A Simple, But Brilliant Idea
I wish I could help everyone stay connected by putting Educa in the hands of every parent and educator on the planet. When I first came to Educa – almost 2 years ago – I was introduced to it as a “communication tool.” There are so many platforms out there that call themselves communication tools.
So what makes Educa different? What inspired me to come on board a company that at first glance could be like any other communication tool?
The answer is Learning Stories.
Learning stories is a practice first developed in New Zealand whereby teachers don’t just report on the agenda of the day or send photos only but actually share in the learning that is happening with each child and what plans are for growing the skills of that particular child.
What a simple yet remarkable idea this was to me! My thoughts were – “wow – I want this for my kids….I want to know what learning is happening and how I can help support both my child and their teacher!!”.
Staying Connected in a Pandemic
Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic I keep feeling this need…this urge to let the world know about Educa!!! I want to shout from the rooftops to anyone who will listen – “WE CAN HELP!!!”.
As I read the guidelines put out from multiple sources to educators I see common threads. Topics such as “How to stay connected to families”, “How to continue to get to know your students” “How to check equity and social and cultural differences”, “How to keep families informed via a media tool that is safe”, “How to record ideas and share”. “How to keep everyone in the loop on new policies”, “How to build professional development among staff”.
The Educa platform enables all of this. Teachers can record information and communicate with their families as a group or individually. They can Zoom in with families and take snapshots of learning and continue to write learning stories that they share with families. 0bserving play, lifting out developing skills, sharing back with families the learning as well as providing ideas for development at home!!!
Families likewise get a free app where they can send teachers photos of their child, at play, eating, cooking, sharing, or just little anecdotes about what they did that day and then teachers can point out learning that is happening during these times and share ideas. This is called a “family story”.
Learning More About Each Other
There is a silver lining to situation we find ourselves in and that is that there is more time for sharing. Work colleagues are finding out more about each other in the regular Zoom calls than they ever did in the office.
This can happen in your early childhood setting also. Through stories from families or more expansive responses to Learning Stories by families, teachers are seeing family life through a wider lens. They are seeing the cultural flavors of a home and the interactions between caregivers and their children. They are still getting to know these families and their students albeit differently and building the collaboration between the school and home.
This is invaluable and Learning Stories are the conversation starter.
In addition on Educa, teachers have their own private portfolios for reflection and professional development. Teachers have their own private message board as well for collaborating with each other!!!
In the upper grades as well – I keep hearing from families – “if we go virtual or hybrid how will teachers get to know my child?” “how will teachers interact with me as a parent?” “How will students get to know each other?”
Bridging the Gap
The world might look different today but the need to communicate is as old as time. Staying connected and understanding one another are important too. All of this is in a state of constant evolution.
Face to face interactions, hugs, and all that goes with it are irreplaceable. In the meanwhile we can do a whole lot more than just sending photos and agendas, or emails only.
We can bridge the gap through learning stories, parent stories, teacher interaction and support. Let’s keep the connections alive and thriving until we are ready to get back in person and HUG!