I’m no ‘techie’ by any stretch of the imagination but I have always had a ‘healthy’ interest in using technology to support and enhance practice. As a classroom practitioner this was certainly the case and as a Headteacher I have perhaps become even more tuned in to the benefits of new (and old) technologies.
At my current school @HeapBridge we have spent a number of years developing our use of blogging. We have had a platform (WordPress) on which to ‘blog’ for over five years but only recently have we really fine tuned its potential.
Initially it was the most ‘friendly’ solution I could find to enable my teachers and staff to add content to the internet which celebrated the work we do in school. WordPress is a well established platform and it’s easy and intuitive to use.
As we progressed, we realised the power of using ‘posts’ instead of ‘pages’ – particularly as we also sought to harness the power of social media to promote our school blog. Five years on we have learned many lessons. On average most classes post at least once a week. Some post more and every time a post is published WordPress has the power to automatically Tweet it for parents. Equally, if like me, you prefer to check everything before pushing out via social media you can always disable this feature.
Staff attribute each post with a number of categories, typically the year group and subject area, though sometimes there may well be more. This enables us to select categories and view all the posts (since the blog began) in a particular category which, as a school leader, provides an incredibly rich source of evidence. At the touch of a button I can see all the exciting (no-one posts the dull lessons) work carried out in science, capture evidence of lessons covering British Values and demonstrate examples of practical mathematics across the school. The list is endless.
It appears common these days to see many primary schools celebrating their curriculum and wider work on Twitter and Facebook. This is great for parents but seems to miss one important point. We spend half of our e-safety sessions reminding children across KS2 (and increasingly younger) that you need to be 13 years old to have a Facebook account and then taunt them be sending out a photograph of the awesome science lesson they have just enjoyed on the very platform we told them yesterday they shouldn’t be using. I appreciate that the post is aimed at the parent but by its very nature we exclude the child from participating in the celebration of work.
The power of blogging is that pupils and parents should be encouraged not only to look at everything that is posted but to comment on it too! What’s more, unlike social media, you can hold each comment for moderation before it is published. The power and potential of blogging is vast. We have used to it write collaborative stories (every child in the school became a published author on the last World Book Day), record on going assessment throughout units of work, provide a platform for recording homework, research, and school work and events for parents alongside simply showcasing and celebrating what we are doing in class.
If you have not looked at blogging yet you are missing a trick. The opportunities to promote writing alone are invaluable and its power to motivate pupils right across the curriculum make it an invaluable resource for any school.
If you would like to view some our blog posts and the interaction between pupils, staff and parents, you can view a selection here. If you would like support in setting up our own school blog site you can contact me here.
Headteacher at Heap Bridge Village Primary School, Heywood