Introduction

What is blogging?
The term blog is short for Web log, and is effectively an online journal. Blogs can be written by anyone and about anything and are usually displayed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post appearing first.

So, blogging is the act of keeping a blog. Of adding regular posts, linking to external content and responding to comments.

Where to blog?
There are a number of free hosting sites that help make blogging simpler. In fact, there are so many it can be difficult to know which one to use. So here are 3 of the most popular sites:

 

A host site where you can start a blog in seconds without any technical knowledge. Almost everything on WordPress.com is free, and things that are currently free will remain free in the future, but you can also purchase a la carte upgrades for things like custom design and custom domains.

 

 

One of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, it is credited for helping popularise the format. Blogger is now owned by Google, which can aid signing up if you already have a Gmail account.

 

Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything.
Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme’s HTML.

Each site has its own advantages and it really is down to personal preference. I’ve played with all three and have found that WordPress works best for my needs.

Why Blog?
From the perspective of an educator, blogging can provide a useful platform for sharing best practice. It’s a simple and informal way to record your experiments in the classroom, and to aid other educators by showing them what works and what doesn’t (because this is just as important).

It can also be a space for reflecting on your own practice, as a professional development tool. The added advantage of using a blog for this activity would be that you can then track your progression over the length of your blogging project. This could then also be used as evidence for Performance Management or similar strategies.

If you wish to get your learners involved in blogging there are many benefits. On her blog, Getting Smart, Susan Lucille Davis lists her 10 reasons for getting learners blogging:
1.    Blogs provide an authentic audience.
2.    Blogs allow learners to express themselves and write about things that matter to them.
3.    Blogs create a space for feedback.
4.    Blogs provide opportunities to engage in civil discourse.
5.    Blogs can record progress and development.
6.    Blogs provide opportunities for regular writing practice.
7.    Blogging allows students to experiment with multiple media formats.
8.    Blogging broadens students’ perspectives and connects them to the world.
9.    Blogging teaches transparency.
10.    Blogs can create opportunities for positive change.

What makes a good blog? (Part 2)

http://wallwisher.com/wall/WtMksGudBlog

A Good Snappy Title
Good Content
Controversial Content
Images
Hyperlinks
Humour
Be brief
By Steve Wheeler

Be brief
Don’t try to make too many points
Link to further information and source
Be useful/challenging/entertaining
Write in a simple, personal and direct way – this isn’t an academic paper
By Charlie Beckett

Be bold
Add something new
Challenge your own content
Formulate a 1-liner
By Ryan Tracey

Seven Tips on ‘How not to Blog’

Blogging sporadically
Too many blogs are started with good intentions but without regular posting, end up in blog graveyard (I should know, I’ve started most of them). Having a regular posting pattern can also help your readers to know when to expect new content from you. Even setting yourself a ‘one post a week’ target can help with ensuring that your posting habits become consistent.

Not responding to comments
This is a definite fail if you’re blogging with learners – the whole point of getting your learners blogging is to open them up to real audiences and opportunities to give and receive feedback. So don’t forget to teach your learners the importance of constructive feedback.

Not promoting your blog
With social networking sites such as twitter around it is easier than ever to promote your personal/class blog – so if you’re not taking adantage of this, WHY? Get tweeting about your posts and those of your learners (#classblogs) and widen your audience.

Perfection over Progress
With business bloggers, perfection is key if they are to make profits and hit those Search engine optimization (SEO) targets. But in an education context, progress is far more interesting than perfectly spelled and composed posts. Particularly for learners or reflective blogs.

Formatting
Younger learners are likely to be tempted to ‘jazz’ up their posts with funky fonts and different colours – I am not saying here that you should stop them from personalising their posts – but you do need to stress that certain colour schemes and font styles can be an access barrier for different audience members. Those readers with colourblindness may find certain colour combinations difficult to decipher and readers with dyslexia may find certain font styles difficult to read. Just something to think about!

Not Linking to other sites
You can’t assume that others know what you are writing about, linking to relevant sites can help to fill in knowledge gaps that your readers may have. This could be sites linked to school topics that give more information or for personal blogging, simply sites of other professionals that have inspired you. Not only can linking to other bloggers add depth to your posts, it can also gain you further audiences.

Not Proofreading
Whilst I mentioned earlier that we aren’t looking for perfection, and with younger learners spelling errors are more common, it is good practice to teach your learners to proof read before publishing. It is also a skill that learners will need later in life when writing assignments. It’s a good habit for adults to keep too as it makes your blog look more professional.

References

http://www.tumblr.com/about

http://en.wordpress.com/about/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogger_%28service%29

http://gettingsmart.com/cms/blog/2012/10/10-reasons-why-i-want-my-students-blog/

http://creativeblogs.net/blog/2012/10/26/10-ways-to-supercharge-your-blogging/

http://ryan2point0.wordpress.com/

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/2012/08/07/why-blog/

http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/what-makes-good-blogpost.html

http://carolkane.global2.vic.edu.au/2012/10/27/more-quadblogging-questions/

http://mayflower.j2webby.com/

http://theinsandouts.co.nz/?p=7217

http://kidblog.org/MrBrendanKennysClass/

http://www.blogdipping.org.uk/?page_id=29

http://stjbhollyclass.primaryblogger.co.uk/

http://paper.li/chrisrat/class-blogs#

http://welovebooks.bowlingparkprimary.net/

http://thelitladies.edublogs.org/

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/

http://www.librarygirl.net/

http://lslnetwork.co.uk/

http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/