Blog updates enabled parents of Rivervale Primary School pupils to “follow” them around on their overseas trip to Kuching.
“I felt very excited and happy when I saw my mother's message on the school’s travel blog,” recalls pupil Jasmine Ting of Pri 4I. “I knew that she had read about our latest activities in Kuching, and that she knew we were in safe hands - and eating well!”
To our pupils at Rivervale Primary School and their peers, blogging is nothing new. But Jasmine and her schoolmates still got a real kick out of hearing from their families while they were on a school trip to Kuching, Sarawak. For their families, our school’s travel blog was a novel and convenient way to be assured of their children’s whereabouts overseas.
We ran the P4 Riverlites Go Kuching blog during the Pri 4 cultural immersion educational tour from 5 to 8 September 2007. Every night, we spent about three hours preparing a blog update, which included not only text but also digital images and videos of the day’s activities. Everything was quickly edited and uploaded, so that parents could virtually follow their children on visits to an orang utan sanctuary, Bidayuh longhouse and Sarawak cultural village, among others.
The parents’ response was great! They could see that their children’s time overseas was spent meaningfully. Some of them got hooked on reading the daily updates, and
our pupils’ younger siblings or grandparents would also badger the parents to check for updates. Parents left loving messages on the blog for their children, and as pupil Ernest Teo of Pri 4I says, “Even though I was feeling homesick, receiving my mother’s message made feel close to her and to my family.”
Pictures of Rivervale Primary School pupils were posted on the travel blog soon after each trip activity, such as this visit to a cultural centre.
Keeping in touch with parents while our pupils are overseas is a high priority for us at Rivervale Primary School. Through our Overseas Learning Journey Programme, pupils have the opportunity to travel to up to four countries - Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan and China - in their six years with us. They make their first overseas trip as early as in Pri 2!
We first used a travel blog to communicate with parents during a homestay trip to Japan last year. As Vice-Principal Mr Ismail Abdul Samat explains, “Using a blog, we can indirectly demonstrate to our pupils that blogging can be a tool for learning and a source of information. And because it is in the public domain, whoever is writing on the blog needs to use the appropriate language too.”
This year’s Kuching travel blog includes images and videos for the first time, and pupils could also respond on the blog to their parents’ messages. We’ve had such an enthusiastic response from everyone that we will definitely use blogging to communicate with parents on future trips, especially the longer ones.
Mr Jonathon Loh
Level Head, Information Technology
Rivervale Primary School