Join Oliver Schinkten for an in-depth discussion in this video How to set up a Blogger account and create a blog, part of Teacher Tech Tips Weekly.
- Hi, welcome to "Teacher Tips", I'm Oliver Schinkten. In most classes students submit their work, present their projects or summarize their learning for mainly one person: the teacher. One of the biggest game-changers that I have seen in the classroom however is providing students with an authentic audience for their projects. When students know that they will be sharing their work with others it is amazing to see how much they step up to the challenge, it motivates many students to make sure they have a quality product and gives them a stronger sense of ownership in their work. The authentic audience could be a group of community members, parents or a local business, in the digital age however finding an audience has never been easier.
Now we can Skype with classrooms from around the world, which is a feature topic for "Teacher Tips", we can create online portfolios, post videos on YouTube, and a wide variety of other things. One of the best ways to provide students with an authentic audience is through blogging. Now only with this allow them to share their work with others but it also helps infuse literacy into the content areas requiring them to use critical and creative thinking skills to reflect on the content and skills that they are learning about. There are many resources that can be used to blog including Edgy blogs, Weebly, Wix and WordPress.
For students, however, I recommend Blogger. Blogger's a free blogging website that's owned by Google and therefore integrates many of the Google features. Being a Google product your Blogger accounts is integrated into your Gmail account. If you do not have a Gmail account I highly recommend getting one as it provide a ton of useful features. We can navigate to Blogger in a couple of different ways. First I can navigate to blogger.com. When I do this is the Blogger homepage. As you can see it's asking me to confirm my profile because I have not yet set up a profile.
It says, "You will be seen as..." and it's showing my Google+ profile. If I want to, however, I can prefer to post under a different name and switch to a limited Blogger profile. In this case I'm going to go through my Google+, I'll continue to Blogger, and this brings me to my Blogger homepage. Another way that I can navigate to my Blogger homepage is through my Gmail. In here if I go to the top I can click on the square icon on the upper-right corner for Google Apps, go to more and select Blogger.
This will also bring me to my Blogger homepage. You'll also notice in my email that I did receive a verification saying that I have an invitation to edit my blogging site. You'll notice that I do not yet have a blog, it allows me to create a new blog by selecting the icon titled "New Blog". If I click on this it first asks me to give a title. I'm gonna name this one "Technology in Education". We also have the option to create a web address or a URL through Blogger.
I'm gonna enter into here "technologyineducation" but my guess is this will be taken. A blog address is not available, so I'm gonna put in here, "schinktentechnologyineducation", which is available, and you'll notice that it adds to it ".blogspot.com". Later you will have the option to add a customized URL if you purchase one that can be named whatever you'd like as long as it's available. I'm now going to select a template, and there are several different ones we can choose from.
I'm gonna take the Simple one and press Create Blog. As you can see my blog has been created and now they are prompting me asking if I would like to find a domain for this blog. You can use the one you choose in the previous page, the only thing is that it will have ".blogspot.com" which isn't a big deal. Some people like to have it personalized where they like to have "schinktentechnologyineducation.com" but you do have to purchase that. In this case I'm pushing No thanks, and this is the dashboard for my blog.
On the left-side bar you will notice several tabs. If I click on the Posts tab you'll notice that I don't have any posts yet, I can click to create a new post but I'm not ready for that yet. On the left side if I click down a little bit on Stats this will show me statistics for my blog. Because Blogger is owned by Google it gives you access to Google Analytics right in your Blogger account, it'll tell you how many people have viewed your blog, it'll tell you where they were viewing it from, how many unique viewers you have and a punch of other information, it's really cool.
You can look at the information through single posts, though your type of audience, from different traffic sources. Now, let's take a look at the bottom three tabs: the first is Layout, this will show the layout of your blog, and it looks kind of confusing, but really what they're saying is that you can add certain things such as Gadgets. If I click on this they bring up a list of free gadgets that we can use. If you scroll down and see some of these I may choose to add a gadget at the top that allows people to follow this blog by email.
I'll click "+", it adds it here and gives me my URL. I will save this, and that gadget has now been put in on the top. I can add gadgets on the side, I can delete them. The types of gadgets you may add are ways to follow your blog through social media, ways to share posts through social media, or a compilation of different blog posts that you have through all the time. This is something that you'll have to play around with and get the blog set up in the way that you want it.
Below that is Template, the template shows you what the blog will look like on a computer as well as on a mobile device. On here you do have the option to choose several different themes. We already chose the Simple theme but there are different colors associated with this. You can also at this point change the theme to one of the Dynamic, Picture Windows, Awesome, Inc., Watermark, etcetera. I'm gonna stick with the Simple one but I'm gonna switch it to a darker color. Apply to blog and I have changed the look of my blog.
There is more you can do, you even have a feature to be able to edit your HTML code, which is a little complicated but it is an option. On the bottom we have Settings. The Settings tab is one that I would pay special attention to, what you need to do is make sure that you have your title correct, you can add a description to you blog, you can change the privacy settings. So in other words add your blog to their listing and let search engines find your blog. If you want your blog to be private you can just click No on both of these and press Save changes.
Also at the bottom are the permissions, so in other words you can add administrators and authors to the blog. If I wanna add an author and let somebody else contribute I would add their email address in here, Invite Author, and you can see there that it says "1 open invitation". The person that that email address left to accept that invitation to become a blog author. Blog readers, the default is set as public, however if you don't want the blog to be public you can edit this, you can make the blog public, you can make it private where only the blog authors can read it, or you can make it private where only these readers.
So if I click here I can add readers by email address, I could add as many people as I'd like, I could add a class, etcetera, but only people with the permission to read the blog would have access to it. In here I'm going to keep mine public and put Save changes. Under the Settings tab another thing you wanna take a look at is Posts and comments. If we select this on the left-side bar it allows us to change our settings for posts and comments. First of all it'll show how many different posts that you show in your blog at one time, I'm going to change this to five.
You can add a post template. Another thing is that you can change the settings for your comments, you can change who can comment, is it anyone, only registered users, users with Google accounts or only members of this blog. In here I'll let anyone make comments. Comment moderation, do you want to see comments before they're posted? You can click Always, Sometimes or Never. And you can leave a comment form message. Some Google products automatically save changes, however in Blogger you're gonna wanna make sure that if you make changes that you press in the upper-right corner Save settings.
One of the things I wanna mention is underneath the Stats tab. If we click here we'll see that we really don't have any stats, however we do have one page view already, well, that's from me. In this case I recommend that you click on "Don't track your own pageviews", this gives you a better idea of how many people have visited your blog, and how many people have interacted with your blog. I'm going to click on "Don't track your own page", and "Don't track my pageviews". In the next video I wanna show you how to create a new post, how to make that post go live and how to share it through email or social media.
I'll see you in the next video.
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