Google
 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Crash Course in U.S. History

At about this time last year John Green launched Crash Course World History. That video series now contains 42 short video lessons on World History.

Today, John Green launched a new Crash Course series. This one is all about U.S. History. The first video in the Crash Course U.S. History series is now up on YouTube. I've embedded it below. The series starts before Europeans arrived in North America.



Applications for Education
The fast pace of the Crash Course videos makes them better suited to being reviews or introductions to topics rather than a replacement for lectures and documentary videos. Green definitely puts a bit of his own bias into some of the videos. You may want to discuss that with your students. Green also occasionally makes some remarks that border on PG-13 so keep that in mind before playing the videos in front of a classroom of middle school students.

A Simple Tool for Cleaning Up Your YouTube Viewing Experience

Today, I spent the day running workshops in Springfield, Massachusetts. In a few of my workshops the question of how to go about safely showing YouTube videos in the classroom came up. The tool that I shared today and have shared since I discovered it is A Cleaner Internet. A Cleaner Internet is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The extension allows you to search YouTube and view YouTube videos without viewing the "related" content, advertisements, and comments that appear on YouTube. I included a short demonstration if it in the video below.


Virtually Hike the Grand Canyon in Google Maps

Last fall Google announced that it had a team setting out to capture "street view" imagery of trails through the Grand Canyon. Today, the first batch of that imagery was released. You can now explore more than 75 miles of trails in the Grand Canyon in Street View (I think they should call it Trail View). Get a taste of the imagery in the video below then start exploring the new Grand Canyon imagery.


Applications for Education
One of my former colleagues used to teach an entire unit on geology by walking students through the Grand Canyon with pictures she had taken. The new Grand Canyon Street View imagery will enable more teachers to use the same model for teaching geology.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Collaboration Option in Google Forms

From creating short surveys to delivering multiple choice quizzes Google Forms is a great tool for teachers. Today, Google announced the addition some useful new features to Google Forms. The most significant enhancement in the option to collaborate on Form creation and editing. Now you can share your forms and add comments to them just like you can in Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides.

Another enhancement that I think a lot of frequent users of Forms will appreciate is the option to choose the destination for responses. Now you can quickly specify if responses should be recorded in a new spreadsheet or added to an existing spreadsheet.

Forms also has a new copy and paste function for handling lists. Learn more about that in the video below.

Five Good Feeds for ELA and ELL Teachers

Earlier this week I shared five good feeds for mathematics teachers and five good feeds for history teachers. These lists were born out of a common request that I get and that is "can you recommend some good blogs for X?" So this week I'm going to publish a short list each day of the blogs that usually come to mind when someone asks me to make a recommendation for a blog related to teaching a particular subject area. Today, I have five good feeds for ELA and ELL teachers.

This list cannot begin without mentioning Larry Ferlazzo. He says that his blog is for sharing websites that will help you teach ELL, ESL, and EFL, but really anyone can benefit from subscribing to Larry's blog. He regularly shares resources that can be used in all subject areas.

Kevin's Meandering Mind written by Kevin Hodgson is a must-read for anyone interested in the use of digital storytelling and games in their language arts lessons. Kevin also regularly posts book reviews. Take a look at his recent post about using Stykz for creating stopmotion movies.

Jeffrey Hill's The English Blog is a good resource for teachers of high school age and older ELL/ ESL students. The English Blog regularly features political cartoons and news clips that can be used in ELL/ ESL lessons.

Life Feast written by Ana Marie Menezes is an excellent blog for teachers interested in using technology in elementary and middle school ELL/EFL lessons. Check out this post about using VOKI with EFL students for a sense of what you'll get by following Life Feast.

Jim Burke's English Companion is more of a website of excellent resources than it is a blog. If you haven't bookmarked it, you should. Follow Jim Burke on Twitter to keep up with what he's doing and sharing.

Google Wants to Hear from Teenage Scientists

Google has just opened their third annual science fair for teenagers. This year the Google Science Fair will accept entries in thirteen different languages. Students are challenged to submit their ideas and projects that could change the world.


