Edublogs Advice

The Edublogger is hosting a competition for Edublogs Advice and here is my advice for educators and students new to blogging.  (I am writing about blogging and blog organization basics)

First, let me tell you a little about myself and what I’ve come from.  Last year, my school did a 1:1 Laptop Pilot Program.  Three classes in the sixth grade were testing what would happen if we were to use laptops for most of our learning experiences.  My wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Plantan, was subscribing to a few people’s Edublogs and decided that we should try using them in our classroom.  She gave everyone in our class an Edublog and let us use them for assignments and personal blogging.  Edublogs really changed the way we wrote in the classroom.  We were adding to our digital footprint, and we were excited about writing like we never were before.  In late winter, Miss Wyatt began her annual Edublogs competition.  Mrs. Plantan encouraged us to enter, and before you knew it, my friend Abbey had won an award.  She won in the “Connecting To A Global Audience Category”.  Ever since she won that award, my class has been encouraged and excited, because we now know that a kid from a small town can do anything when they put their mind to it.

Questions and Answers:

How can teachers make the process easier?

Teachers can make the process of blogging easier for their students by setting an example.  If a teacher has a blog, it makes students want to blog, too.  The best way you can encourage is to tag some of your students in a fun post.  This means that you include their username and a link to their blog at the end of your post.  This means that they are supposed to do the same post, but make it their own.  They will get to tag people at the end of their post, and the chain continues.  Top ten and “favorites” lists always are fun.

How can I easily read all my students’ blogs?

I would suggest getting a Google account.  Google Accounts come with a lot of different uses, but Google Reader is what you need.  Google Reader is a service that allows you to insert the link to any blog, and it will monitor any updates made on those blogs.  You can read all of  your favorite blogs in one place.  This feature not only is great for teachers, but it’s great for students to read the blogs of their classmates.

What are your 5 most important tips for educators starting out blogging with students?

1. Make a few starting assignments that involve writing in blogs.  This will introduce students to one of the ways blogs can be used.  As an example, here are some of the posts that my teacher assigned: 1000 Pages, The Girl Who Owned A City, Snowflakes, Freedom, Hair Poem, and The Greatest Fighter of Evil.

2. Encourage kids to blog about more than just what you assigned them.  You can do this by showing them examples of kids’ blogs, dedicating one class period a week to free-blogging, or just sharing your blog posts.

3. Be patient for the first few days or times of blogging.  There always will be browser, password, and html problems.

4. Write down the username and password to each account.  This will be helpful when someone forgets it.  If you choose to do this, encourage kids not to change their passwords or the email associated with the account.  We’ve had that happen, and this results in making a new blog.

5. Try to use Internet Explorer instead of Safari or Firefox.  Firefox works most of the time, but you can trust Internet Explorer not to have many glitches in working with Edublogs.

Good luck with blogging and I hope you have a great school year!

Happy Blogging!

~Lauren 🙂

Image From:

http://ssclc.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/edublogs.jpg

41 thoughts on “Edublogs Advice

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  5. Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for the great advice for teachers. I have just started my own blog, and helped another teacher start one for her class, but I haven’t used it yet. As a Science teacher I’m struggling a little to think of how best to implement the use of blogs in my classes. I think it is easier for subjects like English and History. Maybe others can give advice about this?

    • That’s a good question. You could use the blogs to share information from labs that you do in class. You could also have kids share their discoveries with the world. When I think of blog, I think of sharing what you think with the world. Have students share their views on science with the world. I hope I could help!
      ~Lauren

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  7. Every individual’s learning requirements are unique. Some require different levels of support, some different degrees of direction. People have individual learning styles. Some learn better by observing others performing a task. Some learn better by practicing the task until they reach a level of personal satisfaction. I learn best by observing, listening and asking questions.
    Every person has their own history by which they learn to contextualise their learning. My history is complex, and has led to me being a disabled person. Understanding that a person with a disability might have undergone a tragic, violent abusive past, is essential. I require that any trainer asks my permission prior to exposing me to a graphic, emotionally confronting situation due to my experience with Post Traumatic Stress. A trainer must be able to have empathy towards individuals and listen to their concerns.
    It has been three years since I had to pace my way through the pain caused by stress. Placing a person under unnecessary stress does little to improve their ability to focus on learning. Instead it can be seen as the application of too much pressure and have an entirely opposite effect. Luckily for me, my learning style and experience has led me to a stage where I can easily make connections on the basis of past experience. Twenty plus years of working with computers has made the cert ii in I.T. relatively easy thus far!
    The trainers in I.T. have experience, both with I.T. and teaching and training and assessment. They posses empathy, respect for individuals, for difference and respect and encourage my questioning. For them, it does not matter if my questions are beyond the scope of the course. Learning is a 2 way interaction. It is my view that if I ask questions, which may lead to a practical constructive debate, then the entire class, including the trainer might learn something new.
    Constructive criticism can lead to experimentation, and in my own way I am a scientist. I am qualified to be a Social Scientist. One of my methods of learning is examining society and its members and observing the interactions which occur. My daughter is a scientist. She has a sign on her bedroom door stating “caution ‘mad scientist within’”. My husband is a mad inventor. We are a family living and learning together!

