How do you communicate with teachers in your school and district? Email? Twitter? Text messages? Phone calls?
Do your contacts ever miss messages or important information?
If you’re like most educational leaders and tech coaches, the answer is likely “yes.” The sad irony is that while we have more communication tools than ever, it’s become increasingly difficult to make sure our messages get through to our desired targets.
“One of the most common questions I hear is, ‘What’s the best way to communicate with teachers?’” says Katie Ritter, director of curriculum and technology at Forward Edge. “People are getting overwhelmed with email and discovering that simply sending out a bunch of emails isn’t working. They are looking for other ways to communicate, so they can differentiate information and not leave anyone behind.”
How to reach teachers
In a Nov. 4 ISTE webinar, “Add to Your Ed Tech Coaching Toolkit: Tools to Communicate with Teachers,” Ritter and her co-presenters will discuss tools and strategies you can use to ensure effective communication with your staff. Gregory Gilmore, instructional technology coach at Fort Osage School District in Missouri, and Pamela Shoemaker, instructional technology coach at Walled Lake Consolidate Schools in Michigan, will join Ritter.
No matter what tools you choose, keep these five points in mind:
1. Think about your audience.
Who are you trying to reach? What are their concerns and preferred communication techniques?
2. Consider tools already in use.
Does your district have a learning management system in place that teachers regularly use? If so, that might be a great place to engage them. If your teachers regularly use Google Apps, for instance, Google tools might be your best bet.
3. Communicate in multiple places.
Posting a sign in the teachers’ lounge is not enough. Neither is hitting “send” on a group email. If you want your teachers to get a message, you need to post it and share it in multiple locations, often with multiple modalities.
4. Be as clear as possible.
Keep your message short and concise. Communicate the essentials using bullet points or short, snappy sentences. Don’t get too wordy because people tend to tune out large blocks of text. Better to be brief and link to more information.
5. Archive info.
Decide on a permanent home for essential messages, and make sure everyone knows how to access it. That way, if someone deletes or misses a message, they can find it again.
What tools, when?
Although there’s no shortage of digital communication tools, it can be difficult to figure out which tools and communication strategies will ultimately help you solve your most pressing communications problems. That’s why Ritter’s webinar will be interactive. She, Gilmore and Shoemaker will share some of their favorite communication tools, but they’ll also open the discussion to participants. Participants will also:
Learn about a variety of digital and nondigital tools they can use to effectively communicate with teachers.
Share their challenges and innovative solutions.
Brainstorm solutions to their current communications problems.