90 regional finalists will be chosen from entries all over the world. Fifteen of those regional finalists will be selected to go to Google's headquarters to compete in the finals. Like last year, the grand prize includes a trip to the Galapagos. The winner's school will also receive a prize that includes digital access to the Scientific American archives and a $10,000 cash grant from Google. Entries are due by April 30, 2013.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Password Protect Posts and Pages in WordPress Blogs (Including Edublogs) In Two Steps

On Monday I published directions for enabling limited access to Blogger blogs. Today, by request, I'm publishing directions on how to limit access to posts and pages created in WordPress blogs. These directions will work for any blog running on WordPress including Edublogs blogs and WordPress.com blogs. I actually like the options in WordPress better than the options for doing this in Blogger because in WordPress you have the option to restrict access to specific pages and posts. Blogger does not have that same level of specificity in restriction settings.

(Click the images to view them full size). 

Step 1: Create a post or a page in your blog editor. Before pressing publish click the "edit" link next to the visibility setting just above the "publish" button for your post or page.


Step 2: Select "private" or "password protected."


Follow the two steps pictured below to edit the visibility setting on existing pages or posts.

Step 1:


Step 2:

A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Backchannels & Informal Assessment Tools

Later this week I'm running a workshop on the use of backchannels, polling services, and informal assessment tools. In preparation for that workshop, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a 32 page PDF of ideas and directions for using TodaysMeet, Socrative, and the updated version of Wallwisher. The end of the document includes some alternatives to each of those three tools. I've embedded the document below (it's hosted by Scribd) and you can download it from Scribd for your personal use. If you like it, I would appreciate it if you could share it on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Google+.


You may notice that a few pages in the document are marked with these lines, "This copy is for personal, non-commercial use and is not to be distributed in workshops not taught by Richard Byrne. Are you seeing this in a workshop not taught by Richard Byrne? If so, please ask the presenter to acquire a license to use this work." Please contact me if you would like to use this document in a training that you are conducting or if you would like to distribute it to your faculty members without sending them here to get it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

5 Good Mathematics Feeds for Teachers

I subscribe to roughly 300 blogs (honestly, I stopped keeping track a while ago). Usually, when I say that at conference or workshop the follow-up question I get goes something like this, "can you recommend some good blogs for X?" So this week I'm going to publish a short list each day of the blogs that usually come to mind when someone asks me to make a recommendation for a blog related to teaching a particular subject area. Today, I'm recommending five good mathematics feeds.

Even before I had the privilege to see him give a keynote in person and participate in a couple of his workshops, I was recommending Dan Meyer's blog to everyone that would listen. From publishing his entire algebra and geometry curricula to challenging the way that math instruction is delivered, Dan's work is remarkable. Watch Math Class Needs a Makeover to learn more about Dan's philosophy of teaching mathematics.


Whenever David Wees comments on one of my blog posts it's always insightful and it challenges my thinking. David brings those same qualities to his blog posts about mathematics instruction and using technology in the classroom. Read David's recent post about raising mathematicians to get a good sense of what he's about.

Colleen Young's Mathematics, Learning and Web 2.0 is a good blog to subscribe to for practical, do-now, mathematics instruction ideas. When you visit her blog make sure you check out the "I'm Looking For" and "Wolfram Alpha" tabs.

Mathematics and Multimedia written by Guillermo Bautista is the blog that I usually recommend when people ask me for recommendations for learning about GeoGebra. Guillermo's blog has a good collection of GeoGebra tutorials for both beginning and advanced users of GeoGebra.

Numberphile is a neat YouTube channel about fun number facts, rules of mathematics, and the ways that our brains handle numbers. There is currently110 videos in the Numberphile collection. The videos cover things like 998,001 and its Mysterious Recurring Decimals, Pi and Bouncing Balls, and 1 and Prime Numbers. I've embedded Numbers and Brains below.


(I've intentionally left Khan Academy off this list, that's too obvious).

How to Limit Access to Blogger Blog Posts

A question that I often get when I work with elementary school teachers to help them get on the road to blogging goes like this, "can I restrict reading access to just my students and their parents?" The answer to that question is yes. The video below shows you how to do this if you're using Blogger.


Applications for Education
While I prefer to guide teachers in the direction of teaching their elementary school students not to reveal personally identifying information on classroom blogs, I also recognize that sometimes the only way a teacher will try blogging is if they can restrict access to just students and their parents. The directions below cover the same steps covered in the video above. (Click the images to enlarge them).

Step 1:


Step 2:


Step 3:

This Link Will Self Destruct - Create Links to Share for a Limited Period of Time

This Link Will Self Destruct is a free service for sharing links that are accessible for a finite period of time. This Link Will Self Destruct shortens your URL to make it easier for others to copy or remember. TLWSD allows you to specify how long your shortened URL will be active. You can set a limit of just a few minutes, hours, or days. Password protecting your TWLSD links is an option too.

Applications for Education
This Link Will Self Destruct could be a good service to use when you need to shorten and share the long link to a WallWisher or TodaysMeet activity happening in your classroom.

Visit the Wistia Learning Center for Professional Video Production Tips

Wistia is a video hosting service that I am currently using to host some of my videos. Recently, Wistia launched a Learning Center to teach people how to create better videos. Right now the Learning Center has eleven video lessons and it looks like more videos are on the way. Get started on the path to making better videos by learning how to adjust the lighting when you're using a webcam.

Get an introduction to the Learning Center in the video below.
 

Five Good Feeds for U.S. History Teachers

I subscribe to roughly 300 blogs (honestly, I stopped keeping track a while ago). Usually, when I say that at conference or workshop the follow-up question I get goes something like this, "can you recommend some good blogs for X?" So this week I'm going to publish a short list each day of the blogs that usually come to mind when someone asks me to make a recommendation for a blog related to teaching a particular subject area. Since the bulk of my teaching experience is in social studies, I'm starting with that. Here are five feeds that U.S. History teachers should check out.

The US National Archives is an all around good resource for history teachers to have bookmarked. I've written about some of their services in the past (here and here) and today I'd like to remind you of the National Archives Today's Document feed. Every day Today's Document features a new image or document from the archives. The documents are usually accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources.

Glenn Wiebe's History Tech blog is one that I've cited in some of my posts in the past. Glenn does a great job of blending tech, history, and current news into his posts. I particularly enjoyed this post about the Electoral College Election.

Glenn also developed Social Studies Central which houses a good collection of resources for social studies teachers.

I've featured the excellent video productions of Keith Hughes quite a few times in the past. If you're not familiar with the Hip Hughes History YouTube channel, go take a look at it right now. Keith does an excellent job of taking important events and themes in history and breaking them down into short, educational, and entertaining (if you're a history geek like me) lessons.

You can't teach U.S. History without teaching the Civil War. Teaching the Civil War With Technology, written by Jim Beeghley, has provided me with some good ideas to use in my own lessons. Make sure you give his podcast a listen too.

The Library of Congress offers a daily artifact feed similar to the one offered by the National Archives. Today in History from The Library of Congress offers a new image or document along with the story of the notable event or person connected to it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to Manage 3rd Party Apps Accessing Your Google Account

On Friday I published a review of an online lesson planning service called Teaching Objects. One of the nice features of Teaching Objects is that you can pull-in resources from your Google Drive account if you grant that access to Teaching Objects. And, like a lot of other web-based services, you sign into Teaching Objects by connecting your Google Account. This raises the question that a lot of people ask, can I revoke access if I decide I don't want to use Teaching Objects after trying it? The answer to that question is yes. If you have connected any third party service to your Google Account you can revoke its access to your account at any time. Here's how you do it.

Step 1: Go to https://www.google.com/settings/security (sign into your Google Account if you aren't logged in).

Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the page and select "manage access" under "connected applications and sites."
Click to view full size.

Step 3: Click "revoke access" next to the name of any service that you don't want to be able to access your account any longer.
Click to view full size.

The Week in Review - Freezin' for a Reason

Good morning from Greenwood, Maine where it is a balmy 4F outside. This is actually the warmest morning we've had this week. Despite the cold this afternoon some of my brave friends are jumping into a local lake to raise money for Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. While I will not be jumping in, I am sponsoring a few jumpers who will be freezin' for a reason. Harvest Hills is a no-kill shelter that I support with volunteer time and donations. My dogs are members of the Harvest Hills alumni association. If you're looking for a pet for your family, please consider adopting from a local shelter instead of shopping at a pet store. Now that my Bob Barker-like announcement is over, here are this week's most popular posts. 

