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Friday, May 1, 2015

Pros & Cons of Using Blog Posts for School Announcements

On Tuesday I assessed the pros and cons of using social media for school announcements. The next day I did the same for text messaging. Yesterday, I broke-down the pros and cons of emailing school announcements. To wrap-up the series let's take a look at the pros and cons of using blog posts for school announcements.

Blog platforms:
If you are only using your blog to post announcements about your school or classroom, you have plenty of options for a blogging service. Blogger, WordPress.com, and Edublogs make it easy to start a blog in a matter of minutes. A comparison of five popular blog platforms can be found here. Weebly and Google Sites also have options for running blogs within the context of a larger website.

Pros of using blog posts as school announcements:
  1. It is easy to have multiple people maintain the blog. The burden of keeping parents informed about school news doesn't rest with just one person. 
  2. An archive of announcements is automatically created and easy to find. 
  3. You can include as much media as you like (or your hosting allows) in a blog post. It is easy to include video of a great school event. Or include an audio announcement that is accessible to struggling readers. 
  4. You can write announcements in advance and schedule them for distribution at later times. 
  5. You can easily call attention to and direct people to previous announcement and or to reference pages containing things like school calendars and handouts. 
Cons of using blog posts as school announcements:
  1. Parents must remember to check your blog or you convince them to subscribe to it.
  2. If you have commenting enabled you will need to must moderate comments. 
  3. If you don't have comments enabled parents will have to open a separate email client or call to ask questions about information in the blog post. 
  4. If your blog's URL is complicated, people will have a hard time remembering it correctly. For example, parents in my district often complained about remembering the structure of sad17.k12.me.us when looking for some of my colleague's blogs. My blog was simply mrbyrneteaches.com (I spent $10 per year for hosting that domain through Blogger and wrote off the cost on my taxes). 
  5. If you choose to self-host your blog you will have to spend time maintaining the back-end for software updates and security. 
A couple of considerations that are neither pros nor cons.
  1. Blog posts can easily be converted into and sent as email messages through services like FeedBlitz, FeedBurner, and Aweber to name a few. Parents who prefer email can receive the posts through those services. Parents who prefer to subscribe to a blog via RSS can use services like Feedly and Flipboard to follow the blog. 
  2. Nearly every blogging platform will let you create static pages for content like calendars, policies, and handouts.