Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Video Newsletter

I have to admit, I was inspired by someone on Twitter.  Phil Griffins, an assistant principal in Virginia was doing a weekly video webcast to communicate with parents about what was going on in his school.  I like Phil and he has given me good ideas in the past. This video idea intrigued me.

Now the last thing I ever thought I would do would be to get on camera and upload a video to YouTube every week.  But then again, a year ago, I did not think there was a chance I would get anything out of Twitter, have a school Facebook page, or become the first school to conduct the Teach Like A PIRATE Experiment (a phenomenon I did not know even existed at the time).  So I figured, what the heck? The worst that could happen would be it would be an epic failure and episode 2 would never see the light of day.  Oh how wrong I was.

Why the video newsletter?  Because it is gold.  The feedback I received was: we love it; it makes us feel like we get to know you; I love seeing for myself what is going on in the school; we look forward to the video each Thursday.  Think about that one.  We look forward to watching the video each Thursday.  Have you ever had a parent tell you that about your paper newsletter, email blast, or robo call?  I can say that I have not.  When I did a a paper newsletter, I found them on the hallway floor, in the bottom of lockers and backpacks, and in the garbage can.  They were not getting home and the papers that were making it to their intended destination, I cannot be certain they were actually being read.

I now have a tool that people look forward to watching.  I keep it short, three minutes tops.  Our signature line is "Here's what's going on."  I now can get our message out, promote the great things that happen in our school every day, and not only are people watching it, but they are waiting for it.

Below is our latest episode, our 18th.  It is done entirely on an iPad using iMovie and an app called Touchcast.  Now that I have the hang of it, it takes about 30 minutes of my time a week, which is not much longer than the time I spent writing and revising our paper newsletter.


  1. I love it! This is great, Ryan! Terrific that you co-host with a student. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great idea! Eco-friendly, too!

    Do you walk around the school filming all week? Do teachers give you a specific heads up if something cool is happening in their class?

    Congrats on being Twitter famous! :)

    1. I usually have my iPad with me and film if I see something cool. I also let teachers know to give me a heads up if there is something interesting going on in their class. Had another parent tell me Friday they'd much rather watch a 3 minute video than read a newsletter.