1. Six Weeks of iPad Apps
2. Five Essential Google Drive Skills for Teachers
3. Three Free Tools for Creating Stopmotion and Timelapse Videos
4. A Short Guide to Green Screen Special Effects in iMovie
5. Hello Sign for Gmail Allows You to Put Your Signature on Attachments
6. What To Do Before Posterous Shuts Down and How To Do It
7. How to Export Your Blogger and WordPress Posts

Would you like me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
ThingLink is a great tool for collaboratively creating interactive images.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
If you aren't subscribed you can join more than 53,000 others who do subscribe via these links.
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Use Evernote and StudyBlue to Create Online Flashcards

This morning on iPad Apps for School I wrote a review of the StudyBlue iPad app. That app allows students to create and share flashcards on their iPads. StudyBlue can also be used in a web browser. If students use StudyBlue in a web browser they can create flashcards from the notes that they have stored in their Evernote accounts. Students can import individual notes or entire notebooks from their Evernote accounts. After the notes are imported students can copy and paste text, images, and links to use in their StudyBlue flashcards. Click here to try it today.

Applications for Education
If your students are using Evernote to record and organize notes during their classes, importing some of the notes into StudyBlue could be a convenient way to create review materials.

Teaching Objects - A Lesson Planner That Integrates Google Drive

Teaching Objects is an online lesson planner that I stumbled upon today and that I think has great potential. The first thing that you'll notice when you try Teaching Objects is that you have to create your account using a Google account (either a personal account or a Google Apps for Edu account). Then you can optionally authorize Teaching Objects to access your Google Drive and YouTube accounts. Giving authorization will enable you to pull materials from your Google Drive and YouTube accounts into your Teaching Objects lesson plans.

Teaching Objects can be used without authorizing it to access your Google Drive and YouTube accounts. Even if you choose not to authorize it there is a nice feature of Teaching Objects that you might want to try. That feature is Common Core standards alignment. As you write your lesson plans and organize your materials in your Teaching Objects account you can search for an identify the Common Core standards that align to each of your lesson plans.

The Science Behind the Bike

The Science Behind the Bike is a four part video series from The Open University. The series has a total running length of 33 minutes and is a complement to a larger Open Learn course called The Science Behind Wheeled Sports. The videos and the course are designed to help students understand the physics, the physiology,  and the technology that influence the outcome of cycling events. (I recommend forwarding the first video to about the midpoint unless you're really interested in the history of cycling races).

The Hero's Journey - A Lesson in Writing Myths

The Hero's Journey is an online writing activity produced by Read Write Think. The Hero's Journey is an interactive resource that teaches students about the key elements required in developing a myth about a heroic character. The lessons are rooted in stories like The Odyssey. After reading about the elements required in a good hero story students can create their own stories by using the template provided by Read Write Think. Completed stories must printed in order to be saved.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think recommends The Hero's Journey for students in grades 9 through 12 and provides lessons plans for those grades. I looked at the lesson plans and I think that they could be used with middle school students too.

How to Set Expiration Dates for Shared Google Drive Folders

The ability to share folders is one of the many useful features of Google Drive. Sometimes you don't want to share a folder indefinitely. Rather than trying to remember when to revoke access to the folder, you could use the Auto-Expire script to set an expiration date for your shared folders. When the expiration date is reached your folder will revert back to private status. I learned about the script in a recent episode of Tekzilla Daily. The video is embedded below. You can find written directions for using the script in this Digital Inspiration blog post.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tips for a Successful Google Apps Training Session

This evening I wrapped-up the final section of my Google Drive and the Common Core webinar series. (I'll be offering it again in March). Some of the participants in the webinars were people who will be going back to their schools to train others. Toward the end of the webinar I offered some tips for setting up those trainings. I've published these tips before, but it never hurts to share them again.

Get everyone using the same browser (preferably Chrome).
Not all browsers support every feature in Google Documents. Not surprisingly, Google Chrome does support all features of Google Documents and Google Drive. For that reason it is preferable to have all participants in your training sessions use Google Chrome. Google Chrome automatically updates whenever a new update is released by Google. A day or two before your training session send an email to all participants asking them to install Chrome if it’s not already installed on their laptops.

If getting all participants in your training session to use Chrome is not an option for you, at the very least stress to them importance of having the latest version of their preferred browsers installed. Not only is this a browser security issue (older versions of browsers are more susceptible to security threats) it is a Google Documents functionality issue. The latest versions of browsers support the most functions of Google Documents. For example, as of this writing Google has officially ceased supporting Internet Explorer 8.

Finally, regardless of which browser you ultimately have participants in your training sessions use, have them all use the same browser during your training session. Initially, this might be uncomfortable for some participants, but by the end of the day most people will be comfortable with a different browser. Having everyone use the same browser will make your day easier. When everyone uses the same browser if there are unexpected glitches or problems they will likely be the same for everyone in your training session. Solve the glitch once and you’ve solved it for the whole group for the day.

