Parent Communication: From Print to Digital

Over the last couple of years I have helped numerous teachers set up blogs, wikis, and just plain old html pages to be used to communicate with parents. As some point teachers always ask: “So, I can just copy and paste my newsletter right here?” You can, but you shouldn’t Newsletters do not transfer well to the web. Well, as in the amount of information people expect and will pay attention to in digital form. For example: Most parent newsletters are two pages long (or front and back). Parents will read a two page newsletter that comes home in the Friday folder, but they won’t scroll for two pages worth of information on a single web page. You’ve seen those web pages….the ones that seem to go on forever and you know that feeling you get when you see those pages thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to read all that!” Starting a digital communication site for parents will also mean rethinking how you post information. Many teachers are finding blogs to be a great tool for creating such a site. Easy to use, easy to update, and looks pretty. The three things every teacher looks for in a web site. 🙂 So, how do you change your communication style when you move from print communication to digital communication? 1. Shorter is betterThink about the length of your posts. I’m not saying that you need to leave stuff out. But don’t include math, reading, writing, science and social studies all in the same post or on the same page. 2. Increased FrequencyWe expect digital print not only to be shorter but to be updated more frequently. So think of it this way. Don’t write about all subjects in one post, or even in one day. Do shorter posting over multiple days. For example: Reading report on Monday, Update on Math on Wednesday, Weekly reflection on Friday. Instead of giving parents all the information in one long sitting. Give it to them in shorter more frequent bursts over time. Many teachers also find this easier then having to write the complete newsletter in one day. Take a bit of time every day will make those newsletter blues slowly disappear (I can still remember doing my newsletters during library time. Frantically trying to create and print the whole newsletter in 45 minutes). 3. Images, Images, ImagesParents like nothing more than...

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