Blogging & Communications
What is a Blog?
A blog (also known as weblog or web log) is a regularly updated website or webpage which consists of entries or posts in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post appearing at the top. A blog is equivalent to a journal or diary, except that it is on the Internet. A blog is a place where you can share your thoughts and leave comments on other people’s blog posts. The person who creates and maintains the blog is known as a blogger. Blogging is the action of writing a post for a blog. In recent years, blogs are gaining popularity among schools. They are useful for the teaching and learning of students.
Benefits of Blogging
There are many educational benefits of having a blog.
Blogging improves the students’ literacy skills. The students can improve their writing by posting entries or giving comments in a blog. When they read more posts in the blog, their reading comprehension improves too. The students’ learning is also enhanced as blogging enables them to contextualize their learning. Since there is an authentic audience, they will be more motivated to share their learning and experiences in the blog. Blogging also promotes independent and personalized learning and collaboration among the students. The use of different media (text, hypermedia, images, videos) for their blog posts helps in developing the students’ ICT skill, which is one of the important 21st century skills.
Teachers use class blogs to disseminate information to their students. Assignments, tasks, announcements, important dates or events etc. are posted in the class blogs. Documents and learning materials for lessons are shared or posted in the class blogs. The advantage of having learning materials in the class blog is that the students can revisit them any time, especially when they are revising for their tests or examinations. Class blogs also help in bridging the gap of communication between home and school. Parents will thus have a better understanding of their children’s learning and activities in school.
Blogging in Wellington Primary School
In Wellington Primary School, our teachers and students use the blog in AsknLearn Learning Management System (LMS). With AsknLearn blog, our ICT department has complete administrative control over the blog posts as they will be monitored closely. If changes are required, our ICT department is able to make the necessary amendments immediately. On the contrary, if an external blogging platform is used, our ICT department will have limited administrative control.
Every class has a Class Blog. Each class teacher has full control over the blog posts in his/her Class Blog. Our teachers monitor the comments of their students in the Class Blog. This is to ensure that the comments are relevant or appropriate. The Class Blogs are made public so that parents/guardians can also view them without logging into the LMS system.
Our teachers update the Class Blogs weekly. In the Class Blog, our teachers post
· homework and tasks to be completed by the students
· important announcements, dates or events
· documents and other learning materials (videos, PowerPoint slides)
· photographs of their students when they are learning or participating in certain events or activities
Since Wellington Primary School adopts the Flipped Classroom pedagogy, our teachers post learning materials such as videos, PowerPoint slides in the Class Blogs at the end of the week. The students are to check their Class Blog and view the learning materials before the class discussion in the following week. In this way, our students become more responsible towards their own learning. Students can also revisit the learning materials in the Class Blog any time, even when the lesson has already been taught. This allows them to revise and reflect on the lessons taught.
In Wellington Primary School, we encourage our students to create their own individual blogs in AsknLearn. Through blogging, we hope to
· encourage our students to share their learning experiences
· provide a platform for our students to showcase their works
· motivate our students in their learning
· encourage collaborative learning as our students comment on one another’s blog posts
· develop our students’ ICT skills and competencies
According to Ministry of Education, effective parent-school communication plays a big role in helping a child to have a positive school experience. It also helps the parents/guardians to stay connected with their children’s/wards’ day-to-day life. Children benefit tremendously when parents and school are on the same page.
In our school's effort to go paperless and to facilitate optimal communication with parents/guardians, parents/guardians are encouraged to download the AsknLearn app into their mobile phones. Instructions on downloading, installing and logging in are available on the school website (click here for the guide). Training has already been conducted on the use of this app.
With this app, our school can disseminate important information or announcements to the parents/guardians. Parents/guardians can also submit surveys or provide feedback to our school using this app.