Monday, March 8, 2010

A Virtual Parent-Teacher Conference

I am trying something new on Thursday-- A virtual Parent-Teacher Conference. Since I have been excused to attend and present at the 2010 MACUL Conference , I am improvising.

The Plan

* I collected parent emails from my 130 students. A few weeks ago, I sent a preliminary, "Howdy, I'll be missing....." email and yesterday sent the official email with a link to my virtual PT Conference site.

*At the site (click link at the bottom of post) I placed a video for each course. I also linked the kinds information sheets (pdfs) that I usually hand out in person at the conference.

* I indicated that I would be willing to meet face-to-face, but cautioned that with 130 students that an email or phone call would be more expeditious.

* Understanding that some emails would certainly be misaddressed or go unread, I am leaving a message at my desk, communicating the basic information that was in the email (Click here to see it).

Some thoughts:

*I realize that many parents check in to meet their students' teachers and that a video is a poor substitute.

*On the other hand, a considerable amount of time at the conferences is usually spent on course talking points rather than actual conversation. The web site actually allows me to convey my communications more completely.

*I wanted to create a simple design, so I opted for one web site and one page created with iWeb and hosted on MobileMe), but this means that the videos are slow to load. I wonder how many parents will just skip them as a consequence.

*I think it was smart to keep the design simple, because the first parent to contact me complained that she could not find the hand outs (Can you !).

* I'm sure some parents will give me credit for trying to do a close approximation of a PT Conference. I'm also sure that there will be some annoyance by parents who check grades for the first time on Thursday and find out it won't be easy to get some quick feedback from me. We'll see, and perhaps I will report back at the Drive-thru.

It will be pretty difficult to evaluate the success of my little experiment. I'd welcome feedback from my readers in the form of comments or in a private email.

As with any parent teacher conferences, wish me luck!



Link to Virtual Conferences: Thursday's P.T. Conferences:

2 comments:

WillKnott said...

Well, the good news is that there is no way the Administration can look down upon your absence. In fact, if all goes reasonably well, it will be one more technological feather in your cap.

I am sure you will have the impressed,the befuddled, and the gripers, and I truly hope that very few people take you up on your before and after school offer for conferences.

One question: will there be someone there to monitor the people who come and want to have the experience?

What was it, two or three years ago that we were at MACUL at Cobo? Damned impressive career arc for the old Shakespearean.

And, who knows, perhaps the real jump start to a new career.

Larry Baker said...

It's been three years since MACUL, so my presentation brings me full circle. Thanks for noting. I actually cleared my absence with administration before applying to present. They've been very supportive of my attendance.

Good question concerning someone being at conferences. I'm leaving a note with the gist of my email and the web site. I'm sure some folks will not have gotten the message, thanks to wrong email addresses, spam filters, etc.

This is a busy week-- Board of Trustees presentation on tap for Wednesday.

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