Weblogs or blogs as they are known are here to stay. They will evolve as time goes on but communicating online via blogs whether through text, video or podcast audio, is something that is going to be a part of the internet for some time. Schools today can benefit greatly by providing their students with a school-sponsored weblog as a means to communicate with their teachers and other students in their school. In the same way that many blogs have virtual communities formed around them, schools can create and foster a community environment that provides a beneficial learning environment for kids today rather than just a place they have to go everyday.
School Policies & Contact Information
In the news today we see many schools enacting policies and practices to help them run better and provide a positive learning environment for all children. One area for example has to do with what is or is not acceptable in regards to the clothing allowed at the school. Schools that use a weblog would be able to have all their policies listed in one easily accessible location for parents to review. Regarding a school dress code policy, the school would be able to post actual images of the type of clothing that is not allowed on campus so parents would be able to have a clear idea of what clothing is acceptable when they go to school. Other policies such as grade requirements for playing sports or participating in school sponsored clubs as well as the school disciplinary policies for things such as fighting, bullying, being late or failing to complete homework assignments can also be posted on the school weblog. Contact information can also be provided for parents with questions or concerns regarding a policy.
School Events and Sports
Schools utilizing a blog can use it as a way to boost school spirit and participation by placing video clips of sporting events such as basketball, football or soccer games, track and field events. Other events such as science fairs, dance recitals, awards and more all can be promoted on the weblog as well. Through promoting the school clubs and teams this way other students can find out what is going on in the school as well. Promoting the school activities like this is also a great way to attract perspective students and their parents who have recently moved or are going to move into the area.
Additional Class Instruction
School weblogs can be a great place and informational resource where students can go for additional help with their school assignments. Many times teachers do not have enough time to devote to each student to answer each and every question. Through a blog setup by the school, teachers can post amplifying information on topics that they cover in class, further explanations, and more examples – things that they do not have time to cover in class. Students can then look over this additional information to help them when they are working on their homework. Every person learns differently, and by explaining information in different forms, either with diagrams, words, or other means the idea can be conveyed so that the student can grasp it.
The school blog can also provide links to other valuable educational resources that can be used. Teachers that find a good informative video to watch, website to read or podcast to listen to that covers a topic can place a link on the blog page and students can then access the information to assist them in their assignments.
Utilizing a chat room feature, schools using weblogs would provide a way for students and teachers to discuss problems that come up when working on homework assignments. Some students have anxiety over asking questions in class, so by providing a way that they can ask teachers questions outside of the class can help them overcome problems they may be having. An online chat feature would also be a way that students can form study groups to work on assignments.
While the use of weblogs in school can provide students with a valuable educational resource they can also provide them with other information to help them with the day to day problems they may face. Read Part 2 for more on how weblogs can provide valuable resources for students, teachers and parents as well as some of the privacy and security concerns that will arise.