Creating Student Blogs

Edublogs Student Blogging

When creating student blogs join the Winnipeg School Division, the naming protocol is to use the student’s Novel login credentials. For example, if the student’s name and credentials are as follows:

John C. Smith, johncs4@live.wsd1.org, 90334044

Then his Edublog would be…

http://blogs.winnipegsd.ca/johncs4

 

Create student blogs

Here’s a video to explain how:

 

Adding Student Edublogs from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

Looking Good: Appearance & Themes

This is often an area that is glossed over. Teacher pick themes based on look, which makes sense. But there are many other considerations.

Edublogs Themes
Appearance Guide

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.

 


 

TASK:

Have a quick look at the themes and select one that you like.

Choosing your theme

 

EXTENSION:

Here’s dome more information on how to customize the look of your site:

Appearance & Themes

Getting Organized: Categories & Tags

What are the most appropriate Categories and Tags for a classroom site? That’s the $1 000 000.00 question!

Edublogs Categories and Tags
Examples of Categories and Tags

 

CATEGORY TIPS

Adding categories to posts

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.

TAG TIPS

Adding tags to posts

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.


Edublogs SortingHow are you going to figure out the categories and tags you are going to use? It’s planning time…

 

  1. 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.
  2. Prioritize the listing after you have created it. Best choices first.
  3. Feed ideas forward to the whole group.
  4. Begin inputting these into your Edublog.

Creating Our First Post

Our next activity is going to be creating our next post. You will have  a number of decisions to make:

  1. What will my post be about?
  2. What resources (technological or otherwise) do I need to make my post?
  3. 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.

Page VS Post

Here’s a brief explanation:

 

This is how a post is structured:

Post structure
Introduction To Posts And Writing Posts: The Structure of a Post

 


 

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.

Here’s how a basic post is created & edited:

Creating a Post:

 

Editing a Post:

This is an explanation of each tool in the Visual Editor Toolbar.

Edublogs Visual Editor
Introduction to the Visual Editor

 

Here is how to add some media in the form of images…

 

And finally, here’s the script for adding a category quickly – more on this later…

Edublogs Categories
Adding Categories to a Post

 


Let the Posting Begin

Getting Started

This section is designed to assist in helping you find your way around the basic interface and settings in Edublogs.

Here’s an overview of the Edublog System…

First, we need to find a resource where we can get stellar help… That’d be located here and thankfully there are three ways to leverage this assistance:

Edublogs 3 Way Help

From here you can access text and multimedia help that should address any questions you have about how to do almost any task within the Edublog system.

 


 

Let’s try logging in. Go to http://blogs.winnipegsd.ca/yourname Here’s the script for accomplishing that…

Edublogs Login

 


 

Once we’ve logged in we arrive at the Dashboard and see the sidebar navigation to all the great features in Edublog (WordPRess)!

Edublogs Dashboard
Use dashboard help

 

Lets Look specifically at some Settings together to make sure you understand how things should be set and what these settings actually mean:

Edublogs Settings
Settings And Privacy help

 

What “Makes” or “Breaks” a Classroom Edublog?!!

An Edublog can to support student learning in any of the following ways: AFL, Process Portfolio, Ongoing or Summative Assessment, Communication, Lesson Workflows, Document Storage/Management, etc….

But this is a careful design process that takes into account the underpinning pedagogical structures valued in our Division and embedded in our Principles of Learning document.

 

Principles of Learning Doc

Principles of Learning PDF

 

5 Critical Elements of Assessment

5 Critical Elements of Assessment PDF


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.

INTENT:

To begin to understand what elements make or break an School-based classroom Edublog site.

TASK:
  1. Look at a number of Edublog classroom sites.
  2. Create a menu of items, ideas, things you see that are, in your opinion desirable or appropriate in a school-based, classroom Edublog site.
  3. 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.
  4. Sort the menu items into groups that fit together.
  5. Create an appropriate category name for each group
  6. Organize your work and feed forward the categories

POSSIBLE CRITERIA:

Criteria Example

 

SITES TO EXPLORE:

About Huzzah! 2016-2017

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.

Mr. Salsich’s Class

Salsich Team 5

The Busy Bees – Hocking / Charlesworth Year 1/2

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!!!!!!

Tokyo International School Grade 4

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!

2015 Finalists – The Edublog Awards

(null)

Lessons In Blogging – Framing Our Thinking

Guiding Discussion Questions:

The first two questions were really asked by way of reflecting on the “3 Great Things About Campus Press Edublogs” video in the Inservice form.

Edublogs Preview – 3 Great Things from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

Here’s what I learned from some of your reflective comments…

  • What do you want to be able to accomplish using Edublogs as a tool? Portfolio and Communication tool.
  • How will you use your Edublogs to support student learning? Giving students/parents direction/communication and meaning next steps (AFL) and appropriate feedback.

However, consider these next three:

  • Why Blog in the first place?Why Blog? from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.
  • 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?

 

 

stickynote
© J_O_I_D via Compfightht

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.