Tips for Connecting

 

1. The teacher should initiate the call.

2. Arrange the call so it is during a convenient time for both you and the family. We have some suggestions that often work for others: 

  • For Elementary schools, we recommend connecting during morning meeting or morning announcements
  • During a child's favorite subject, so they can watch the class in action
  • Set up the web camera in a classroom/counselor’s office/library/etc., where students can go at designated times for individual connections
  • Recess/Study hall, in a supervised environment
  • Some classrooms set the webcam up as a station and friends can visit during specified times.
  • A teacher or administrator hosts a "Skype lunch," with students lining up to talk with the child individually, or in small groups

3. This is a voluntary program for schools and they participate because of the joy and benefits it brings to the child. Make your boundaries, schedules and classroom rules clear to the family.

4. Parents should involve school staff and the technology staff in the process early to ensure that everyone is getting the same information and knows how to use the equipment and software. 

5. Remember, Hopecam is primarily a social tool. Our secondary use is educational, when feasible.

6. Start small, and expand the frequency of connections from there. Start small, with a few short calls and slowly add more time and more connections.

7. With younger kids, have a guidance counselor or social worker talk to them about illness. There are many resources to help with these conversations.

8. Talk to students about appropriate behavior while using the webcam. Frame the conversation: "This is our gift to ______ (homebound student). You will ruin it for them if I have to shut off the camera because of your behavior."

9. Always do a test call with the child first.

10. When possible, use email to communicate with the parent and give them ample warning if you will or will not be connecting on specific day.

11. Lock the laptop and webcam in a closet or drawer at night to prevent theft.

12. Log out of Skype completely at the end of every session.

13. Communicate with the child’s homebound teacher to find creative ways to use Hopecam for educational purposes.

14. Provide kids with work ahead of time if you want them to participate in the class.

15. Call or email Hopecam if you encounter any problems. You can reach us by phone at 571-325-2003 or by email at info@hopecam.org.