Want to start an educational blog, but not sure how to do it? Well, you have several options, depending on how comfortable you are with technology.
1. Use your school website to publish your student work online.
Generally speaking, this is not the most convenient option. First, the person who runs the school website may not have the time to help you publish student work online (or to keep that content updated). Second, most school websites are not powered by blogging software (see below), so it can be difficult to publish new content, as well as for visitors to leave comments. Finally, if you change schools, the content doesn’t follow you, and may get deleted when you move on.
2. Set up your blog using a prepackaged site with an online educational community like Edublogs or Ontario Blogs.
Many teachers join a community of online educators who are already blogging in the classroom. That way, you can learn from others, and see what’s possible.
Ontario Blogs is an online project where students from Gr 4-12 in Ontario can write and read posts. All content is moderated by teachers as they are the only ones with the authority to publish posts and comments.
Edublogs.org hosts hundreds of thousands of education blogs. You can easily create and manage student blogs or teacher blogs. It’s powered by WordPress and you can use many WordPress features, including the customizable themes. It’s easy to set up podcasting, videos, and photos. Because it’s powered by WordPress, you have complete control over which comments and posts get published. Any visitor can leave a comment, and you can moderate the comments before they go live on your site.
3. Set up your own blog using a free blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress.
Although there are several free blogging platforms, two of the best are Blogger and WordPress.
Blogger is run by Google and allows you to create a free blog. You can choose from a variety of template and features (gadgets), including the option to add Google Ads on to your blog to monetize your site. (You also have access to the HTML code of your site which means you have more control over your site than a prepackaged blog offered by Edublogs or Ontario Blogs.
WordPress is a free blogging platform that comes in two varieties. You can either get a free blog account hosted by WordPress.com or download the WordPress software from WordPress.org (This is called a self-hosted WordPress account. See #4 below.)
Over 3 million blogs are hosted by WordPress.com. You have access to a variety of themes and features (widgets) that are pre-installed in the software. Unfortunately with a free WordPress account, you can’t use the site to make money (i.e. with Google Ads) and you have limited access in terms of extra code that you can ad to your site (i.e. you don’t have access to the HTML code of the site). However, this won’t be a problem for most people.
4. Set up your own blog on your own self-hosted website.
Running a blog on your own website costs money, requires some technical know-how, but offers the most flexibility and control. It’s not for everyone.
Let’s be honest: the average teacher doesn’t blog in the classroom. The ones who do, probably do so because they’re interested in technology. They may already manage their school website or perhaps they’re the computer contact teacher for their school.
Most teachers who blog in the classroom will opt for option 2 or 3 in the list above. Setting up an account with Edublogs or WordPress.com will have you up and blogging in a matter of minutes and at no cost to you.
There are a few people who will blog with the free accounts for a while before eventually realizing that they want something more. These are the people who will fork out the cash to host their blog on their own website. When you run a self-hosted WordPress account on your own web host, it’s like unlocking all of the doors and allowing you to customize your site any way you like.