Using a blog for teachers and students

In January 2005, I wrote “Why teachers should blog“. I still think that stands.

My good friend, Andy, has been teaching now for four years. Two years ago, he wanted a website for students to refer to. Instead of manually creating webpages from Dreamweaver, I got him to use WordPress and he’s been using it ever since. In fact, I’ll be wiping it out and updating it to the latest version since the new school year started today.

Since Andy started the class site, he doesn’t upload photos to the server. I got him hooked on Flickr, and he now has a Pro account for both the class and himself; he just links to the photos. (An alternative to Flickr is Zooomr; notice the three o’s, not two.) He also bought his own domain name, so he’s not using a subdomain from me. (I’ll link to his new site once I update WordPress.)

If that sounds too scary, there’s also WordPress.com. You don’t need a webhost to set one up, and it’s free. (Cons: You can’t install your own themes or plugins.)

Aside from the blog, I suggest having a few pages that have links to good learning resources, MLA reference, etc. Andy has a contact page, upcoming events, and reading minutes for each student.

If you do install your own blog, look for WordPress plugins that’ll help protect and enhance your it. For starters:

Oh yeah, know your audience. If the majority of your parents and students use dialup, use a minimalistic theme and keep the images small to speed up loading time. (Enough said.)

For support, WordPress has their own forums. If you’d like to hire me, let me know! I feel I know enough to get by pretty well. However, FreshlyPressed has a solid group of people that might interest you if you want a more professional route. (Perhaps I should ask if I can join them?)

If you have a blog for your class, please link to them in the comments so others can see some examples and gather ideas. Thanks, and happy blogging!

Related articles elsewhere on the web:

Update: Andy’s site has been up – I just forgot to update this post. See mrandychang.com. It uses K2, which I’m liking a lot.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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