Friday, September 25, 2009

Parent Night, Multimedia Style

Like most schools we have an open house early in the school year. Ours is called "Parents Night", which primarily involves the parents following their daughter's schedule , spending about ten minutes with each teacher.

We generally have a good turnout, so most of us try to bring our "A" game. In recent years, I've tried to add some flavor. When digital photo frames were new, I took a photo of each student in my home room group and had the frame running when their folks came by. Last year I used iPhoto and projected the album on screen with a data projector. This show was accompanied by music as the parents arrived. I could tell most folks liked it.

But last night, I went much farther. In addition to the photo slideshow for homeroom, I created a Keynote presentation for each class. The first slide is a photo of the class. This was easy to manage, because everyone was enthusiastic about being photographed on the first day of school. The slideshows took a couple of hours to whip up-- a little longer because I included some audio files. Here's a pdf version (sorry, no audio).

Why take the trouble to do this instead of just showing up and giving my spiel as usual? Because, indeed, the medium is the message. I wanted the presentation to be dynamic and memorable. I wanted to give the parents of taste of why I am trying to crank up the technology in their daughter's class.

As it turned out, I will definitely do it again. Amazingly, the presentations had almost perfect timing (pure luck). And the parents were pretty darned locked in. Next time around I will do the "about me" segment as a quick animation build and focus more of my very limited time on the curriculum. I think it's quite likely that I can reuse much of the formatting and even some of the slides, next year. Bottom line: The extra time prepping for "Parents' Night" was time well spent.


Bobsophist said...

Or as M.Macluhan said, "The medium is the MASSAGE."

Detroit Sports Dork said...

Bob, I really thought you would have the integrity to testify how great my music was, since you came into the classroom craving tunes.

Bobsophist said...

I guess i was just too yellow to admit it.

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