Blogging Basics

As part of the ‘constructivist’ approach to teaching and learning, you will be applying Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) and critical digital literacies in the creation, evaluation and analysis of professional teaching blogs. In the creation of a professional blog, you will learn essential technical skills required to create, manage, and design a digital space. You will analyze and evaluate educational blogging tools, processes, and products. You will create a digital presence in your professional blog that will model digital citizenship, apply digital design techniques, and showcase digital standards. These How-To-Guides and video resources are only the beginning. Continue to search and collect your own resources to learn more about blogging, commenting, and managing blogs as an educator. We’ll focus on THREE of the most common blogging platforms.

So, what is a blog?

FIRST – decide which digital tool you’d like to use to create your blog. I’ve suggested 3 options on this page (when you scroll down). If you need to talk about these options, please reach out to me.

Once your blog is created, prepare a draft of your first blog message – for an ABOUT page and an introductory welcome post. This should be a brief introduction to you as a digital producer and participating citizen of the digital world. Please make this no more than two paragraphs – that’ll be a great beginning. Think about purpose, audience and text features as you compose your initial content (there is always time to edit any and all messages).

NEXT – learn the difference between a page and a post. This video may help explain things. You can read more on Sue Waters’ blog post.

  1. CREATE your first PAGE – this could be an ‘about me’ page to outline some basic information about yourself, including a digital avatar image to represent you.
  2. CREATE your first POST – introduce yourself to the blogging audience with a story about your shoe and include a ‘shoe selfie’ image.

Explore blogging platforms and tools.

Finding more information about educational blogs is as easy as doing a web search e.g. this ultimate guide to using blogs.

Making an Informed Decision – which tool to use
Read this blog post by Richard Byrne and then access the comparison chart for each of the recommended blogging tools.

Let’s take a closer look at three FREE blogging tools.

Blogger

For the purpose of this course, I’m suggesting you use BLOGGER since this is provided to you as part of your university Google account. BLOGGER is a free tool that will allow you to get into blogging for yourself as a professional user and for your future use as an educator if Google Tools are used by the school system.

Getting StartedLearn about the features and affordances of blogs. Watch this video on How to Set Up a Blog on Blogger to get started. Picking your blog name and theme is the first challenge to face. Here are some links to get you started with pages, posts and templates.

Make sure you review the privacy and permissions section on this page. To make changes to the template for your blog review this Goggle support page – Template designer.

Getting started with a new blog:

How to embed google docs into blogger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpypgHBMkUw

How to embed google presentation (slides) into Blogger: https://youtu.be/vWq8mlBYGmc

How to use Blogger for iPhone: https://youtu.be/0yHO-86h0Vk

How to add pages to your blog in BLOGGER: https://youtu.be/Q4Hznp0HHzY

Manage your blog’s comments will help you set the controls, moderate unwanted or spam comments, and delete unwanted comments on your blog site.

WordPress

This course site is created on a WordPress platform. It is one of the most commonly used blogging platforms. If you’d like to have support in setting things up. please contact your instructor.

The Ultimate Guide to Start a WordPress blog – this step by step guide includes text and video resources to get your blog site up and running. The hardest part may be figuring out the ‘name’ for your blog. Be creative but keep it simple.

How to Start a WordPress Blog: A Free Blogging Guide (2018) – this is a text based site with easy to follow steps. It has some pop-up ads, but you can remove them as they appear.

Beginner’s Guide to Comment Moderation on WordPress – this link provides text and a video resource that provides basic understanding on how to manage comments on your WordPress site.

WordPress Tutorial for Beginners {video link} published in 2018 so the information is current and may help you design and develop your WordPress blogging skills.

Weebly for EDUcation

Since this free platform has alternative ways of presenting content, it is presented here as an option as a blogging platform. Watch this introduction video [Weebly for Education Demo] to get you started. If you’d like to have a Weebly site, this can be done under my account so you don’t need to create an account of your own. IF you hope to blog and create a web presence beyond this course, create your own account – it’s free!

Getting Started With Weebly for Education  is presented by ed-tech advocate Richard Byrne and takes you right from the startup and signup with Weebly Education.

How to build a website in 15 minutes with Weebly: This video takes you through similar basics as the previous video but shows different elements to consider as you create a Weebly site.

Commenting on Blogs

Commenting on Blogs is another way to have conversations with others. You can turn commenting off, which prevents others from commenting. You can opt to moderate comments, which means you can approve or delete comments before they appear on your blog posts. This is what I do. You can allow full and open commenting, but you should monitor comments, since spammers and spoofers could negatively impact your blog appearance.

Use a Question formation chart like the one here to formulate rich questions when creating a comment. This will ensure that a conversation can occur.

This video is a great way to introduce commenting to students, so we’ll use this to get started on this particular digital fluency.

If you have any questions or concerns about blogging, any “how do I do it” questions, or you just get stuck, DON’T HESITATE to ask!