Blogs – what, why and how? A blog is a web-log It is a simple website that anyone can setup without any advanced computer know-how It’s the future: blogs,
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Blogs – what, why and how? A blog is a web-log It is a simple website that anyone can setup without any advanced computer know-how It’s the future: blogs, video blogs, audio blogs. Blogs are the principle reason Time magazines person of 2006 was ‘YOU’!
Why blog? Publish Homeworks Publish useful web links, assessment guides, rubrics, tips on the blog for students to use at home/in school. Celebrate students achievement – ‘public’ recognition of achievement. Links etc will be there for all time – next year it will all be there already! Students DO use them: My blog so far has over 5000 ‘hits’. Its been up and running in this form since October 2006 (less than 4 months). I get a few hits from ‘other’ people, but 4000+ are ISM students. Potentially lots more: blogs in education are really at the ‘beginning’. Already people are experimenting with using blogs for inter-school links: an instant online archived conversation
First go to www.wordpress.comwww.wordpress.com The page should look something like this. Click on ‘start your Wordpress Blog’
Now enter your details into the sign up form. Your user name should be memorable and you probably want to use your ism email address to sign up. Make sure you click the ‘I have read the terms of service’ button and then click on ‘next’
The ‘blog domain’ is the ‘www’ address that students will need to type to find your blog, so make it simple and memorable! The blog title is the name of the blog: e.g. ISM History. Once you are done just click on ‘sign up’
You will probably want to fill in some basic details about yourself here. Now you need to check your email. There should be an email from wordpress, click on the link in it and…
You should arrive at a page like this. Note down the password, you can change it later. Click on Login
Click on the name of your blog to enter the ‘Dashboard’
The dashboard is where you access all the different management functions of your blog. Yours will probably look a bit bare at the moment, but it will be full info in no time! Now lets set an important option that will stop students adding random comments to the blog (potentially very embarrassing). Click on ‘Options’
The options page does exactly what is says. Now lets go to ‘discussion’ options by clicking on the ‘discussion’ button.
Move down the page a bit and you should see this. These settings are the ones I recommend. It means that anyone can comment on your blog, but that nothing will actually appear on your blog until you have ‘moderated’ the comments: allowing you to catch unwanted comments before they appear! Make sure you click on ‘update settings’ at the bottom of the page, or these changes won’t be saved. After you have done that click on ‘presentation’ at the top.
Here you can select different ‘themes’ to make your blog look individual. Try a few out, you can always revert back to the original one. I prefer ‘Andreas04’. Now click on ‘sidebar widgets’
Sidebar widgets appear in the ‘columns’ of your blog. They provide useful things like a search box, blog stats, a list of categories and useful weblinks (wordpress calls these blogroll’). You will want to experiment with these later for the best functionality and look. Now lets look at how you add a ‘post’ to your blog. Click on ‘write’ in the menu at the top of the page
To add a post you simply type in the title, the content and then click on ‘publish’. Posts are automatically added chronologically, with the most recent appearing at the top of your blog first. If you want to attach a file (e.g. a PowerPoint, word document, picture etc) then you can do so from the ‘upload panel below. One of the most useful things about wordpress is the ability to ‘tag’ your posts. So for example if I ‘tag’ this post with the tag ‘7C’ then clicking on the ‘7C’ catogory in my blog will show this post, and any others that are also tagged 7C. This allows you to keep posts ordered: members of 7C can simply click to see all the posts that are relevant to them, without all the other forms posts getting in the way!
There are many other things you can do with a wordpress blog. Most things can be done very simply: 90% of the things on my blog simply involve the ‘write’ button. If you have any questions about how to do anything else then please ask!