Opinion Blog

Peter DeWitt's

Finding Common Ground

A former K-5 public school principal turned author, presenter, and independent consultant, DeWitt provides insights and advice for education leaders. He can be found at www.petermdewitt.com.

Education Opinion

Want to Flip Communication? Click Here

By Peter DeWitt — September 19, 2013 3 min read

Flipping communication isn’t about replacing anything...it’s about enhancing it.

Parents cannot always make it to the PTA meetings or night events. Some of them work... Others cannot get child care or have hardships going on that prevent them from making it to some school events. They make it to their child’s performances, but they have to pick and choose what they can attend.

In our present time of accountability, educators make mistakes from time to time by treating all parents like they are teachers...they’re not. Teachers are now considered the “Teacher of Record” in many states so they feel as though they need to dictate to parents what their children should be doing at night. So....due to this “increase in rigor” (notice sarcasm) when parents come to meetings now, they are more academic than in previous years.

For that reason, parents need “think time.” They need to know some of the educator lingo before they get to a meeting so they can ask clarification questions...or just keep up with the conversation. Please understand, I’m not judging anyone. I need the same thing. I hate attending meetings where I am hearing something for the first time because I cannot always react immediately. I need time to reflect and process the information.

For that reason....I flip communication to parents and staff.

How Do We Flip?
For me, flipping communication began a year ago. Since then I have written about it several times. Read those blogs here...and here. Over time, I have tried different formats. Not because I’m a techno-whiz because I’m not. I changed formats because of money and formatting issues.

I began my flipping experience by using Screenr. Before I recorded a Screenr video, I would create a Prezi presentation and then write a script. I’d click on Screenr, the box would appear around my Prezi, and I would begin the recording.

The problem....

I would say something that would throw me off and I would have to complete take after take after take. Then...20 seconds before finishing the phone would ring! There was no way to pause.

Lastly, Screenr did an automatic payment (yes, they had my credit card information from the first year purchase) and I was charged $190.00 for a second year, even though I was not planning on using it again. Screenr didn’t send an e-mail (many companies like Go Daddy send you an e-mail a month before charging you) stating that my account would be charged...tomorrow or next month. They sent it after the payment and said “no refunds.”

Touchcast
A few years ago I bought the first iPad. Ok, it wasn’t the very first iPad or I would be selling that on e-Bay! Over the years I was envious of newer iPads with cameras and microphones. And then Curt Rees (awesome principal in Wisconsin), Erin Simpson (a fantastic principal in Ohio) and I were Tweeting back and forth and Curt mentioned Touchcast.

Touchcast is only available on iPad so I took that as a sign from the Heavens that I needed to purchase the iPad 3 and I have never looked back. Touchcast is not only awesome, it’s user-friendly. You can pause during recording which means you do not have to start over and over again.

I flipped an Opening Day message for parents the week before school began. You can watch it here.

I flipped some district communication.

And I flipped an announcement for the School Administrators Association of New York State.

Yes, I know I say “Hello everyone” in each video. It seems so much more appropriate than “Ta Da!”

Touchcast is awesome. Click here for an informational video about it. I saved that link for last because it is much more professional than anything I did. However, it’s easy to use. You can download pictures, videos, music and links. You can even download your Twitter page and it records in real time so whenever someone watches it, they are seeing your live Twitter page.

If you have an iPad with a camera and want to flip communication, download Touchcast. And no, I’m not getting a kickback.

Naysayers Beware
Flipping communication is not the end-all-to-be-all. It is not meant to replace other forms of communication. Just because leaders flip communication to parents doesn’t mean they are great communicators. As much fun as shooting a video may be, it’s the conversation it initiates that is the fun part.

Flipping communication can keep parents in the loop, and help make parents who can’t get to school events feel more involved in the school community. I know that many critics believe that it is a passing fad or that we are trying to create the new Khan Academy. We aren’t. Flipping communication isn’t about replacing anything...it’s about enhancing it.

Connect with Peter on Twitter

The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read