In the past fortnight we have launched the Forrester High School Computing Department blog. I think that this is a great way to share with parents the work which classes have been doing; homework which has been issued; and news about the department in general.
It will also provide our pupils with a reference point when they are looking to reinforce what they have learned during the day, and as a revision tool.
Our blog is currently hosted at wordpress.com, although I hope to port it over to the school domain later in the year. At the moment each class has been set up as an individual blog category to allow parents and pupils quick access to the blog posts relevant to them. This may change when we install wordpress and plugins, as opposed to using the .com site.
In order for a departmental blog to be successful, I think it needs to meet the following criteria:
- The blog must be updated regularly. As soon as a blog becomes a static site with no recent updates, like many school websites, parents and pupils will stop visiting. We plan to write a blog post for every class in the department on a weekly basis.
- Posts should be short and to the point. Departmental blogging should not become a workload overhead for the teacher.
- Blog posts could be greatly enhanced by providing links to learning content. Any slides which were used in the lesson, or relevant video clips could also be embedded.
- We need to ensure that parents are aware of the blog, find the content useful, and visit it regularly. To put it bluntly , there is no point in us blogging about what the department is doing if noone is listening.