The DigiLit Leicester team are currently running a series of briefings for school leaders. The briefings are designed to ensure school leaders are aware of and up to date with current, effective approaches to using technology to support learning, teaching and school community development.
Our first briefing was held on 28 November 2013 at Judgemeadow Community College. David Mitchell, a former headteacher, who now focuses on supporting schools across the country, led the session which focused on Blogging and Quadblogging. Two years ago David created Quadblogging, and now the approach has seen over 400,000 pupils from 50 plus countries connected and writing for a global audience.
Quadblogging offers schools an opportunity to sign up and blog together in groups of four. Each school takes it in turn, on a weekly basis, to be the focus school; posting about general class work or an agreed topic shared by all four schools. The remaining three schools then comment on the focus school’s blog. Quadblogging creates an authentic audience for learners, providing the opportunity for discussions with learners from other schools.
Here are some of the key points from his presentation:
When David set up his first blog, he was certain that parents and other visitors would flock to read the children’s posts and that it would be the children doing the majority of the work in bringing in an audience. In reality, when he built it, no one came. With a lack of engagement from the outside, the children quickly lost enthusiasm for the project and David realised that he would need to be much more proactive about raising awareness of the school’s blog. He used a range of channels to drum up interest: Twitter, his own blog, a class twitter account, texts to parents and even the local newspaper. However, not all educators have established networks on line, and audiences captured in this way tend not to be regular visitors and dependable commenters. Quadblogging addresses this issue directly, by ensuring participant schools a sustainable and committed core audience for the duration of the quad – with visitors from outside the group bringing an additional benefit.
David’s experience of blogging in the classroom is that it can be a great way enthusing even the most reluctant writers. The knowledge that anyone in the world might read a school blog also encourages learners to think more carefully about their written work and create higher quality pieces. Feedback from visitors can support learners in improving their work and taking their learning forward.
David also shared a list of links to resources and services that staff starting out may find useful:
This free to use blogging policy was written by David for the Cloudlearn.net project, you can download it from this link to use and adapt.
This is an automated service for a free WordPress blog. Just follow the instructions online to get your free blog.
These free web 2.0 tools can be used to add an extra dimension to blog posts:
This tool allows you to turn photos into slick animations.
This tool allows you to make pictures interactive by adding links to other content.
This tool allows you to record and embed audio onto your blog with one click.