Friday, August 28, 2015

Blogger


It is no secret the Blogger makes for a great communication tool. In fact, I've posted quite a bit about using Blogger as a teacher website over the last couple years. I'm revisiting it for a few reasons. One being my videos I made to get started with Blogger were incredibly too long. :) I decided to revamp them so that they didn't take up as much time. The second reason is because I'm working with a brand new staff that may or may not be utilizing Google Sites for parent communication. So I am proposing that Blogger be an alternative to Google Sites.

Blogger meets a different set of needs than a traditional website. The purpose of using Blogger is for regularly updated information. Much more like a continuous newsletter than a static website. So as a teacher, Blogger can be used to update the community or any passerby about a class event, field trip, exciting lessons, projects, or even just random images of what happened in the middle of the school day. It doesn't have to be formal by any means. It just needs to be regular and relevant. Posts do not have to be long (like mine). It can be as simple as a video/picture and a short paragraph. If you can accomplish this, parents will look forward to keeping up with your classroom happenings.

Getting Started

First you need to create your blog. By visiting www.blogger.com, you'll be able to use your Google Account to create your first blog. (You can create multiple blogs.)


Template Settings

After you get your blog created, you'll want to adjust your template settings. This will fine-tune and adjust the appearance of your blog. These are settings you probably will not adjust very often as keeping your blog with a consistent appearance will cause less confusion for frequent followers. As a teacher, it may even be fun to change your blog appearance for each school year. 


Layout and Gadgets

Adjusting the layout to your blog decides where you want various pieces that you add to your blog. These pieces are "gadgets". Gadgets are extra tools you can activate to enhance your blog. For example, you could install a search gadget so that your visitors can search your entire blog if they missed something important and they quickly need to find it. I do not cover all gadgets in my tutorial, but I demonstrated a few that teachers may want to utilize. 



Settings

There are just a few settings that a teacher will want to glance through before using Blogger. Users will want to especially specify how they want comments to roll into their blog. I personally require that all my comments to my blog posts require approval. I mainly do that because there are bots that scan the Internet and post advertisements and spam on blogs. That way I eliminate any embarrassment from inappropriate comments being posted to my audience. 


Posts

Posts are what teachers will use almost every time they go to their Blogger account from this point on. It is where the teacher will keep their audience informed about upcoming/past events, projects in class, exciting learning experiences, or just thoughts/resources for student's education. My tip is to post regularly to keep an ongoing record of what is happening throughout the school year. The posts ultimately become your digital portfolio where you can hold all learning experiences from year to year.