The benefits of blogging for schools

Blogging has become one of the defining ways that people communicate in the 21st century. Everyone from politicians and companies, to artists and even plain old regular people have blogs to document their lives and opinions. It’s no surprise then, that an increasing number of schools are using blogs, both as official voices for the school and as a way to let particular teachers, or even head teachers, have their say. But what exactly are the benefits of creating a school blog?

To begin with, we really need to define what the audience for a school blog would be. The obvious answer is current parents; blogs can be a great way to connect with parents and keep them informed of current affairs at the school. In that sense, a blog is a modern replacement for the school newsletter. By using an online medium, news is updated faster and gives parents the opportunity to comment and respond to each piece individually. If the schools plan to change the date of their sports day gets a lot of negative feedback on their blog, they’ll know that it’s an issue that needs addressing: this is fast and free feedback. By bringing the way they communicate with parents into the modern era, a blog can also be the gateway to greater and more ambitious uses of technology; everything from iPads in the classroom, to social networking accounts on Facebook or Twitter.

It is by using these new avenues of gadgetry and technology that a school can really impress new or prospective parents. Having a blog gives the impression that a school is aware of current trends, and technologically literate enough not only to cope with emerging avenues of technology, but to embrace the new and exciting ways in which teachers can communicate with their students and with parents. A school with a blog is a school that faces towards the future, rather than to the past.

All these positives are very much focused on the idea of a blog as an official output for a school; but what if blogs are directly authored not by the school as a whole, but by a specific member of staff? An excellent example of this is the Headmaster’s blog at Bromsgrove School. Anyone who has read this blog will know that the Headmaster communicates in a very witty, light-hearted tone, and more importantly, he also often talks about non school-related matters. It’s tempting to consider this blog as a sort of unofficial representation of the school, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

These personal style blogs are the perfect way for a school to advertise itself. By providing readers with an intelligent and witty advocate, in the form of a headmaster or a teacher, this modern, off-beat communication can really show off a school’s resources. The personal touch also means that it will often be less dry, and consequently more humorous, than official blogs, which means that they’re more likely to be read by a larger audience.

In this way, what every school actually needs is two different blogs. One to replace the information exchange of the humble school newsletter and another to provide a charming, personal voice that may attract potential parents. It’s a cheap and easy way to both manage and advertise a school.

Rachel is an education blogger with a particular interest in technology for schools.

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