5 June 2014

Student Communication using Blogs

I've taken a few days away from posting on here because my baby was born on Monday... But even though I've been a bit tied up, I've still been able to share last minute motivational messages with my exam classes using two student blogs - one for my GCSE class and one for the whole Sixth Form. In this post I discuss my experience of communicating in this way.

GCSE Class
I started this blog for my Year 10 class two years ago. Initially I posted after each lesson. I'd post a summary of what we'd covered in the lesson, including links to further reading in case they hadn't understood something or wanted to extend their learning (here's an example post).  I also posted classwork answers and links to worksheets and homework sheets in case they missed a lesson or lost a homework. I found this was the most useful aspect of the blog - my pupils never had an excuse for missing a homework!

I found it a bit time-consuming to write a blog post three times a week and by the time this class were in Year 11 I was updating the blog less often, and my posts got shorter. To be honest there were times when I felt far too busy to post, but I did persevere.

Since this class have been on study leave, I've been posting motivational messages and last minute revision resources. I can see from the hit tracker on Blogger that my pupils have been receiving these messages.

Sixth Form
When I took on the role of Key Stage 5 Coordinator I decided to set up this blog as the primary tool for communicating with A level pupils.  My school has 200 pupils studying AS and A2 Maths and Further Maths.  Around 20 pupils subscribe to my blog by email and I hope that number will increase greatly next year (if I successfully promote it to the incoming Year 12s in September). It's been a very useful way of sharing resources and news - for example about trips, courses, open days and competitions.  Over the course of the year I've done an average of 3 - 4 posts per month so it's been less time-consuming than my other blog.

Although I've continued to use 'old-fashioned' forms of communication (noticeboards, handouts etc), I feel that blogging has been an excellent method for communicating with pupils, especially during study leave. Blogger - and similar tools - are very quick and easy to use.

My blogs have been primarily for communicating with pupils, unlike other blogs run by my school (like this one) which give pupils the opportunity to share blog posts themselves.

I've seen Twitter used by other Maths Departments to communicate with pupils - I think this is an excellent idea and my next goal is to encourage my Head of Department to set this up for my school.

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