In a world of high-flying, ever-changing, flavour-of-the-moment digital tools, the good old blog can often be an overlooked and underappreciated tool.
A blog has a lot of hidden potential though when you start to think of it less as an online newsletter and more of as versatile tool for enhancing learning.
For example, consider how a class blog might have the potential to help parents have more informed and purposeful learning conversations at home.
“What did you do at school today honey?” *grunts* “I dunno…” NO MORE!
Blogs can help parents have better learning conversations with their children. And when parents, students, and teachers are all on the same page, having the same learning conversations, everyone benefits.
Here are a few ideas for how you could use your class blog to encourage more specific parent – student dialogue at home:
- Add posts to your blog as prompts for discussion. “With your parent at home, discuss this issue and record your joint reflections in the comment section.”
- “Ask your child about one of the following… Record his / her ideas in the comments.”
- Do a weekly “Prompt” post: “This week we’ve learned about X,Y, Z. Here are some questions you can ask your child about their learning…”
- Embed different Web 2.0 tools into a blog post to gather feedback, opinions, and ideas. Padlet, Popplet, or FlipGrid are great for this. Ask students and parents to post together.
- Make it the parents responsibility to comment: “Billy talked to me about X. He said that…”
- Many international schools have parents with varying degrees of English, be sure to post lots of visual content – photos, videos – to remove that barrier. Make sure parents and students know it’s OK to comment in their first language.
- After a field trip, post about the experience on the blog. Ask: “Parents who couldn’t make it, have you ever been to X? What are your thoughts / perspectives on this issue?”
- “With a family member at home, give this image a caption. Record it as a comment.”
- “Teach a family member one of the math strategies you learned at school today. Were they able to solve the practice problem you gave them? Leave a comment about the experience!”
You get the idea.
If you’ve only considered blogs as a one-way communication tool you’re really missing out on a lot the potential here.
Dust off the old blog, advertise it with parents, co-author posts with students, put in your homework grid, read comments together in class, consider how it can be used to facilitate conversations at home… and get blogging!
How else might we use blogs to enhance the student – parent learning relationship? Leave ’em in the comments!