Blogging and online content creation has changed a lot over the years. Going from nerdy venting to something that nearly every major company and institution does. Blogging is essential for the public face of any organization and that is no different for schools and classrooms.
Blogs are a great way to share what is going on within your school and build a conversation that goes well beyond the classroom walls. It is also a good way to promote the school and invite publicity from all over the web. So, what do you need to consider before starting your class blog? Here are a few thoughts and suggestions that may help get your blog up sooner than later.
Class Blog Decisions
The first decision really is, does your class need a blog? Yes, that seems like an odd question as you are reading this article on creating a class blog. But there are a few considerations to make before committing to putting content online.
A blog is a bit like a pet. Someone needs to be responsible for looking after it every day. Nothing is worse than a stale or out of date blog. If you are looking to create a class blog, set up a regular posting schedule that is realistic and achievable. If you are really only interested in posting every now and then, maybe you are better off finding a blog that your class can submit posts to rather than creating your own.
The second question is, what kind of a blog do you want to build? There are a number of options out there, each with pros and cons. Do you have multiple authors? Does it need to follow a school theme or design style? Do you want it to be public or private? All of these questions and more will play a part in the platform you choose to build your class blog on.
Choosing The Platform
With so many choices, here is our list of the most popular blogging platforms and a brief summary of each. All of these options can be implemented for free and require small time investment to set up. Listed in order of complexity and functionality, these platforms all have their own strengths, and it is about finding the right platform to suit your needs.
Powering many of the most visited blogs on the web, WordPress is the obvious choice for a feature filled, robust, professional blog. As an open-source project, WordPress can be hosted yourself or hosted by WordPress for little to no cost. With thousands of beautiful themes it is easy to make WordPress unique and reflect your class or school personality.
Blogger and Posterous
Blogger (owned by Google) and Posterous are the next level down in blog options. By no means inferior to WordPress, the free platforms make getting a blog up easier and quicker, but do leave out some of the detailed customisation that can be done with WordPress. The perfect option for a class that wants a simple blog fast and doesn’t need every bell and whistle.
Tumblr claims to be the easiest way to blog. A big statement, but shown by the exploding popularity of the platform, it is in many ways true. Calling itself a micro-blogging platform, Tumblr takes a leap to the next level of simplicity where you can post all sorts of media in seconds. With a very heavy focus on social media and interaction, Tumblr is a great way to create a slick, modern and social blog.
Relatively new on the scene, Jux is a new way to blog, focusing on showcasing content rather than lengthy text posts. Launched in March last year, the platform follows a very visual, beautiful and simple design. Jux feels more like an online portfolio than a blog and would make a great platform for classes focusing on art and design.
As discussed earlier, perhaps a blog is a little too much responsibility or just overkill for what your class needs. This does not mean your class content has to sit stagnant in the classroom. There are thousand of channels to share your classes work using social networks. Create a class page on Facebook. Set up a class board on Pinterest. Or even just a class Twitter account is a great way to get started.
My personal suggestion would be start off small. Create a free Tumblr or Jux account and run it for a few weeks. By then you will be very familiar with the platform and know whether your class is going to stick with the the blog, or whether it was a passing fad. You will also have a good feel for whether the platform has all the features you need and a better understanding of blogging as a whole.
I would thoroughly recommend WordPress (Fractus Learning is WordPress) as the next step if you decide to take your blog further. Its popularity is unrivaled in the blogging world and the very pro-active community means that there is very rarely a problem that has not already been encountered. If you are interested in exploring WordPress as your class or school blogging platform, make sure to check out our online training course - WordPress For Use In Schools and The Classroom.
What platform do you use for your school or class blog? And what encouraged you to choose that platform?
Image courtesy of Flickr, Elsie esq.