When I began blogging, I had never even read a blog. I had no writing skills and I didn’t know I had anything worthwhile to say (sadly, I still lack both) but I knew that some things need to be said without being connected to the official school website, with a blog you can have the discussions with people from all over the world. This is the real benefit to school teachers who blog, or use Twitter, or participate in any type of Social Media.
Now, I have been speaking with a number of schools and education organisations this week about how blogs and social media can help them share knowledge, learn from others and develop a community.
But before I could explain any of that I had to show the difference between a website and a blog.
Similarities between a website and a blog
To the casual observer both are the same. Both are online and both give information. This is why most are confused. But take a look at how I compare them:
Differences between a website and a blog
|Look and feel||Pages on generic information Very difficult to determine when information has been updated Includes a portal or intranet site Very little valuable content for general public||Combination on Pages and Posts Posts are updated on a regular basis All information is available for free|
More newspaper feel – article Information Overdrive Very specific information about organisation, students
|Personal voice-specific examples from classes Observations from own learning Recommends other sites, books|
|Participation||Very little participation– may link to twitter and Facebook but it isn’t integrated to the site.||Encourages commenting, guest posts Facebook and Twitter integrated on Blog Seeks out participation|
Who has the authority on the internet?
The online sites with the most authority are those that have frequently updated information, and people who access the information regularly. Take a look at the following Montessori Sites:
- Chasing Cheerios: A blog by a Montessori Parent
- My Montessori Journey: A site by a Montessori Teacher
Both of these blogs are excellent examples of two sites with online authority on Montessori education. Now compare the information to a Montessori School Website. The common elements are: General School Information, History Lesson, Policies and Procedures and a Login Screen to the parent page. Mind you, some are utilizing blogs and social media.
Answer these questions:
Which type of site shows enthusiasm and joy or teaching and learning?
Which type of site shows expertise?
Which type of site would encourage participation by current parents and new parents?
Which site would you listen to and trust?
Education Organisations need to offer more.
I believe all education institutions need both a website and a blog. If you want to show me, your current parent and future parent that you are the best education system for my children then you need to prove it.
I need the facts, the history lesson and a run down on your school administration procedures. But I also want to read about your vision, your opinions on education, and examples of how you, as well as your school is learning and improving. I want you to be the authority on education and I want your online presence to reflect that as well.