5 reasons why ST Communities will get you 'talking'

-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB OF ST COMMUNITIES EDUCATION
-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB OF ST COMMUNITIES EDUCATION
-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB OF ST COMMUNITIES ENTERTAINMENT
-- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB OF ST COMMUNITIES ENTERTAINMENT

Straits Times' Communities won the 2014 Digital Innovation of the Year award from Panpa (Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association) in a ceremony held in Sydney on Thursday night. The award recognises products that champion innovative approaches to journalism and content creation.Conceptualised and started in November 2012, ST Communities is made up of Entertainment and Education communities, with a Travel Community coming soon.Here are 5 reasons you should check out the ST Communities and see why it is a winner:

1. Readers get publishedST Communities allows readers, journalists, artistes and community partners to get published alongside one another and exchange views on entertainment happenings. It's really easy too - readers just need to sign-in using their social media accounts to contribute a post.

2. Share your thoughts

In Entertainment, fans can discuss about the latest movie, music album or play. Here, you can see reviews of the latest films by regular contributor Eternality Tan and music reviews by ST Life! journalist Boon Chan.

In Education, readers can share their views and parenting tips, or even contribute a blog post. For instance, you can read why parent Pauline Ng feels Yu Neng Primary is the choice school for her children, and why ST's Andy Chen thinks the German football team is like Singapore's education system.

Such contributions by both journalists and readers help widen the scope of discussions so that informed decisions can be made.

3. Ask SandraWorried about the Primary 1 registration? Do you have a burning question about Singapore's education policies?The Education Community has a special Ask Sandra section, where parents can send their queries directly to ST's Senior Education correspondent Sandra Davie, who will get the answers or check with the authorities about the questions.Readers can e-mail the writer at sandra@sph.com.sg with the header ASK SANDRA or follow and tweet her at @STasksandra.

Some of the questions that have been tackled include how to choose the right university course and whether parents are allowed to delay their children's entry into Primary 1.

4. Special contribution by ST Schools teamThe Schools Team, made up of ST journalists, posts interesting and educational approaches for parents to engage young children in the Education Community.

Learn useful games and read helpful guides such as step-by-step instructions on improving your vocabulary through scrapbooking,  and tips for spelling and pronouncing words of French origin.

5. Contests Winning prizes is easy in ST Communities, as there are tie-ups with generous sponsors and community partners to reward contributors.Previous contest prizes include meet-ups with South Korean actor Hyun Bin and Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, pizza parties by Dominos, G-Dragon giveaways and even staycations at local boutique hotels.