Instructing Kids v. Parents

Creating a set of instructions should be cut and dry.  One would imagine instructions do not change regardless of the audience.  Ikea is famous for instructions using minimal pictures and symbols. 

I can not imagine the countless hours that went into creating these abbreviated instructions.  As teachers, we do not have a professional team of advisers and graphic artists creating our instructions.  Teachers must remain very guarded in delivering instruction, as the words we select impact children and our goal is to always have a positive impact.

I created my initial set of instructions for the Kidblog tutorial with students in mind. I wanted to be careful with my appearance.  I wore a cardigan and pulled my hair back to ensure I looked like a professional, but not a salesman; a teacher not a dictator. I wanted to make Kidblog seem easy and interesting to use.  But, I also remembered to link it to content and curriculum because student audiences are never just that.  Anything created as part of a classroom can also be accessed by parents and administration.

Therefore, when I created my parent Kidblog tutorial there are only minor differences.  Instead of mentioning adding pictures to personalize work, I discussed the safety of the platform and understanding how students navigate the tool.  The parent version also took longer and covered less.  I assumed parents are less familiar with Kidblog and learning online and needed their instruction delivered slowly and carefully.  Finally, I also eliminated the onscreen camera.  Parents do not need a visual of me and might be distracted by or judgmental of my appearance.

Overall, technology allows me to quickly change my message based on who my audience is.  This quick change is crucial as one of the most important aspects of being an effective communicator is directing your message to your specific audience.

*I chose to present this information in the form a blog as I was thinking the bulk of the content would be the tutorials.  Blogs are perfect for quickly delivering short bits of written content and embedding video clips.  But in the famous words of Mark Twain, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

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