Online Building Offline Relationships

I have been a huge advocate of how technology can actually BUILD relationships, where many people feel that it lessens both the quantity and quality of our face-to-face interactions.  My experiences through social media actually enhancing my “offline” interactions is something that I spoke about last year at #140Cuse and Dean Shareski has some great posts on “Digital Dualism” (here and here).

Then I saw this video from Google (which has some of my favourite ads ever) and how a teacher used something as simple as Google Forms to learn more about her students.  I think about my best teachers, especially at the high school level, and how it was important that I had the opportunity to talk to them as a kid that struggled.  I think of how easy it was for me to share things with my teachers face-to-face, yet many students did not have that same comfort level but really needed someone to talk to.  The teacher in the video below has shown how you can easily give kids another option to share what’s going on in their life so that we can understand them, especially when they are seemingly struggling and we have no idea why.

If I know anything, whether it is as an administrator, teacher, or simply a human being, everything starts with relationships.  If we can’t connect with people, it is hard for us to do anything.  If technology can help that, we should be all over it.

12 thoughts on “Online Building Offline Relationships

  1. musingmiller

    Nice! I did something similar with my 8th grade technology class last semester. In August they took this survey: As you can seen, some of the questions were about them, others were related to the experience they had (or didn’t) with some of the tools we were going to use during the semester. The survey really helped jump-start my understanding of where they were coming from. I occasionally used some of the details (i.e. What’s your favorite restaurant?) to place students into discussion groups; usually when I felt we needed to mix things up. And, of course, I used the information I gathered about their experience using various programs to adjust instruction. I remember being shocked at the number of glitches they had using MovieMaker given the number of them who had rated themselves as an almost-expert (4 out of 5), though!

  2. Terry Korte (@tkorte)

    Great video. Hundreds of teachers in EPS have used forms for a variety of reasons, but only a few (that I’ve heard of) have used them in this way. A great way to make personal connections. It’s important that students are confident that only their teacher will see what they write.

    One of our high schools also used Forms to allow students to post anonymous questions for their School Resource Officer, which he would answer on his website. So many great uses for a very simple too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. @jamieneibling

    I love to hear how other teachers are connecting with their students and gain from their experiences. Relationships are so important to achieving our goals in education, yet sometimes they are what get “lost” in the standards, assessments, pacing guides, grading, and other tasks of teaching. If we can harness the power of technology to connect with our students and tap into the power of relationships, imagine what our classrooms and schools would look like! Thanks for the post!

  4. kbisaill

    Thank you for sharing this. Such a small, easy way to connect. Yet, such a difference can be made. The importance the students felt was obvious on their faces. I could not agree with you more. “Everything starts with relationships. If we can’t connect with people, it is hard for us to do anything. If technology can help that, we should be all over it” Once there is a relationship established, a sense of trust, an investment of feelings, the rest seems to fall in to place.

    By the way, the Google Ads are pretty great. The one with the dad and daughter gets me teary eyed EVERY time!

  5. Audrey

    That invisible wall is even bigger for me – I teach online. I started out using google forms as merely a way to track what work my students were getting done, but it has evolved into more of what this teacher is using it for – to let them talk about whatever they want. I am convinced that I know my online students, most of whom I have never met f2f, way better than I ever knew the ones I used to stand in front of everyday. I think the use of technology can enhance that human touch, by offering more ways to communicate, and to do it more authentically. So happy to be validated!

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  8. Rachael Bath

    Thanks for sharing this. As we embark on the beginning of our school year I found this post. It has been fantastic post for my learning and my sharing with our staff and students. I have taken the ideas from this clip and have developed a form for our teachers to complete upon return. I will also demonstrate how the information is collated and calculated. From this we will discuss how we could apply this in their classes for greater communication and connectedness between teacher and students from the beginning of the year. I look forward to sharing with you how the staff and students embrace this tool and the connections.

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