Create a Blog, Add a Post and an Avatar
Now that you’ve done some exploring around this website and understand how this program will work, it’s time to set up your very own personal blog and begin recording your discoveries and thoughts about how Web 2.0 tools can be used for educational purposes.
Why use a blog? This is program is designed to facilitate your play with Web 2.0 tools, but it is also designed to make you think about how these tools can be used with our students. In his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson writes:
...what really distinguishes a blog from your run-of-the-mill Website is much more than process; it's what you'll find there. Blogs are not built on static chunks of content. Instead, they are comprised of reflections and conversations that in many cases are updated every day (if not three or four times a day). Blogs engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to think and to respond. They demand interaction.We're using blogs in this program because of this interactivity. The blog you are about to create will be a place where you can write reflections on the tools you are playing with and the experiences you are having. Other participants in the program can read your postings and you can read theirs. We hope to have lots of commenting and sharing going back and forth across blogs during the semester. The more you share with each other, the richer the learning experience will be. And don't forget that your blog is out there live in the "blogosphere." Other people interested in Web 2.0 tools might also read and comment on your posts.
In order to receive full credit, you must make a thoughtful, substantive post for each of the 23 Things (and the one after that) that we will be exploring. Please label each entry in your blog with the Thing # you are writing about. Each of your posts should provide insights into what you’ve discovered and learned. Feel free to share what worked for you … and what didn’t … what surprised you … what frustrated you … what amazed you.
On to creating the blog...
There are several free online blog hosting services including Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad or Edublogs. For this course, you will use Google's tool Blogger, because it is extremely easy to use.
Before we begin, however, I would highly suggest each of you create a new Gmail account. Even if you already have a Gmail account, you will want to create a new one for the 23 Things activity. In the course of the 23 Things, you will be signing up for many free accounts, and if you use this dedicated Gmail account, you can avoid unwanted email coming to your primary email address. Click here to set up your Gmail account.
Take this tour on creating a blog using Blogger.
- Follow this link and click on the New Blog button.
- Title your blog with your first and last name, and then create your web address. When you have found an available blog address, click on one of the templates and click on the Create Blog button.
- To add posts: You will need to sign into your Gmail account each time you want to add, edit or configure your blog. Be sure to write down your login and password. Click on New Post in the upper right corner of the screen.
(2.0Tip: It's a good idea to get a small notebook (or use the Notes app on your smart phone) to keep all the usernames and passwords that you will have to create during this program. All of the tools that we will play with will require you to create an account. Unless you can find a way to use the same sign in information over and over, you will want to have a place to keep all this information together.)
- To view your blog: Your blog address is http://(xxxx).blogspot.com, (xxxx)=the unique identifier you entered in Step 2. Be sure to also write down your blog address.
(2.0Tip: This is a good time to "bookmark" your blog for easy access throughout the program.)
If you run into problems or would like more information about blogs and using Blogger here are some discovery resources, remember you can always review the Blogger Tour.
OK -- Now, it’s your turn...
- After you set up a blog for yourself through Blogger...
- Add a post for Thing #1 - Write about which of the lifelong learning habits are the easiest and hardest for you and why. Also, write about what you want to learn by playing with Web 2.0 tools and your experience in setting up the blog. Was it hard, easy? Describe your feelings as you worked on this. (Remember to include "Thing #1" in the title of the post!)
- Create an avatar for your blog.
An avatar is an online representation of yourself. (You'll notice my avatar at the top of this post.) Go to http://www.doppelme.com/ and design an avatar with a background of your choice. (You will have to set up a free account in DoppleMe). Click on Create to begin. When you have completed your avatar, save it and add it to your blog.
[HINT: Here's how to add your avatar to your blog. When you are on your DoppleMe home page and have finished creating your avatar, click on Advanced Code and copy the html code found there. Click on Design in the top right corner of your blog page. Then click on the word Layout on the left side of your page. There you will see various page elements. Click on Add a Gadget. Paste (Control V on a PC or Command V on a Mac) the HTML code in the Gadget marked "HTML/Java Script." Then move that Gadget to wherever you want your avatar to appear on your blog - usually at the top of the page].
- For Thing #2, post about your experience creating your blog and your avatar. In your post, answer these questions:
- What previous experiences do you have with blogs, reading or writing?
- How did you decide on your posting name and the name of your blog?
- What was your experience in creating the blog? Was it hard for you or easy? Why?
- How does your avatar reflect your personality? Did you create an avatar that looks like your real self or someone totally different? Why?
IMPORTANT NOTE: How you choose to identify yourself on your blog is up to you. You can blog under a screen name, anonymously, or with your real name. Either way, in order to qualify for credit, you will need to register your blog with APSU Learning 2.0 team in Thing 3.