This is often an area that is glossed over. Teacher pick themes based on look, which makes sense. But there are many other considerations.
When in the Appearance Theme Picker you have a number of categories, two of which are of paramount importance: Mobile Friendly and Accessibility Ready. You may wonder why I have singled these two out ahead of the others. The reasons are simple:
Mobile Friendly is critical, because the bulk of your visitors, believe it or not, will come to the site via a mobile device of some sort and the site therefore needs to be responsive. What does it mean to be responsive? It means the site and it’s assets (the images, videos and text) adjust to fit the screen size of whatever device the site is being viewed on.
Here’s a quick example to demonstrate this in action:
Accessibility Ready means that the site is ready for blind and hearing impaired visitors as much as it can be. It will handle screen readers, has colour themes that are typically higher contrast and colour blind friendly. That kind of thing.
While it is important to look good, it is more important to be ACCESSIBLE to as many people and their devices as possible in order to reach as broad an audience as possible. Keep this in mind when selecting your theme.
Have a quick look at the themes and select one that you like.
Categories can have unique names and be wordy; you want them sufficiently descriptive so your reader understands the type of subject matter they will find when they click on the link.
As a general rule you tend to limit the total number of categories you use on a blog.
On class and students blogs categories may be used more like tags; and some use only categories or tags rather than both.
The key is to think about the structure you want to use to help your readers easily find posts.
For example, you might use categories like Class News, Blogging activity, English, Science, Maths and then for tags you might use student first names (if the student writes the post), Algebra, fish anatomy.
Tags are normally short, one or two words, and are generally keywords (i.e. terms readers would be likely to use if they searched your site); terms that your readers will understand.
Tags are searchable
The larger the size of the word in the tag cloud the more posts that have been tagged using that term.
How are you going to figure out the categories and tags you are going to use? It’s planning time…
With a partner begin creating a list of possible categories and tags that you may use in your classroom Edublog site. Revisit some of the earlier blog sites if necessary for inspiration. Divide the list into Descriptive Categories and short keyword Tags.
Prioritize the listing after you have created it. Best choices first.
Our next activity is going to be creating our next post. You will have a number of decisions to make:
What will my post be about?
What resources (technological or otherwise) do I need to make my post?
How do I actually create a post?
I can help you with the last question by providing you with some resources and taking you through the process. It is important to understand what a POST is and what a PAGE is. These are the two ways of presenting information on a blog. PAGEs tend to present static information that doesn’t change over time and POSTs, like diaries, tend to be more dynamic.
Here’s a brief explanation:
This is how a post is structured:
For the Post we’re creating today, we won’t be worrying too much about Categories and Tags we select. We will be assigning them, but the tags and categories we use may not be ones we eventually end up with. Typically, as teachers and students, we need to plan for categories and tags purposeful and expedient use.
It is really important when we consider any kind of assessment practices in a blogging environment that we focus on the 5 Critical Elements of Assessment in order to be purposefully reflective.
Students need to be aware of both the intents and criteria and continually refer to it and back to its while working on and reviewing their work or others. It will give them ways to explain their thinking more accurately.
We’re going to give that process a try now.
To begin to understand what elements make or break an School-based classroom Edublog site.
Look at a number of Edublog classroom sites.
Create a menu of items, ideas, things you see that are, in your opinion desirable or appropriate in a school-based, classroom Edublog site.
Create a menu of items, ideas, things you see that are, in your opinion NOT desirable or appropriate in a school-based, classroom Edublog site.
Sort the menu items into groups that fit together.
Create an appropriate category name for each group
Organize your work and feed forward the categories
Hi there Huzzah. We are Year 8 New Zealand students who would love to connect with you. Our blog site is https://rm5ois.edublogs.org and we also have a twitter account – @room5ois2016 We are new to blogging but are really getting into it. Please help us connect with others around the world.
A big thank you to Danielle Rose and Kerry Terreblanche for helping us to make some beautiful decorations. They worked hard every Friday!! We love the decorations and cant wait to hang them on our trees. THANK YOU!!!!!!
Monday: Math riddle: a factory worker can put 8 large boxes or 10 small boxes in a container for shipping. In one shipment, he sent 96 boxes. If there are more large boxes than small boxes, how many containers did he send? Do your best. Show your work!
What kind of materials do you see yourself/your students posting on the Edublog given that students, other teachers in the school/other schools and at a later date possibly parents will be able to see it?
What other (online) tools might you need to explore to support what’s going on in your Edublog?
Using the Sticky Notes provided, Turn & Talk with a partner and discus the three remaining questions to be answered above.
Select the suggestion(s)/idea(s) that spoke to you most.
Record one idea or suggestion per sticky note.
Feed forward select posts in debrief.
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