Sunday 8 July 2012

Using the Power of Mobile Technology, Twitter and Blogging to Keep Parents Informed on a Residential

Whilst this blog post isn't about the iPad specifically, although the iPad was used, it is about the power of technology and how myself and Mr Williams used technology to keep parents up to date on their child's residential trip to Kingswood, Dearne Valley Outdoor activity centre.

For our school class blog, in year 6 we've been using Posterous.

Myself and Mr Williams came across Posterous by chance, after trying both Blogger and Wordpress, which wouldn't function properly in school because of the operating system used in our school, Windows XP, would not put Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration features in the current version of its browser, which both blog clients needed to operate without display issues.

Once we'd become familiar with Posterous and how to create spaces, we came across a useful feature, which allowed you to Autopost to Twitter. Once the Posterous app was downloaded onto the iPads and our Phones (it's only an iPhone app though not an iPad app) it meant that myself or Mr Williams, who has the Posterous app on his Android phone, could post a photo instantly onto the blog and it would create an automatic tweet once it had been posted.

Before the Year 6 trip to Dearne Valley we sent out a letter and a text message to parents informing them of our intention to blog pictures and short video clips of their children whilst on the residential. They were also informed that they could  follow our activities on the Year 6 twitter account @springcottagey6.

We created a space and set up the autopost option to our school twitter account on our Year 6 posterous blog. This was where we planned to upload photographs, videos and information about the trip. I did a quick test and everything was ready to go. The evening before we left we tweeted the intinary and activities to generate interest to the blog with our followers. Initially the number of parent followers was disappointing. Prior to leaving school to Dearne Valley we only had 4 parent followers.

With iPads, iPhones and Androids, loaded with the posterous app myself, Mr Williams, Mr Luscombe and Mrs Sellers began blogging almost immediately as we arrived at the activity centre on the Monday afternoon. The 49 children on the visit were split into 5 different groups and locations throughout the day, each with a teacher. Despite this each teacher was able to post to the blog simultaneously their groups experiences. Those teachers using iPads to capture photos and videos were able to use the school's Dongle whilst other were able to upload using 3G on their iPhones and Androids. If any photos or videos couldn't be uploaded in the field then the site had a wireless capacity both in the reception area and in the dormitory.

I can't emphasise enough how easy the whole process was. You simple selected the photos or video you wanted to post added a title and comment and hit send.

Spaces on the Year 6 blog
Posting onto the Year 6 blog using Posterous

Crate Stacking on the Year 6 Residential

For many of our children it was the first they had been on an overnight stay away from their parents. We hoped by regularly keeping parents up to date, via photos and videos and a bedtime journal that parents would be both reassured and pleased to see their child having such a great time.

Regular update to our blog via Twitter

Teachers back at school, who were following the blog daily, were sharing our progress with the children in their class. Word soon spread through siblings and parents informing others parents about our twitter updates and the content being posted to the blog. By the end of the trip we had 27 parent followers on Twitter, which was over half of the number of children on the trip. Many of these parents were also new to Twitter. In addition, the Dearne Valley blog received 47 comments and 30 Facebook Likes. Example comments from parents, include:

  • M Kemp said "Looks like you're all having a great time already! Big thanks to the staff for the blog photos, I'm sure they have put many parents at ease.
  • Nicola Kay said "Glad you have all arrived safely, we're eagerly watching your progress and fun."
The parents support was a great help, especially when we gave the children feedback. Examples include:

  • Alison Howard said "So proud of Morgan for doing the abseiling, thanks for posting it x."
  • Lisa Grundy said "Well done Harry. You rock dude!'
Twitter comments from parents

A message left by a parent

You can find more information about our blog on the Year 6 residential to Dearne Valley Outdoor Activity blog using the link below:


  1. Hi Dave.
    Liked the blog. I gave an alternative a try over the hols. It's here.

  2. mobile marketing solutions
    Tha iPads in Primary Education use.Its good review Thank you so much !!

  3. I always prefer those things which are useful in our education and i thing ipad also very useful if we use in proper way and we can use in our education as well as we can take to school and open the relevant topic information technology news related to our subject on the class and learn very useful things.