“Why use FreshGrade?” This is a question that educators across SD23 are considering. By starting with your purpose it makes it more likely that you will arrive at that destination. This embodies our Learning Technology Department‘s mantra of a “pedagogy first approach to technology.”
Scott Hayhurst, an OKM English and Social Studies Teacher, has used FreshGrade over the last few years as an effective way of putting students at the centre of their learning by providing them the opportunity to reflect. In addition, Scott also uses FreshGrade as a tool to engage with his parent community.
In previous years, Scott had sent home his course outline which detailed everything about his course and the learning students would take part in. Yet even though considerable time and effort had gone into this communication it was met with many other documents sent home during this busy time of the year and often didn’t have the desired communication Scott was hoping for. This year Scott decided to use video to augment this process and create a simple video to introduce himself and talk about how he hoped to make this year a successful one for his students. The feedback Scott received from this short one minute clip showed him the power of video. Parents had a strong sense of who Scott was, what he stood for, and that ultimately he cared deeply for his students.
Scott has additional plans for using FreshGrade as a way to directly communicate with parents. As an example, Scott hopes to communicate how he’ll be supporting students to help them prepare for a slam poetry unit. Often public speaking is met with anxiety from students and Scott plans to send out a short video explaining how he’ll be preparing students for this opportunity and how he has supports in place to ensure all of his students are confident moving forward. In addition, Scott has another video in the works where he plans on discussing his views on assessment and how he’ll be communicating student learning as the school year progresses.
As you consider video as a way to engage your parent community on the “whys and hows” of your classroom keep in mind that it does not need to be a polished Hollywood production. A simple video where parents can hear and see your passion for their child’s learning can go a long way. Scott’s use of video is a powerful example that shows how understanding, trust, and relationships can be built across this medium.