So You Want to Start a Blog? Do it Today!thinking.jpg

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top.pngWhat is a Blog?

A blog – short for "web log" – is a public (or semi-public) online journal or web site with entries organized by date & often by categories. Blogs can invite readers’ comments. In education, blogs provide a unique opportunity to organize, reflect on & share news, resources, projects & insights.

top.pngWorkshop Overview

In this supportive lab, explore exemplary educational blogs, then dive in to create your own - for professional development, collective or individual reflection, resource collections, class news & homework, project journals, or a student writing & discussion forum. Add images, widgets & links. Discuss internet safety & privacy. We’ll use free web tools. Your blog is yours to keep.
Engage in active problem solving. Subscribe to & comment on others’ blogs, & add your resources, ideas & reactions to our workshop blog. Begin building a set of practical tools & skills to tap into after the workshop.

  • The best educational blogs & how to find more
  • Diverse uses of blogs in education
  • Tools for subscribing to blogs (RSS/feed readers)
  • Services & tools for creating blogs
  • Add-ons to make blogging easier, customize your blog, & promote it
  • Advantages & challenges of blogging in school
  • Go “live” to set up a real blog of your own
  • Contribute to our TRLD “bloggers’ blog” with your conference resources & insights
  • Start blogging & commenting to build your educational community & resources
Use our workshop blog to connect with other bloggers, explore blogging tools and how we might use them to teach and collaborate.

For more on blogging, visit my web site, kirstenhaugen.org

top.pngBefore You Blog...

Before learning how to blog, learn about blogging. You can watch Blogging in Plain English from CommonCraft:

Now take time to consider what to blog about and why! Check out my blogging resources for up-to-date articles on blogging in education. Explore 2-3 articles to learn about blogging.
  • Team – who will write? You? Students? Others?
  • Audience – who will read & comment?
  • Scope – what is your focus goal & theme?
  • Organization – brainstorm sub-topics to make a list of tags, keywords or categories.

top.pngFind Great Educational Blogs

Find more educational blogs by visiting:
  • supportblogging.com – a wiki on blogging, with a list of educational blogs
  • classblogmeister.com – David Warlick's blogging service, with a list of educational blogs
  • Classroom Blogs – blogs by and with students of all ages
  • Blogs for Teachers – teachers sharing their insights, tips, resources and more
...and check the blogroll on any blog you like.

top.pngSubscribe to Blogs with RSS

You can easily keep up with new entries in your favorite blogs, by subscribing (for free) to an RSS feed, also called an XML or atom feed. You'll need an aggregator or feed reader which searches for any new content from all your favorite blogs and organizes it in one easy place.
To subscribe to a blog, click the RSS feed button (usually a little orange graphic) which links to the RSS feed. That is the URL you would input to the aggregator. Learn more about RSS, feeds, subscribing, etc.

top.pngCreate Your Own Blog

Decide on the purpose and scope of your blog and write it up! Brainstorm some topics or categories, then choose a blogging service:
  • blogger.com – Google's popular free service
  • edublogs.org – free blogs for teachers
  • learnerblogs.org – free blogs for students
  • classblogmeister.com – dedicated class blogs
  • vox.com – another free service, lots of features

top.pngSet up Your Blog

Provide an email address to sign up, then choose a user name & password. You may need to respond to an email to confirm. Log in to reach your blog's admin page. Search the tabs or headings to explore all the things you can do.
Blog templates vary in looks but also in features & options - be sure to explore!
Public or Private? Some services offer private blogs, with only invited readers & contributors

top.pngWrite a Blog Entry or Post

A blog post consists of a title, entry, date & tags, categories or keywords. Often blogs provide more features, but these are the basics. Make your title clear, brief, inviting & informative. Add an image. Choose your categories. Click to post!

top.pngUse Categories, Keywords & Tags

  • Use categories or tags to organize your blog. Clear topics make it easier to search your blog.
  • Keep your keywords consistent & simple – blogs or blog, but not both!
  • These tags or categories appear in your blog's side bar to allow for quick searches
  • You can add several topics to one blog entry

top.pngTry Some Blogging Extras

  • Static Pages – create regular web pages rather than blog entries, useful for creating a whole web site with background & contact info.
  • Enable Comments to let readers respond to your entries. Avoid comment spam with spam blocking tools like Askimet.
  • Blogroll – add links to other blogs you like
  • Tag clouds show tags in a cluster where tags with more links appear in a larger font.
  • Widgets – add features to your blog with tools like widgetbox.com
  • Mail-to-Blog – send posts to your blog from email or your cell phone; search ‘blog via email’ in Help
  • Scribefire.com – try this Firefox plug-in for posting quick blog entries from any web page

More blogging tools & tips –

top.pngAdd Images, Movies & Sound

Most blog entry forms have buttons to add images, movies, audio & more. Sites like YouTube & Flickr provide the code to copy & embed multimedia items in your blog. See also:
  • TeacherTube.com – like YouTube for educators
  • EPNweb.org – podcasting for educators

top.pngCreate an Acceptable Use Agreement

...Especially if you blog with students. Examples:

top.pngYour input

Please add your input about podcasting by clicking the Discussion tab above, for any page on this wiki.