Blogging can be a daunting task for both, teachers and students beginning their adventures into internet world. One of the biggest challenges creating a blog is:
- What should it include,
- What should it look like,
- How should it be used
- How to make a ‘quality’ one.
Viewing possible exemplars and other ‘quality’ educational blogs is a good place to start . What is considered a ‘quality’ blog is very subjective, however below is two curated educational blogs to help as models for creating a ‘quality,’ educational class blog.
Class blogs are good way for teachers and their students to enter into the blogging world. There are several reasons class blogs are a good introduction
- They can be created together as a class, allowing students to visually view and participate. This also helps to model how to create a blog with students as a guided activity before possibly allowing students to create their own in the future, either as independent activity during the term or in their own personal time.
- It allows the class to become educated and explore technology i.e becoming literate in multi-literacies.
- It gives the class a physical space on the web to present their classroom achievements, activities and tasks.
- It can also be a contact place for parents to keep up-to-date with their children’s work.
A good exemplar/model is 3/4C & 3/4K’s class blog
3/4C & 3/4K@UPPS: http://upps.global2.vic.edu.au/ Age creation appropriate for: Grade 3/4
This model is simple but effective. It has a brightly coloured header and follows the classic post after post scrolling template, that is easy to use view. It has a simple top menu that includes an about us page, web tools, important projects and commenting guidelines.
I particularly liked how the top menu bar is divided into sub- pages for example the about us page contains the sub-pages: Our class learning plan, our classrooms, our school and our mascot. I think when displaying this model to students, its important to demonstrate and explain how to organise the blog. Creating sub pages is clever and sufficient way to keep information that is related together, it also helps to develop the skill of organising information in general. Having a Web Tools page with links to useful apps and sites is yet another helpful feature. It shows how you integrate other information on to you blog.
Another great exemplar/model of a higher grade class blog is grade GRADE 4/5 at Napoleons Primary School.
GRADE 4/5 at Napoleons Primary School: http://gabriellelavars.global2.vic.edu.a Age creation appropriate for: Grade 5 and up
What make this a quality blog is the simple visual layout that differs from the traditional layout of most blogs. Instead of the usual post after post scrolling form this class blog has used a visual box photographic/graphic template to organise posts. This makes the’ Napoleons Grade 4/5 class’ blog visually stunning and interactive. Instead of seeing a whole lot of writing you are presented with interesting visual pictures or photographs related to the blog post.When you move the cursor over one of these visual boxes, a title appears of the post, along with date, and you can choose to click or not. The fact that this blog is visually more ‘sophisticated’ than the traditional blog template does make it a little more complex to use and possibly to set up, however the visual look of the blog is appealing, and is a good model to demonstrate the use of creativity in blog design.
Another great feature of the blog is the clear and fixed menu at the top of the page, which provides an about us page and guidelines on how to use the blog. Blogging and commenting guidelines is a fantastic feature, as it provides a constant guide of how to ‘be internet safe’ and blog effectively. This is particularly important for students who need to be aware of safe internet behaviours, respectful commentary and how to be internet literate. It acts as friendly internet class rules, so to speak.
Other great features of the blog are the
- Visual banner, which scrolls with images automatically, and links to popular posts
- The tweet and pin interest widgets of the teacher at the bottom of the page
- The tag cloud at the bottom right corner
The extra widgets are simple decorations, which can be used by the teacher or presented to students as extras to add to the blog. Overall this is a great model of how to play and visual present a blog differently.