Last year I experimented with setting up Facebook Pages relating to my classes that the students could ‘like’. This allowed me a good way of sending them links to learning resources and key information without them being able to see my profile. It worked reasonably well. The 16 year-old Year 11 pupils all had a Facebook profile and used it regularly so I knew information was getting through to them.
However, it did have its limitations. You need to be 13 years old to have a Facebook account which meant that I couldn’t set up a page for Year 7 and 8s. Also, just because you do a post on the page doesn’t mean it will definitely show up in your students’ newsfeed.
This year I’m going to give blogging a go. I think it will be a solution which is more flexible and guarantees the students see the information I post to help them.
Click here to see the blog I’ve set up. I’m going to use it to share learning resources with my pupils which they will find helpful when doing their homework, to give pupils reminders about key information like dates of tests and to showcase examples of excellent work done by my pupils to encourage others to aspire high.
The nice things about doing the blog in Blogger are that it’s not firewalled by the school network so the kids and I can access it at school and also there is a gadget you can add to it to get the kids to sign up for email updates. This is very important because really, all your kids only ever need to visit your blog once just to sign up for the updates. From then on whenever you post something on the blog it automatically emails all the people signed up with the content of that post. I haven’t met a secondary school child yet without email so this seems like a nice way of sharing content with your students. Importantly, it sends the email from a no-reply address so the kids can’t email you back. I’m encouraging parents of the pupils I teach to sign up too so they can see what their child is being set for homework and might like to get stuck in with helping them too!
If you’d like to know a bit more about blogging checkout Blogineering which is an excellent new blog devoted to telling people how to blog! It’s run by Guillermo Bautista who also owns the brilliant Mathematics and Multimedia blog.