Monday, November 21, 2011

A Guide To Better Blogger Blogging

Writing a public blog post needs a little care and attention. Remember there are 7 billion people out there and most of them could read this if they stumbled across it. This post will give you some top tips on how to use Blogger and also, more importantly, how to write well online.

Writing Online

Clarity is important. Choose a short and catchy title for your post - does it clearly explain what the rest of the post is about? Your audience could be any age from anywhere in the World. Write well, in sentences, and as with any piece of writing, use paragraphs, headings, bullet points etc.. Try to avoid text speech, but the odd smiley is probably ok ;)

Writing online allows you to use multimedia with ease. Illustrate your work with images or videos, either upload them yourself or use ones from elsewhere on the Internet.

You may know that website are written in HTML, the H stands for Hypertext. Hypertext is when you link through to another web page, pointing your readers on to some more information about the topic you're talking about. Link to as much useful information as you can (but be careful to check what you're linking to, you are effectively giving that website your seal of approval).

Add labels to your writing, these are keyword tags that explain what is in it. This post has the labels: writing, blogging, Blogger, literacy, tips, edublog, quadblog. These are used as keywords by search engines, they will make your work easier to find online by people looking for something on the topic you are writing on.

Fair use and copyright are important things to bare in mind when writing online. It's easy to copy and paste, text, images, sound or video from elsewhere. In general it's fine to do this in moderation, but you should always link back to the original material. Never copy it without doing that, you're effectively stealing their work. One great way to find media you can happily use is to find materials put online under a Creative Commons license. In it's simplest form, this means people are happy for you to use their work as long as you give them credit. Try searching Flickr for Creative Commons licensed pictures.

Top 'Copying' Tips:
  • Don't use images without permission (be careful with Google image search), unless they are Creative Commons licensed
  • Link back to the original work
  • You're fine embedding videos from Youtube etc
  • You can't copy large chunks of text, but you can quote small snippets if you link to the original
  • If unsure, just use a hyperlink to the resource you want to use.

Safety Tips

  • Try not to use your full name online.
  • Don't use your full name alongside videos or pictures of you or your friends.
  • Don't put personal identifiable information online, e.g. your address or phone numbers.
  • If you see something inappropriate, don't worry, stop and tell your parent, teacher or other adult.
  • Don't put your email address online for others to see, if nothing else you will end up with a stream of junk 'spam' mail.
  • Before you hit publish, stop and read through your writing. Are you happy with it? Is it all appropriate? Would you be happy for you Mum to read it? What about someone interviewing you for a job in 10 years time?! Once it's online it is there forever. Don't let that worry you, good writing makes you look good, you could use this blog as evidence in a few years time when you apply to College!


Blogger Tips

Blogger is incredibly easy to use. The main icon bar is pretty self-explanatory if you have used Word or written online before.


A few useful buttons:


Link allows you to add a hyperlink. Select some text and then click it. In the menu that pops up you can add the web address that you want to link to. I tend to tick the box that says 'open the link in a new window' so that they don't lose your original page.

Next along is the picture icon, click that to add an image. You can upload one, use your Picassa photos if you have an account or enter a url for a picture on another site (you can always find that by right clicking on the image and finding it's url from there - make sure you have permission to use it). Click on the picture for some options, including a caption, this can be a good place to give credit to the original author.

Next up is video, pretty self explanatory, it works much like the image menu. As Blogger is owned by Google, embedding Youtube videos is very easy.

Three from the end is the quotes icon, this is good to use when you're copying some text from elsewhere. For example:
Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was created by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. Generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com.
from Wikipedia
Lots of websites these days will let you embed their wares on other sites, Youtube is most famous for this but many sites have this feature. If you need to copy in some embed code then switch to HTML mode from the menu, paste in the code, and switch back.

Have you got any tips to share? We'd love to hear them - please leave us a message in the comments.

3 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic idea and loved the posts by your pupils, well done to all. Going to get my pupils to login and view tomorrow.
    Have started similar - http://s2media.qahs.org.uk/

    Mr S. teaching in Fife

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi
    I hope you don't mind but I have copied your how to blog and put on mine- making it slightly simpler for my primary children.
    bexton.creativeblogs.net/
    Assistant Head
    Bexton primary school

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please do! I've added a Creative Commons license to everything we write here, so feel free to take it and use it for your own devices.
    Cheers,
    Mr Stucke

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting!