would increase through more access to information, chances for involvement, and opportunities for engagement. We started with a diagram of how communication channels ideally would look between teachers and parents. One consideration we had from the beginning is whatever was going to be developed needed to be easy to use for teachers and parents.

ICT Communcations Flow

how do teachers and parents communicate?

We wanted to find out how teachers communicate with friends, family, and parents. Was it different? We developed a survey of Teacher and Parents Communication to learn more. The raw data can be found by clicking on graphic. 

Thank you to all in the Teachers Guild, IDEO, RSA, and supporters with helping us with this survey. What we found out was it was very useful to moving forward.  Also, we created a Parent to Teacher Communication Survey but unfortunately, we didn't have enough survey results to us to create anything meaningful.  We are still looking for people to take this survey.

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The survey gave great insight and provided key findings into how teachers communicate with friends and family, and with their students parents. 

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We developed a wire-frame mock-up of a mobile app that offered communications through text, email, and voice that utilized productivity applications of contacts and calendar. We wanted to start the discussion with teachers about how they develop their websites since they indicated it was one of the top ways they communicated with parents. 

The prototype type is designed to be viewed in Powerpoint some of the buttons do provide interactivity in the presentation.  The prototype is in the attachment area.

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teacher tested

User Profile: Paula is an honored veteran teacher for 40 years, she just retired after the 15-16 school cohort.  She was a HS English and PE teacher, and Athletic Department Director in a high preforming school in Cupertino,CA. The school has a rich history of being technology advanced and was the school that Steve Jobs attend and met Steve Wozniak.  The students, teachers, and parents have a high degree to access to technology, which is above the national norm. 

In Paula's personal life,  her smartphone is her number one tool to go to.  uses many apps, geo-positioning, camera, video, etc...  She is an avid Geocacher, and basically could not live without her phone. However, she did not know how to use her school communication tools besides email, content, calendar, and website services that are all laptop or desktop based.

She felt that 95% of other teachers at her school used the system, but because she was a PE Teacher, she didn't need a website and to communicate that often with parents. When she was Athletic Department Director she had to communicate a lot with parents, and fellow teachers to any changes with scheduling.  Since her phone number was given to out to all parents and teachers already, she did not have concerns about personal privacy; However, she understands completely why other teachers might.  

In regards to her historical communications with parents, she feels right now it is easier to have access to parents then ever before in her teaching career and their are more tools to contact parents. Before when parents where at work, unless she took the student's phone number home and called from her home, it was impossible to reach parents.

 Here in this video, she is going through the app, asking question, talking about her communications, and providing feedback regarding her habits. . 

Evaluation results

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Yes! I love this idea! - 100%

Attachments (1)


Please View in slide show in PPT, not sure if functions will work in Google Presentation.


Join the conversation:

Photo of John Faig

I love the idea and looked at "universal parent communication" tools about 6 months ago.  

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