Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

I was asked at a Gifted and Talented networking meeting last week how to go about setting up a web page.

Years ago, setting up a web page meant using a bunch of code or difficult and inelegant web design software.  And while this might still be true for some of the die-hard web design people, it has gotten a lot easier for regular folks like us (who have a day job and a life) to set up a web page and update it.

Now, I have a personal preference for creating classroom blogs in education. Blogs allow for easy updating of content and their nature of recording posts translates into a sort of online classroom newsletter. They are also very versatile in how they can be used for different applications and allow people to “subscribe” to them if they know a thing or two about RSS—the language of blogs.

There are several free options for setting up a blog. Most take about 5 minutes.

WordPress is the leader right now in blogging. This is not to be confused with WordPress.org, which distributes the open-source blogging platform used by WordPress. WordPress will set up a blog for you very quickly, usually in a few minutes.  Take some time to customize it, and make it your own by adding links, pictures and other information. You’re reading a WordPress blog right now.

Advantages: easy; open; very customizable; allows you to create pages as well as posts; update via outside programs such as Microsoft Word

Disadvantages: does not allow you to embed videos or Javascript

Edublogs looks and feels like WordPress. In fact, it runs on WordPress.  However, unlike WordPress, Edublogs severely limits what you can do unless you pay. Once you pay a small fee, you can set up blogs, video, and other options.

Advantages: easy, geared to teachers

Disadvantages: many features cannot be used without paying a subscription

Blogger, Google’s answer to blogging, is sleek and well put together.  Many features like being able to post a blog via a cell phone or an email are great.  However, many schools do not allow access to it, and it does not allow you to make a separate page such as a “school rules” or “Assignments” page.

Advantages: easy, lots of fun gadgets

Disadvantages: features might be blocked or limited, no “pages” features


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