Thursday, September 20, 2012


Keeping parents and other stakeholders informed of the process is crucial. This is the text of the first of about 6 parent communications I will be sending home over the next 5-6 weeks.

This year, all Freshmen students have staked out a blog space where they will be guided through reflecting on their growing understanding of the SLRs during their time at HKIS. With our rich technological environment and 1:1 laptop program, we have all the right tools in our grasp to make this an authentic and valuable digital learning experience where the students can reflect upon and record their own growth over four years, with guidance, oversight and instruction.
A ‘blog’ (contraction of ‘web log’) is merely a digital presence; an online website where an author posts entries in reverse chronological order (newest on top) about some topic. Blogs can host a wealth of digital content; movies, photos, hyperlinks, embedded documents, and serve many purposes.
  • Interest blogs, where authors share their hobbies, like fashion, technology, movies or travel;
  • Information blogs, with info on family gatherings, concerts, etc or documenting an event;
  • Expert blogs, where the author provides guidance and resources for others with a similar interest. Many teachers post ideas for lessons via blogs of this type;
  • Collaborative blogs, where groups of individuals collaborate and enhance their communication channels;
  • Reflective blogs, where authors post their thoughts on a topic for an intended audience.
The main thing that all these types of blogs have in common is that the posts are done by individuals in a digital space, with the hopes that they will hold the interest of readers.

The student blogs are of the Reflective type. Over the course of this year, the counselors are teaching the students about the SLRs and their relevance to the HKIS learning experience. As these are transcendent ideas that exist across all courses and activities, they are not usually directly taught within a subject area, yet they are important to the HKIS learning experience. The blogs ensure that the students are mindful of their existence and reflective on their growing understanding. As they make reflective posts once or twice a month over the next few years, they will generate an historical record of their own developing understanding of the SLRs, and as a result can see and share evidence of their own growing maturity as thinkers and learners.

As a digital learning tool, blogs offer some tremendous opportunities, and accordingly schools worldwide are leveraging them. Students improve their literacy skills, learn appropriate online behaviors, improve their skills with using technology, develop a learning partnership with their family, school and friends, and generate a record of content and growth that is relevant and important. As students ‘grow’ their blog with more posts and take increasing pride in their production, they can also generate an audience of readers from among their friends and family, who can provide important feedback and validation for the student’s reflections. This is a truly authentic learning experience being developed under the watchful eyes of their counselors, homeroom teachers, peers and parents.

Next week: More on blog security, and how to check your child’s settings to ensure that you are comfortable with who does, and does not, have access.

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