Blogging certainly can be a powerful, positive and a great tool for learning. This page will look at what blogging is, why blogging is great for learning and then also outline the makeup of blogs and some tips and tricks for blogging.
Blogs are generally thought of as series of time-stamped articles “posts” but in fact, a huge number of websites actually have a blog platform as their base with a primary focus of linking static “pages” together (more on this below).
Blogging for Learning:
There are many ways that blogs can be used for learning:
- Blogs can help in building writing skills as well as requiring the demonstration of other digital skills.
- Blogs are a great platform to model positive digital citizenship with writing posts and pages but also commenting on other people’s content and appropriate use of social media for sharing and promoting content. There is also the added bonus of encouraging the building of positive online profiles (digital footprints if you will!).
- Class or subject blogs can feature examples of work as well as pulling content together into a website or blog. They can share the learning and resources beyond the classroom.
- Individual blogs are great for a portfolio of work and there is no need for new blogs for each subject if categories and menus are used well together (see the tips below).
The Main Elements of a Blog?
So let’s get familiar with some of the elements of a blog:
- Pages are static content but it can be refreshed as often as required. Pages bring the features of a website into a blog.
- Posts are our time-stamped articles like news items. They can be used well to highlight personal thoughts, events, updates etc. Posts make up the “blog” part of a blog.
- Menus take hold of most of the navigation of your site. Different themes for a blog vary in how they show menus and how many menus can be shown as well as enabling sub-menus.
- Categories allow posts (and pages included with a little magic) to be pulled together into themes.
- Tags also allow for content to be grouped together and help with the ability to search. Often tags can be put into a “tag cloud” on the site where the more a tag is used the larger it will be in comparison to other tags.
- Widgets fit in the sidebars and footers and can do all sorts of cool things like embedded content, menus, archives, Twitter feeds and other web content etc.!
- Themes can be changed for a blog and change the whole look and feel of the blog. they can be free or paid
- Plugins are where it starts to get a bit more technical but they are very cool for fine tuning and going further. Plugins bring other features to your site like great graphical elements or ways of interacting with content.
Editing a blog is just like editing most other online options. All sorts of elements can be added to a page or post and formatted how you like. To really get amongst it, you can turn to HTML mode and really fine-tune as well as embed content and all sorts of magic! Stay tuned!
Getting Going with some good options:
Inbuild Blogging options: Many large organisations like NSW DEC already have pre-built blogging modules ready to go. They are powerful with accounts already created and many tools at the ready. As your first point of call, ask if your organisation already has a blogging platform set up.
Blogs in Services: Many services like Sharepoint (Office365) already have a blog set up for users. Likewise many Learning Management Systems like Schoology have simple blog areas built in. these tend to be just a very simple option but nevertheless still an option.
WordPress is a very powerful platform for blogging. WordPress.com offers free accounts with blogs and are a great way to get started. A full version of WordPress can also be hosted privately or in an organisation and a multisite instal can even be hosted like this blog is a part of blogs.sacs.nsw.edu.au (ask your IT people if this can be done for your organisation).
– Check out WordPress101 by NewingtonICT for more
Blogger is the free blogging platform from Google. It has become way more powerful in recent years with great themes. You can create a blogger account for free with a Google account.
– Check Blogger Blogs by Google on NewingtonICT blog for more
Blogging is certainly powerful and has great applications for learning. Create a blog or website and you won’t look back. It is also useful to note that there are tools to “zip” blogs and move content from one blog to another.
FUTURE NOTE: Check blogs.sacs.nsw.edu.au over time as we start to populate new blogs.
29 April 2015 – page created by Rolfe Kolbe @rolfek (updated 18 May 2016)