Kent ISD's New Blog

Getting Smart With: BLOGS!

“Work smarter, not harder,” is what we are told.

As a Professional Development Coordinator for Kent ISD, the goal of my job is to keep Kent County educators informed about professional learning opportunities available to them.  My team and I have been working hard to do this and have been successful. However, I repeat, we have been working hard, so the real question is “could we do better?”

So we decided to rethink our process and figure out a way to work smarter! 

In the past, we created a newsletter that shared with subscribers all of the professional learning we have to offer at Kent ISD.  We also included articles in this newsletter that help spread the word about big events, hot topics in education, technology tips, and anything an educator might be interested in to increase their learning.  This newsletter took a lot of effort to create the stories and tweak the formatting. It was also hard for our readers to comment and share the articles with others.

Then we thought, what about a blog?

  • Kent ISD's New BlogA blog is a perfect way to collaborate with a team.  WordPress has a feature that allows multiple authors and editors to work on blog posts.  This has made it easier for my team to work on our posts and edit.
  • A blog allows readers to interact with us and each other. Now our readers can comment on a post, share the post via email, Facebook or Twitter, and even pin a post to Pinterest to read later.
  • A blog is easy and fun to create. Many blog sites have easy to use interfaces and templates to create a beautiful eye catching design without being a graphic designer.
  • A blog is an automated process. You can create your blog posts and set them up to go out at a specific date and time in the future.  This allows you to create when you have time and distribute when your readers are available to read.

We decided to try a blog this year.  Our new blog has links to all the same great professional learning options. However, now they are in an easier to navigate format.  We are also still producing the same type of articles, but more energized and focused on the topics that interest our readers.

And now our readers can start a conversation about our posts by sharing through email, Facebook, Twitter or commenting directly on the blog post.  It is also much easier for our readers to sort through posts by searching our tags and categories to find other posts that may interest them.

Through this process we have found that we are meeting our goals and the expectations of our readers.  We hope that you are enjoying the new format.

Are you using a blog for your school newsletter? Please comment on this post to share with other educators the benefits you have found with using a blog.

 

4 thoughts on “Getting Smart With: BLOGS!”

  1. Our educational technology team is doing pretty much the same thing – that is, transitioning from giant email LISTSERVs to a blog format.

    The blog as newsletter seems to be a better fit because the information is much richer and you can find things easier than trying to hunt through your email to find something (that you may have deleted)…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our Tech & Media Team has been running a blog for about 3 years now (http://glpstech.blogspot.com/), and for the past 2 years we have been using it as our primary vehicle for communicating with staff. We have also been using Feedburner to allow staff to subscribe to our posts and we also send out a recap every month (our September “newsletter” recapping our blog posts – https://www.smore.com/1y5q3). We also tweet our posts (@GLPSTech) and when relevant, post them to our Rebel U Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/GLPSRebelU).

    One thing that we really like about this communication method is that it allows us to share information on a regular basis with our staff, but does not inundate them with emails and does not require them to follow us on a specific social media platform. Blogger also always multiple authors to post to the same blog, which allows all members of the team to post to the blog and share expertise from different knowledge bases. Our staff seems to enjoy the control they have over notifications and we like being able to communicate information on a regular basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We use a WordPress site for our newsletter (pantherpipline.net), but it’s mostly one way, as we’ve turned off commenting. We send out the link once a month with a post from our head principal as the top post for the month. It has been a great way to replace our old pdf generated by Microsoft Publisher that we were doing just a few short years ago!

    A few of us at West Ottawa have been blogging as more of a way of professional reflection & personal sharing, check mine out if you’d like at jordanbeel.me. There are even some great blogging groups to join on Twitter! (#blogamonth, #compelledtribe).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Using a blog versus a traditional style newsletter may be practical as long as you combine a couple other principles to effective communications. First, don’t overdo the content and provide a table of contents at the top of the post that lets the reader jump right to the item(s) that interest them most. Second, newsletter-type communications should be published on a regular day or date so that the core group of your readers get in the habit of looking forward to the next post. When newsletters regardless of their style show up at haphazard times, many readers will lose interest in following that particular blog. Think about old-style, home-delivered newspapers and how angry a subscriber might have gotten if the paper showed up late or not at all. And last, be sure to use social-networking and yes, even email, to promote your blog. Not everyone will automatically become followers of your blog so if you want to build readership, it still takes hard work.

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