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  9. Well done. Thanks for the advice. I’m sure many new bloggers will revel in the guidance.
    I disagree with your comment about Internet Explorer being superior. Firefox is great! Let the debate continue 😉
    Happy blogging 🙂

  10. Lauren,
    You answered all the questions that were running through my mind. I hope my middle school students get to where you are now in blogging! This was a super post and very well written.

  11. Mrs. Plantan is the best teacher ever! We saw her when Marnie, Madison, and I went to go get our laptops in Mr. Weldy’s class and we all stopped to hug her but then MR. Weldy was like”YOU HAVE THIRTY SECONDS! DON’T HUG HER!!” It was really funny. We hugged her anyway-and we made it back by the thirty second timer. Yay!!

  12. Lauren,
    I’ve just set-up my students with their own blogs and they will begin using them in a couple of weeks. Thank you for such an eloquent post. You’ve given some great tips which I will definitely use!

  13. HELP! How can I start a class blog and individual student blogs without using email – not even a Google account?? Will edublogs allow me to do that? Should I turn to a wiki (yuck!)?

    Any advice would be appreciated – I’m in panic mode!

    TIA,
    d

    • I don’t know how you can get an account without an email, but I know that there is a Gmail hack. You make an email address, such as “donnaclass@gmail.com”. When it asks you for a new email address for each student, you can use this quick email hack. For the first student’s email, type in “donnaclass+1@gmail.com”. For the second, “donnaclass+2@gmail.com”, for the third, “donnaclass+3@gmail.com”, and so on. When you do this, Edublogs will take each number as a new email address, but all the account information will be sent to that one email address. If this doesn’t help, I’m sorry, and I wish you luck!

      laurenc604

  14. Your post is cool. I could never write that much, it would take me 4 days. My teacher thinks that we should write that much, but it would be impossible for me. You’re so lucky to win the laptop.

    • Elliot-
      Thanks! My advice for you is to take it one piece at a time. Don’t try to start making a long post right away, but give yourself time. Ease into the longer posts. It’s important to remember to balance the length of posts. If you look at this post, and the post that is on top of it, you’ll see the difference between them. Good luck!
      ~Lauren 🙂

  15. I like the tips you put up about ‘what are you 5 important tips’ when i first started i didn’t really know what to do… my friendz helped me and i think that what you wrote was really helpful so i thank you for that and i will probally be using those useful tips x thanx for your time

    • I am glad to help. It is amazing what you can do with computers! My advice for beginning bloggers: look to others for help. I was completely lost when I started blogging, and my friends and other bloggers got me through it. Good luck!
      ~Lauren

  16. How can you write a post that big? I could never do that because I am not a very good blogger. I have written about 10 posts, but none of them were nearly as big as that. You are really lucky to have won that laptop.

    • Hi, Allira! Thanks so much for the compliments. I just won a challenge with this post, and I am working to help other people reach their goal of winning one, too. Thanks again!
      ~Lauren 🙂

  17. Hey, I’m Jess.
    I was reading your post and there is some really good advice. I’ve only started blogging this year and I love it. I hope you’ll check out my blog. And well done.

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  19. Hi Lauren,

    Just in case you didn’t click subscribe to comments on my post. Here is my response to your comments.

    Well I grew up in a considerably smaller town – called Manjimup (said Man Jim Up) – you can read about it here.

    But now live in Perth which has over 1.5 million people. It is one of the most isolated metro areas in the World — to visit other parts of Australia I normally have to fly 4-5 hours.

    Comments 🙂 – I use threaded comments. And my gift to you is I just made you an Edublogs Supporter for 12 months so now you have threaded comments. Your post was excellent and deserves rewarding now. Just go to Plugins > Installed and click activate under Threaded comments. (Please don’t switch on Let it Snow though 🙁 )

    PS keep up the excellent work with your blogging and enjoyed using the threaded comments (minus snow)!

  20. G’day Lauren,
    Fantastic post as usual. I am sure your teachers for the new year will see some very informative posts from you again this year. I hope you join in the new challenges Sue Waters and I will be putting together over the next week. Keep checking my class blog to see when to register.

  21. Lauren,
    Thank you so much for the helpful tips. I will put the tips to good use, especially tips # 3 and 4. It is nice to read advice from a veteran edublogger.

  22. Dear Lauren,
    Thank you for posting a blog abut what teachers can do to help students blog. I am inspired to explore this further! You are a very good writer and I look forward to reading more of you blogs! Thanks again! Mrs. G

  23. Lauren,
    Thank you so much for posting this information. I was already excited for the start of school but now I am totally pumped!! Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!!

  24. What a great “how to get started” blog post for teachers! Smart and well written, Lauren. Thanks for taking the time to give a student’s point of view with advice for teachers.

  25. Lauren as I said in the comment on my blog – this is the most amazing post. You should be really proud of both your excellent advice & your blogging.

    Thank you for starting off the competition with such a great post. PS I’m curious now. How small is your town?

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