The Edublogger’s Introduction to Blogging

Want to know more about blogging, blog terminology and use of blogs in education?

Here you go!

Check out our “Introduction to Blogging” that you can read online here or download as a PDF version.

Enjoy and hope you find it helpful!

Click to download a copy of our Intro Guide to BloggingP.S. Was created for Teacher Challenge — read more on the Teacher challenge’s About page.

What is a Blog?

The term blog originated from the blend of the term “web log”.

Nowadays blogs compete with mainstream media in delivering news and information.  Important events, war coverage and celebrity deaths are often reported quicker and more accurately on blogs and Twitter than traditional news service.

Why?  Because any one can easily set up their own blog and share their thoughts (known as their voice) online.

Blogs are written on just about any subject and for a wide range of purposes, including personal, business, work and sharing news stories.

Reasons why educators blog include:

Reasons why educators blog

Examples of educational blogs:

Here’s some examples of educational blogs to check out:

  1. Teachers Personal blogs:
  2. Class blogs:
  3. Student blogs:
  4. Other useful sites

The Basic Structure of a Blog

Blogs are normally made up of the following main elements:

1.  Dashboard

This is the back-end area of your blog where you make changes and edits.  This area is only accessible to logged in blog administrators, editors, authors, contributors or subscribers.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

  1. Logging into your blog
  2. Using your blog dashboard

Dashboard

2. Theme

Usually one of the first things bloggers do is pick out a theme.  This is the template or look of the blog that people see when they visit your blog.

This is what gives it your personal touch.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Your blog theme

3. Theme layout

Blog themes normally include a header, a content area (for your posts), sidebar area (for your widgets) and come in several standard layouts:

  • Single column with no sidebar (widgets are located at the bottom of the blog)
  • Two Column – normally a wide column for content and narrower sidebar
  • Three Column – with sidebars side-by-side on one side of the blog or either side of the wider content column
  • Four Column – one content column and three sidebars. The content column is often the same width as the other columns. This type of layout tends to be cluttered looking and less suited to reading lengthy content.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Layout of a blog

4.  Header

The header is the area at the top of a blog where the blog title, graphics, and possibly navigational links appear.

Using your own custom image header means you can obtain a much more customized look and feel adding your “own personal touch” to your blog.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Example of a custom image header

5.  Posts

Posts are where you normally publish the latest upodate or new article on a blog.  They are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the page.

Most of the content published on a blog is normally written as Posts.   E.g, information on what’s happening in your classroom, assignment instructions, homework and discussion topics are normallypublished as Posts and not on Pages.

Blogs are designed to have only one Post page which normally displays on the homepage of the blog.  Check out The Edublogger to see how posts are displayed in reverse chronological order on the home page.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Features of a post

6. Comments

Posts commonly allow readers to publish comments on the posts they read.  This is where the reader can share their thoughts, connect with the blogger and interact with other readers.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

7.  Pages

You normally use pages for information that you want to share with your readers but don’t expect to update frequently.  Not all blogging software includes the ability to add Pages.

The most common type of page you’ll find on a blog is an About Page.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Example of an about page

8.  Sidebar

The location and even existence of sidebars depend on your theme.  Some themes even have 3 or more sidebars.  You can add and rearrange widgets in your sidebars using your blog dashboard.

The most common theme layout are two columns with one sidebar and on content area.

Example of a sidebar

9.  Widget

These are the blocks that make up sidebars.  Popular widgets include the ability to subscribe to a blog, user statistics, and suggested links.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on:

Example of widgets

10.  RSS

RSS is an acronym which stands for Really Simple Syndication.

In simple terms, RSS is a simple and effective way of keeping in touch when new information is added to a website without having to visit the website to check for new updates.

How it works is you subscribe to your favorite website using the RSS feed in a RSS feed reader such as Google Reader.  Whenever new information is added to the website it is automatically sent to your RSS feed reader  where you can read it at your convenience.

For example, whenever your favorite blogger publishes a new post it is automatically sent to your Feed reader.

Sites with RSS feeds are normally indicated with the word RSS and/or the orange RSS icon.

Subscribing using RSS

For more information:

  1. Watch RSS in Plain English
  2. Follow these instructions to subscribe to blogs using Google Reader — just replace the student blogs with your favorite blogs and news services

Please note :

  • Blogs on all standard blogging platforms automatically include RSS feeds and don’t necessarily use words or an icon to indicate the presence of the RSS feed.  For all Edublogs, the rss feed is found by going to yourblog.edublogs.org/feed.
  • RSS lets you do lots of cool stuff including adding latest updates from your favorite blog(s) or news website(s) to your own site using RSS widgets like FeedWind’s RSS widget

Final  Thoughts

For those wanting to know more about the Teacher Challenge — it is commencing in January.  Each Challenge involves free 30 day professional development where participants are stepped through weekly tasks.

And you can:

  1. Read more about the Teacher challenge on our About page.
  2. Leave a comment on Are you interested…..? post if you would like to join as a participant
  3. Add your details to the Mentors – sign up page if you would like to help us by beng a mentor

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider feed-icon32x32 Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your  Blog PostsSubscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

10 Responses

  1. Lynne Cook says:

    Hi Tracy,

    Thank you for taking the time to teach me another way to communicate with others. I made a blog last year. However, with all the updates and latest technology it is difficult to keep up-to-date outside of a classroom. With classes like yours available, it makes it so much easier to update myself as an educator.

    Sincerely,
    Lynne Cook

  2. Jamie Wright says:

    Hi there and I must say that this is a fantastic introduction to blogging!

    I think that the main issue that people need to understand though is that they don’t need to think about getting their own blog for ages – it is something that can be just be done on the spur of the moment and something that is hugely rewarding the plunge is taken!

  3. Fiona says:

    Hi there

    Can you tell me how long edublogs stay live for? I´ve got an edublog (passthdiploma.edublogs.org) at the moment and it´s going to be out of action for a while. Will it stay live forever?

    Thanks for your help.

    Fiona

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