Blogging is easy for those who bother to give it a try, and for teaching I still think that there is no better way to maintain an online presence and keep kids and parents informed. You can update your website from any computer that has Internet. But it gets better!
Several of the blogging options that I mentioned in my last post work with a special suite of software called blog editors.
A blog editor allows you to update your blog from within a word processing program. For many of us, this is more familiar and easier to use than a work with than the normal browser interface that many blogging platforms use. You may be using a blog editor right now and not know it!
Microsoft Word: Ever since word 07, blogging has been built into Microsoft word. Just go to New>Blog post, and enter your blog’s address and password. You can now take anything written in word and post it with a few clicks to the internet without having to muddle around.
Microsoft LiveWriter: Microsoft also made a suite of programs for its Windows Live services. LiveWriter was, in my opinion, the only good thing to come of Windows Live. LiveWriter shows you exactly what the blog would look like in a clean and elegant window; it has a wealth of add-ons that let you manage media and release posts on multiple blogs. Sadly, by being attached to Windows Live, and thus a mass of web apps like Webmail, this great program is locked out from most school web filters. Not that it does a thing wrong, it just has .live attached to its name and that alone freaks network admins out.
Zoundry Raven: In a long and mournful search for a replacement for my beloved Windows LiveWriter, I was able to find a suitable alternative. Zoundry Raven is a free, slightly inelegant program that nonetheless works like a champ. I am able to copy and paste ANYTHING into it and get it posted with no problems. I am now able to take a page from my SMARTboard, copy it and past it into Raven, and with a click my assignment notebook or an important lesson is online.
Why go through this trouble? It’s all about making the process simpler; it allows entering things into the blog to be easy, with the computer becoming a kiosk that posts things on the web. One of my students now has the job of updating the blog every day with the day’s assignments.
With blogging this easy, how can we get kids into it?