Laptops vs. iPads vs. Android tablets
Unless your training session is specifically about using iPads or Android tablets, the best way to introduce new users to all of the Google Documents features is to have them use a browser (again Chrome is preferable) on their laptops. You can certainly have people bring their iPads and or Android tablets to your training session, but make sure that they know that not all of the features available in a desktop browser are also available in the iOS and Android apps.

When I have participants bringing iPads or Android tablets to one of my workshops, my preference is to have people try all of the features of Google Documents in their browsers before moving to their tablets. This way they have exposure to all of the functions of Google Docs. Then when they move to their tablets they can clearly see the differences between the browser experience and the tablet app experience. 

Five essential Google Drive skills to teach:
1. Open and Edit Word Files in Google Drive.
If you're just beginning to transition to Google Apps from Microsoft Word, the chances are good you will have old files that you want to bring into and work on in Google Drive. Click here for the detailed directions on how to do this.

2. Create PDFs in Google Drive.
Sometimes you don't want a document to be easy to alter. Or you plan on printing it and want it as a PDF. Click here to learn how to create a PDF in Google Drive in three easy steps.

3. Use Google Documents Offline.
For those times when you don't have an Internet connection and you want to work on a document, having offline access enabled is the only way to go. Click here for directions on how to enable offline access to your Google Documents. 

4. Give Yourself More Room to Work in Google Documents.
If you're using a laptop that has a screen of 13" or less there will probably be times when you want more white-space to work in. This little trick will give you about another inch of viewable document.

5. Create and Organize Folders.
Do you want to have more organization in your Google Drive account? Then you need to know how to create folders and move files into them.

Put the Reading Rockets Reading Tip of the Day on Your Blog

This afternoon I was a panelist on a webinar hosted by AdLit and Reading Rockets. My contribution to the panel was to talk about using technology and social media to connect with parents and students. At the conclusion of the webinar the hosts ran through some of the things that AdLit and Reading Rockets offer. One of the things that I grabbed onto immediately is the Reading Rockets Reading Tip of the Day widget.

The Reading Rockets Reading Tip of the Day widget does exactly what its name implies, it provides daily reading tips. The widget can be installed in your blog or website.

Applications for Education
The Reading Tip of the Day widget could be a good addition to your school blog or website. The widget provides a tips that parents can reinforce with their children at home.

Use Edcanvas in Edmodo for Visual Organization and Sharing of Resources

Edcanvas is a well-designed service for organizing and sharing digital materials with your colleagues and students. I was impressed by the service when I reviewed it earlier this month. This week Edcanvas launched an Edmodo app. Now you can use and share your Edcanvas content within your Edmodo community.

Take a look at what Edcanvas does in the 38 second video below.



Applications for Education
It was already easy to share your Edcanvas content with colleagues and students. The addition of the Edmodo app gives you another way to easily share with the students in your Edmodo community.

The Importance of Data Portability in Web Services

Image Credit: Thomas Hawk
All week I've been writing blog posts about downloading the content from your blogs in order to have an offline copy of your blog entries. Writing those posts reminded me of the importance of the importance of data portability when using web services.

I use a lot of web services in my daily life but all of the services that I use for important information have the option to download offline copies of my files and data. This option is something that I look for when considering using a service for important functions. My recommendation to anyone that uses online services for important work in their schools is to make sure you can take your data whenever you want. Using an online grade book? Make sure you can download those grades whenever you want to. Bookmarking your favorite online resources for your lessons? Check to be sure that you can export a copy of those bookmarks. Some services make this easier to find than others. For example, Google has Google Takeout that you can use to export content from all of your Google services at once. Evernote, which I used for a long time, has the option but you'll have to search their help pages to find it.


The bottom line is this, if you're using online services to host important information for you, get in the habit of backing it up to an offline file. That way if something happens to the service you will still have your important information available to you.

