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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. : )


  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 13 May 2013 11:45am ()

    What a wonderful thread!  I have found the use of a class blog and wikis to be transformational in engagin whanau in the learning journey.  But as you say rightly say, it does not happed magically.  Some ways I have found that work are:

    Learners encouraged to comment and add to the blog ubiquitously, so there is increased opportunity for whanau involvement;

    Learners running sessions at school on how to write a good blog comment and how to engage with the blog and the wiki.   The power of the learners showing extended family what is required is amazing.  I believe it must now be part of our job to empower our learners to educate their extended family.

    Learners who have a significant blog post to share wear home a lanyard or bracelet which reminds them to contact extended family and friends to engage with their latest posts.

    Careful labelling of all blog posts makes it much easier for family to find their learner's posts.

    Time in class before and after school and even during school for whanau to view and comment on the blog on class computers.

    Continual modelling of posting, submitting blog comments and responding to all comments received to develop interaction and collaboration!

    Happy blogging.... Smile

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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

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