Quite a while back, I wrote a post about blogging for educational purposes and introduced Kidblog as a teacher- and student-friendly platform. For part seven of this ongoing series about using Google+ for education, let’s talk about using Blogger, another great tool from Google, for the same purpose.
Getting started with Blogger is pretty straightforward. If you already use other Google products, for instance Gmail, it is as easy as signing in using the same email and password. If you do not currently use any Google products, you will have to take a minute or two to create an account by filling out a basic registration form. Once you have signed in, you should be on the Blogger home page and able to start setting up your new blog.
Click “New Blog” and then choose a title, web address, and theme to get going. The next page is a little on the overwhelming side, because you are able to adjust pretty much everything, but you can always go back and make changes later on once you figure out what is and is not working for you and your students. The most important features early on are being able to add posts, and the settings.
From the blog’s dashboard, start a new post by clicking the pencil in the top left corner of the page or clicking “New Post.” There are a lot of elements you can manipulate in your post, but luckily Blogger’s layout is very similar to common writing programs like Microsoft Word, so there is not too much of a learning curve here. Add pictures and videos to add flair to your post. When you are done working on it, preview, save, or publish it.
Now settings is the last option in the sidebar on the left when looking at the dashboard, and I recommend just reading through all the settings options carefully. What you choose to do for settings will depend quite a bit on your school and the age of your students. You can alter the privacy settings as well as control who can post and leave comments on the blog. When working with younger students, you will likely want to limit the writers of posts to your students, readers to your students plus perhaps family members and certain school employees, and commenters to only members of the blog. You, as the blog’s administrator, may also want to moderate all posts and comments to prevent unacceptable material from being published. When working with adults, you obviously have more freedom to open the blog up to a much wider community or even make it public depending on the purpose and content of the blog.
That is really all there is to it. When I started my first personal blog, it was through Blogger, and I remember how easy it was to get the basics down. After some time, I decided to start making completely unnecessary changes to the template and fine-tuning certain visuals, but since I am not that great with html, it got a little tricky. On the plus side, if you ever get stuck, there is always the Blogger help page and, when in doubt, Google to get you back on track.
What do you think of blogging for educational purposes? What platforms would you recommend for doing so? Share your comments, questions, and experiences by leaving a comment below.