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Monday, September 25, 2017

Built to Last - Blogging With Edublogs and Blogger

This November will mark the tenth anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. Over those ten years I have reviewed thousands of free resources for teachers and students. Some of those free resources have come and gone in a blaze of glory (remember when Second Life and Nings were the cat's meow?) while others have stood the test of time. Over the next couple of months I am going to revisit some of the free resources that have endured over the majority of the last ten years. With a nod to the Grateful Dead song of the same name, I'm calling this series Built to Last. The previous installments can be found here, here, and here.

Edublogs and Blogger have been available for free for as long as I have been blogging. Over the last decade I have used both platforms with students and helped countless teachers get started using both platforms. Edublogs has lasted because it offers fantastic support for teachers. That support comes in the forms of staff members active on Twitter, super responsive email support, and on-going blog posts designed to help teachers engage their students through blogging activities. Blogger's longevity is due in large part to being owned by Google. Blogger is also very easy to start using. In a manner of minutes you can get your blog up and running.

Even as social media exploded in the forms of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and services that came and went quickly (remember Plurk, FriendFeed, and Pownce?) Edublogs and Blogger endured. In all of my workshops and webinars about blogging I say that a blog is your online hub for activity. A blog gives your students a place to fully express their thoughts through words, images, and videos in a manner that can't be done through social media. A blog also provides you with an easy-to-search archive of the work that you and your students publish. Have you ever tried to find a three month old Tweet or Facebook post? It's not easy to do. But it is easy to do that on a blog.

One of the challenges that many teachers and students face in blogging is developing ideas for things to write about. Here are five things that your students can write about and five things that you can write about:
Student-written posts:
  • Three favorite moments from the last school year. 
  • Favorite part of summer vacation. 
  • All-time best moment in school. 
  • Three questions they want to find the answers to this year. 
  • Favorite book or movie and why. 
Teacher-written posts:
  • How to talk to kids about web use.
  • 5 fun, free educational activities to do at home (think Maker activities)
  • 5 local field trips to do on rainy days
  • Things parents should know about Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ Snapchat/
  • 5 tasty and healthy snacks to send to school.