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Using blogs and wikis to connect Beyond the Classroom.

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Started by Catriona Pene 25 Feb 2013 5:39pm () Replies (9)

When schools I am working in identify the Beyond the Classroom dimension, in the eLPF, as one they need to focus on, the question keeps coming up around how we can engage parents and the wider community in the children's learning.

One of my favourite and most successful ways is to use a blog (or wiki) to give parents and the wider community a window into the learning in the classroom and a voice to comment on learning and encourage the students.

However blogs (wikis) are no magic formula, you cannot set one up and just expect it to work, it's important you educate the parents around how they can become involved and keep the blog fresh and the children actively involved in order to keep the parents coming back for more.

Recently Allanh King bookmarked this great guide to involving parents in your blog (thanks Allanah) and it got me thinking about how much we presume parents know about blogging (wiki-ing) and how many teachers become disillusioned with their blogs because the parents and wider community fail to engage.

SO here are a few of my beginning of the year suggestions on how to get your parents engaged in your blog and I hope others of you bloggers (wiki-ists) out there will contribute your ideas and suggestions too.

1. Send a letter home at the beginning of the year introducing the blog and explaining the basics.

2. Provide opportunities before and after school for parents to access the blog via the classroom. The children can show their parents around and be the experts.

3. Teach your parents how to comment and subscribe to updates. Either by handout or in a mini after school workshop.

4. Put prompts to posts on the blog in your class newsletter, homework books, school newsletter...

5. Make a big fuss when parents do engage in the blog, comment or just visit. : )


  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2013 8:07am ()

    Thanks for this thread, Catriona - great stories and suggestions coming through from everyone. To pop my parent hat on for a minute, the thing that is most likely to engage me on a blog is not the blog per se but the point of it in terms of my child's work.  I think many parents want to be part of the learning and that would be the 'hook'.

    imageSo, I wonder if we need a two-pronged approach -

    • explicit support around the technology (so the school helps whānau understand why we use technologies for learning) as we have described here and 
    • all in the context of the why - how does this post, this writing, this photo talk to me about what my child is up to and how they are getting on? Do we talk about 'blogging' or do we talk about 'writing'? And does it matter if I never comment on the blog, as long as I am talking about the work at home (a crunchy question that a BoT member asked me about the other day)?

    Great discussion, people - keep 'em coming:-)



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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.