Update, planning for data rot:
I'm sure that many of you have had someone walk up to you with an old floppy disk and ask, "can you help me open this file?" Now that is happening with CDs too. Last weekend when I was ice fishing with a friend who teaches biology he complained that the publisher of his favorite biology interactive wasn't sending out updated CDs anymore because they were replacing the CDs with an online option requiring a login. This is indicative of a larger pattern that we're seeing and that is the end of CDs for software. Along with that we're starting to see fewer computers shipping with internal CD drives, particularly in the laptop market. If you're using CDs to store information that is important to you, you might want to start looking at other storage options either online, on an external hard drive, or a combination of both. I use Google Drive, Box, and Seagate external drives for my storage needs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Listen to Nearly 9,000 Bird Calls and See Where They Were Recorded

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recently published more than 7,500 hours of bird calls from nearly 9,000 birds. The recordings are published on the Macaulay Library site. You can browse for recordings recommended by Macaulay Library or you can search for a bird by name. When you find a recording you can also see a Google Map of where the recording was made. While the recordings cannot be downloaded for free they can be heard for free. Click here for an example.

Applications for Education
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library's archive of bird calls could be a nice resource for science teachers. If you're looking for a spring project that your students can do outside consider having your students listen to some of the recordings of birds that could be found in your area. Then have students try to keep a log of when they hear a bird call that matches what they've heard in the recordings. Those of us in the north could have students document when they first hear a migratory bird that has returned from the south.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a YouTube channel that offers some nice mini documentaries about birds. I've embedded a video about Snowy Owls below.


H/T to Open Culture.

Sweet! Now You Can Use Google Slides Offline

Google Chrome users have been able to use Google Documents offline for quite a while now. Today, Google announced that you can now use Google Slides (Presentations) offline too. While using Google Slides offline you can create new slideshows, edit slideshows, comment on slideshows, and present your slides.

In you already have offline access to Google Documents enabled, you don't need to do anything to make Google Slides work offline. That will happen for you automatically. If you do not have offline access to Google Documents enabled, click here for directions on how to enable it.

Applications for Education
Google Slides offline is a great addition to Google Docs offline. If your students are using Chromebooks or just a Chrome browser, but they don't have Internet access they can still work on their presentations and documents for their classes.

How to Back-up Weebly Sites

On Monday I shared how to back-up Posterous Spaces blogs and yesterday I shared how to back-up Blogger, WordPress, and Edublogs blogs. This evening on Twitter there was a small discussion started by Ban Ryan about the possibility of backing-up a Weebly site. The answer is yes, you can back-up a Weebly site. In fact, we got our answer because someone from Weebly interjected with a direct link to the directions. Click here for the directions on how to back-up a Weebly website.

Click to view full size.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Export Your Blogger and WordPress Posts

Image credit: Martin_Duggan
Yesterday, I shared directions on how to download the content that is on a Posterous Spaces blog. I shared those directions in response to the distinct possibility that Posterous Spaces could be closing down. Even if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog it is still a good idea to download your content so that you have an offline back-up of it just in case the worst happens.

Creating an offline copy of your blog's content is not as difficult as you might think. I've outlined the steps for downloading the content of Blogger, WordPress, and Edublogs blogs below. On all three platforms when you download your content you're creating an offline copy and all of your current content stays online.


(Click on the images below to see them full size and read the details contained within them).

Backing-up Blogger blogs.
Step 1: Sign into your Blogger account then select "settings" from the drop-down menu next to the blog that you want to back-up.



Step 2: Now select "other" at the bottom of the settings menu and then select "export blog."


Step 3: Click "download blog" and save the file and you're done.



Backing-up Edublogs blogs.
Step 1: Sign into your dashboard and select "tools" menu.

Step 2: Open tools menu and choose export.

Step 3: Download export file. Save file to your local drive.


Backing-up WordPress.com blogs.
The process for backing-up a WordPress.com blog is the same as it is for backing-up an Edublogs blog. The only difference will appear in the third step where you'll be presented with more options for filtering the types of content you want to export.

What to do with blog back-up files.
If you ever decide to change blog platforms you should be able to import the xml files created by Blogger, Edublogs, and WordPress.com into a new blog. You can also use the xml files to create a PDF of your blog using Blog Booker. Turning your students' blog(s) into a PDF book at the end of a semester or year could be good way for them and or their parents to see how much they've written in your class.

While you're backing-up your blog's content, it wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure you have back-up copies of some of your other important files. If you have things saved in Google Docs, select "download" from the "file" menu when you have a file open. If you're interested in creating back-up copies of files that you only have offline, try using Drop Box or Sugar Sync to save copies online. You can read about Drop Box here and Sugar Sync here.