Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Back-up Your Blog and Why You Should

The recent closure of, the possible shut-down of Delicious, and the recent troubles Miguel Guhlin experienced with Blogger/ Google Sites have me thinking about the importance of data portability. The fact of the matter is, if we rely on a free web-based service we should be aware of the possibility that it could shut-down or move to a fee model at some point. To that end, we should be in the habit of periodically creating offline back-ups of our data. This is especially true if you're using a hosted blog as an online portfolio of your's or your students' work. Below you will find directions for creating offline back-ups of Blogger blogs, Edublogs blogs, and blogs. (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 dashboard and select the "settings" tab.

Step 2: Select "export blog."

Step 3: Select "download blog." Save the file to your desktop or other location on your computer.

In the new Blogger interface the process is the same, but the "export" link is harder to find.

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 blogs.
The process for backing-up a 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 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.

Learn Video Production at Vimeo's Video School

I frequently write and talk about video projects for classrooms (in fact, I wrote a free ebook about it). I do that because I think video is a medium that engages students in learning in a variety of ways. What I don't talk about as often is the nuts and bolts of setting-up a shot, lighting, capturing sound, and other technical aspects of capturing video footage. That's where the Vimeo Video School could be helpful for you and your students.

The Vimeo Video School is a collection of how-to lessons for videographers by videographers. The lessons cover everything from the very basics (Video 101) through advanced techniques. At the end of almost every lesson is a "challenge." The challenges are a call to action to go out and put what you've learned to use. Videos in the Vimeo Video School are a mix of videos produced by Vimeo staff and videos produced by others and approved by Vimeo staff.

Here's the first video from Video 101.

Video 101: Choosing a Camera from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

H/T to CNET.

Applications for Education
If you've been considering having your students produce videos for a classroom project and or for a contest like the one currently going on at Next Vista, but you're worried that you don't know enough about video production, check out the Vimeo Video School for some lessons.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
12 Ways to Create Videos Without a Camera or Software
Creative Commons Search
How to Craft Clear Explanations

Hey What's That? - It's a Lunar Eclipse!

In a couple of days (December 21) there will be a lunar eclipse. Chances are you won't be with your students during the eclipse, but you can still work the event into your classroom through Hey What's That? Hey What's That? uses the Google Earth Plugin to create a simulation of the lunar eclipse. Using the simulation's timeline slider you can see how the sky should look at different times during the lunar eclipse.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.

Applications for Education
The simulation available on Hey What's That? could be a nice visual aid to help students understand how a lunar eclipse occurs. The simulation allows students to flip and spin the globe which could help them see why not all people on the Earth will see the eclipse.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Solar Eclipse Simulation in Google Earth
NASA eClips - Educational Videos for K-12 Students
Explore Google Sky