In a digital media-crazed society like ours, we strongly believe that there are things that should still be kept in a more private sphere. As educators, we believe this privacy applies to what goes on in our classrooms. Because, face it, this may be the only place in the world for us where mobile phones, social media, and internet access are discouraged (at least during class hours in the Philippines) - a peaceful place away from the noise of this thing called the internet. However, we want to change it.
Imagine harnessing that power inside the classroom.
Of course, we're not talking about sharing every bit of information about your students or classes, student grades and quizzes, or what they had for lunch. We're talking about keeping your students and parents well informed of what goes on inside the classroom through a digital media channel - in this case: blogging. Let's look at some things we can implement in our own classrooms when it comes to blogging.
STARTING A CLASS BLOG
Blogging is one of the best approaches when it comes keeping everyone informed. You can post updates on class activities and reminders on the blog. You can also post a summary of your lessons every week, and even some reviewers. You can post some of your learners' artworks, projects, and even rehearsals for moving up day. You can also feature a "student of the week" (ex. their hobbies, what they want to be when they grow up, favorite food/movies/shows, etc.) and even encourage your students to be guest authors and contributors (to foster creativity). The possibilities are only bound by your (and your class') creativity.
The biggest advantage that a class blog brings is that it can be a forum where students or parents can comment, ask questions, and contribute actively. This gives you, the students, and parents direct access to each other; and maybe get to know each other better. (Ridding all parties of awkward situations during PTA meetings). You can build and foster a micro-community for your class.
Another advantage of blogging is that there are a lot of free, easy-to-use, blogging platforms available - Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress, Weebly, and even Facebook Pages (you can create a class page). Using them requires no technical knowledge whatsoever - there is however, one caveat - it takes some work to maintain a blog. But believe me, it will be a very unforgettable learning experience both for your parents and students, so the work will be well worth it.
SOLVING THE ISSUE OF SAFETY and PRIVACY
Safety and privacy have become such an issue - especially with the strong emergence of social media. The best way to address this issue is to make sure that the blog is private or invite-only. Limit access to the blog only to yourself, parents, students, and maybe co-teachers. Always make sure to toggle the privacy settings on your blog to PRIVATE or INVITE-ONLY so that you can screen who can access it.
WHAT TO POST (or not to post)?
In blogging, there is one rule of thumb - post something relevant that would contribute to your community. If ever there is even a little bit of doubt about a certain topic that you'd like to post - just don't.
There you go. I hope this helps you out in making a more memorable learning experience for your students, and better involvement from the parents. Cheers!