Now that my school is a year into using Google Apps for Education, everyone is familiar and comfortable with the main features, especially Gmail and Google Drive. There are other features worth exploring, however. For example, it takes literally less than a minute to set up a blog from your Google account. Let me show you how.
First, click on your shortcut menu in Gmail. Google often changes the architecture of its layout, but for now it’s in the top right side. When you click, you will see several App icons.
Click “more” to see the Blogger icon on the bottom right:
The blogger home will appear in a new tab. There is a list of your blogs (empty if you are new to this), and big button labeled “New Blog.” After clicking it, you must enter a name and url for your blog, and you are also given templates of how you want your blog to look (you can change this later, so don’t fret too much over the choice):
The next step is to start blogging. Coetail members are already familiar with how to do this. Coetail uses wordpress, but blogger is not too different. If you prefer to set up outside of the Google world, here is an ed tech guide to setting up a wordpress blog.
Now that we’ve got the technical stuff behind us, let’s talk about how to use your new blogs. My primary interest is getting students involved with blogging. This can be tricky territory, especially if there is no precedent at your school. Some schools charged ahead with student blogging years ago; others have never considered it. Jeff Utecht makes a good case for student blogging (check out his free ebook). If you only want to experiment, there are steps you can take to keep the blogs private. On your blogger dashboard, click on the “settings” tab. This is where you will add authors (perhaps your students) and decide who has access to your blog.
Right now I plan to use this as another outlet to publish my students’ videos. Later on, I think the transition from digital learning logs to individual student blogs is a natural one, but we will take things slowly.