Broadmeadow Junior School in Kings Norton have taken social media in the classroom to a new level. Their use of blogs and twitter has now developed so that each class has its own blog and twitter account, sharing their classroom experiences with the world. We asked Broadmeadow’s ICT manager, Chris Talbot, some questions about their enthusiastic use of social media.
1. What inspired you to get each class blogging and tweeting?
Blogging began at Broadmeadow Junior on a very small scale in the form of a single year group, closed blog with Broadmeadow Elementary School in Boston, USA, who we are still blogging with. I soon realised that there was potential to develop this school-wide.
In education circles I was hearing people speak positively about the potential for blogs to offer all pupils an audience for their writing. As we got going with the class blogs at Broadmeadow Junior, it soon became clear that blogs could be used in so many different ways and have many different purposes and goals.
We began to use blogging to educate primary children in how to conduct themselves properly online and become 21st century communicators, to promote literacy and engage parents much more in their child’s education. One aspect that came as a surprise to us was how pupils’ self esteem was raised, simply by seeing their work appear on the internet and feedback from their new global audience is invaluable in achieving this.
Anyone from around the world can contribute to our blogs by leaving comments (moderated) and this feedback is essential for the children and staff to encompass the points of view, thoughts and feelings of others. We now blog about all subjects and topics, from PE to science! Year 6 are beginning a topic about the history of Kings Norton and are hoping for contributions from the community to help them. Year 5 are currently studying the weather, and have had a lovely contribution from an ITV weather girl!
Each class has it’s own Twitter account. We use Twitter for a variety of reasons. It is a useful tool to send small reminders to children and parents about things like trips or PE kits to save sending home notes, which invariably end up ‘lost’ in the depths of the school bag! The children also use it to tweet their favourite part of the day or lesson, or indeed something that they have learned. We also use it to contact our global ‘friends’ in other schools. The children particularly enjoy the challenge of clear and concise writing in just 140 characters (also a challenge for staff sometimes!).
2. Who writes the blog posts – teachers or pupils?
It began with staff putting examples of work on the blogs and inviting comment from pupils from within the school, but we soon began to receive comments from all over the world. This inspired the pupils to begin thinking of their own ideas and content for blogs. We are now at a stage where children are recognising things from lessons and other highlights from their school day that they would like to share with the global community. Children write and post the blogs under the direct supervision of their teacher.
3. What positive outcomes do you hope your use of social media will have?
Pupils will become 21st century communicators and learn the valuable lesson of internet etiquette, whilst being inspired to produce the best work that they can in order to share it with the world. Even the most reluctant learners are motivated to do this!
Parents can share their children’s learning journey.
Staff communicate with a global audience of teachers and share good practice.
The community, both local and global, have the opportunity to witness and share in all of the wonderful things we do at Broadmeadow Junior.
4. Who are your audience? Who do you hope will read the blogs?
Our audience consists of pupils, staff, parents, friends, family, pupils and teachers from other schools, the community, the world! All we hope is that someone will read the blogs and make a contribution!
5. What feedback have you had from pupils, parents and others?
Everyone loves our blogging! We have not received a single negative comment from pupils, parents or staff. As one parent said “When we get home from school, we go straight onto the website to see what they have been learning about and this sparks fabulous conversations about all sorts of things! It’s so lovely to share what they are doing at school!”
An Ofsted inspector has also visited the blogs and left a comment saying how thoroughly impressed he is.
6. How do you hope to develop your use of social media in the future?
The possibilities are endless! We are always forward thinking at Broadmeadow Junior, but for the time being, we’ll continue with what we are doing, to the best of our ability and see where the technological future takes us!
You can access the class blogs via Broadmeadow Junior School’s website. Have a look and leave them some comments!