Thing 1: Blogging

CC flickr user sylviaduckworth</a?
CC flickr user sylviaduckworth

Welcome to Thing 1 : Blogging!

This is our first topic in our 2016-17 “Cool Tools for School” learning program! Congratulations on joining so many of your colleagues on this learning adventure. To understand how the project will work, make sure you read over the About the Project page and the other links on the menu above.

READY TO START?

In this first lesson, we’ll explore blogging and you’ll set up your own blog to keep track of your progress through this learning program.

  • Read through the introduction below.
  • Explore 2 or 3 of the examples, videos and readings that interest you. (remember, you don’t have to explore everything!)
  • Finally, do the learning activity in which you’ll set up a blog to chronicle your learning and reflections during the workshop.
  • And – Have Fun!

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever kept a diary, a journal or some sort of file that logs your activities, thoughts, ideas? Well, that’s simply what a blog (or “web log”) is. An online journal where you can write regular updates, or “posts”, about a topic – any topic! Write about your travel, your hobbies, your family, your work – anything that interests you.

Since blogs are usually public, other people can share their thoughts and ask questions through the commenting feature on your blog. It’s a great way to connect with other people interested in the same topic.

Blogs let you do all this without having to know anything about HTML or other web-page coding stuff. And best of all, you can do it for for free with tools like WordPress.com, Blogger, tumblr, Weebly and others.

And blogging is a huge opportunity for students to show what they are learning, share their work and make connections with other students around the world. Check out this video showcasing a schoolwide “blogfolios” project!

(Learning about Schoolwide WordPress Blogs with Andrea Hernandez)

BLOGS IN SCHOOLS & LIBRARIES

Ideas for blogging in schools & libraries:

  • Share news & professional information with other teachers and staff.
  • Keep students & parents up to date on school projects.
  • Share book recommendations and reviews.
  • Get students involved – student writing projects, research journals, student portfolios.
  • Read other people’s blogs to keep up on professional news and ideas.
  • A book discussion blog for students and staff.
  • Post research tips and tools for classes.
  • and much more!

Some tips, ideas and examples:

Examples of library and school oriented blogs to explore:

Chances are your organization or someone you work with has a blog already, ask around!

BLOGGING TOOLS

There are many different blogging tools to choose from. These are some of the most popular tools. Pick one to create your blog for this workshop.

  • WordPress.com or Edublogs – (FREE) both of these services use WordPress software as their core. So if you’re familiar with WordPress already, these will be easy to use.
  • Blogger – (FREE) If you already have a Google account, you can use that to create your Blogger blog.
  • Weebly – (FREE) Very friendly drag and drop sort of interface. Use it to create a blog or take it further and create project websites.
  • SCHOOL ORIENTED: EduBlogs, (individual and classroom accounts are free. Pro account for $39.95/year adds some features.)  Weebly (free) and KidBlog ($44/year with a 30 day free trial) all have options to set up classroom accounts that are managed by the teacher.

LEARNING ACTIVITY

Your activity for this lesson, is to create a blog to keep a record of what you’re learning during the Cool Tools workshop.

Choose whatever tool you’d like to use, one of the ones listed above or any other blogging tool that you want to try.

Step 1: Pick the blogging tool that you like and create your own blog for the project.

Please note: You must have your own blog to participate in the Cool Tools workshop. Please don’t register your library or classroom blog for this project. We will be looking at your blogs to see how you’re doing with each lesson and encouraging you to have conversations with your colleagues via comments on your blog posts.

DO THIS! –> Write down your account info and keep it handy. Login, password, URL, blog name.

Step 2: Create your first blog post

Tell us a little bit about:

  • who you are
  • where you work
  • why you’re taking part in this program
  • what you’ve learned about blogging during this lesson

Please title your post “Thing 1: Blogging”. Feel free to write as many posts as you like, it’s your blog after all!

*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT

  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.


NEED HELP?

  • Take a look at the help files for the tool you chose to use.
  • Ask around and see if your colleagues and friends know the answer. Next time you might know the answer for them! That’s the start of a really great Personal Learning Network.
  • Really stuck? Leave a message in the comments box below and we’ll try to sort things out for you!

MORE TO EXPLORE

If you’re very familiar with blogging and want to explore a bit more, here are some ideas.

  • Try a new blogging platform!
  • Learn how to customize the sidebars of your blog. You might add a twitter widget, a Facebook widget (the Like Box is great if you have a Facebook page for your library or classroom), a GoodReads widget with your latest book suggestions.
  • If you’re partnering with someone who is doing this project for the first time, help them set up their blog and get started with the program. Was it easy for them? Were there challenges?
  • Start to outline a blogging project you might use with students, staff, parents.
  • Or anything else that you want to try that’s related to blogging.

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5 thoughts on “Thing 1: Blogging

  1. I love Blogging because it stands as a diary from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It archives the library’s evenths through different apps and it speaks for itself asits best advertisement. Blogging highlights your personality and it is fun. Bottom line: it is fun.

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