In a high tech world, face to face contact still key

Ever heard a statement like this? “I’m going to take a few days off and get away… I sure hope my phone can get a signal up north.” It seems ironic that the thought of being without a connection to the outside world makes a would-be traveler take pause. People have a real desire to stay connected.

Ed Saxton
Ed Saxton

Finding and researching information has changed dramatically over the past several years. Seeking knowledge about people, places, historical findings or current events has become readily accessible. In many cases, the tool of choice is referred to as a device, a handheld device, a tablet, an e-reader and the list goes on. As a society, we continue to become more and more mobile.

As the pace quickens, people from all walks of life seem to be searching for the best way to stay informed and yet be able to throttle down periodically. Some believe this balance is best developed through communications. Although communication has long been the link between people, the method and frequency of communications becomes the real puzzle.

With that said, selecting the avenue to best link folks up is the debate at hand. Often, it is not the tool but how it is used that allows for quality communication to take place. Multiple strategies and a seemingly unending collection of ways to communicate are at our fingertips.

How many times has a communication tool saved the day? A quick call from a cell phone to confirm an important appointment is now second nature. Texting is another preferred option. As people migrate toward their personal preference of communicating with families and friends, advertisers are finding new methods to push their message through computers, phones and tablets.

A few years ago at the retail counter, people heard, “Could I get your zip code, please?” Now the likely request is for an e-mail address. Customers are encouraged to text a number into their phone and are immediately forwarded to a website.

Quick response codes show up on more labels each and everyday. A year ago, I remember asking “Quick response code, what’s that?” Again the answer is: “A tool for communication.” The QRC will continue to be used in new, better and different ways until someone thinks of something new that works even more effectively. That is how technology advances.

As an educator, I would like to plug a form of communication that is as important today as it has ever been – some would argue, more important. In the next few weeks, spring parent-teacher conferences will be held in our schools. This is a great opportunity to sit down face-to-face with the educators who spend time and energy shaping the learning experience of our children.

Parents are able to view websites to gather information about progress. They are notified when their student is honored for achievement, is absent or is going on a field trip. We send or post lunch schedules. We send School Reach calls to each home on a variety of topics. Above all, in the attempt to communicate with families about progress, we set aside time for conferences with parents.

It is clear, communication methodology is changing and will continue to change. As we settle in to new forms of communication, please consider keeping personal conferences about your child as a priority. The educational experience is enriched through parent involvement.

It is time for progress reports – how about talking it over? We are looking forward to a conversation about growth.

Ed Saxton is the superintendent for the St. Francis Independent School District 15. 

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