Back in the early 2000s, when websites were becoming a bigger part of internet you had to be a computer expert and somewhat of a programmer to get one up. Understanding URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), file names and extensions, and basic HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language) to create the components of a web page (Hahn, 2000). Then website design entered the picture with creating graphics and writing CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) becoming important in creating a website. Now, there are many free hosting sites that provide nicely designed templates that leave a teacher free to just worry about the content.
The questions then becomes, “To blog or not to blog?” Most of the free hosting sites come with a blog feature. So, you ask yourself, “Do I need a blog?” or “How often will I have time to update a blog?” Then you realize that you only need a website to communicate with students and/or parents, so you don’t realize that you only need to update homework, post thought-provoking questions for students to comment on, and highlight certain things going on in the classroom. While this is not actual blogging, it can posted just the same. A blog website it is!
Now, you think, “Ok, I guess my students should create a blog.” (depending on the age of the students, of course). What a great way to get them to experience posting on the internet? Wait, don’t they already do that on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.? Here is where your expertise comes in handy, your guidance as a teacher to teach them about being a good digital citizen and how when something goes on the Internet it isn’t easily forgotten, even if deleted. It’s an opportunity to discuss copyright issues and how to properly cite references when “borrowing/showing/displaying” someone else’s work.
Blogs can be used for a number of things for students in the classroom. According to Richardson (2010), they can be used for class portals, online filing cabinets for students work, e-portfolios, collaborative space, and knowledge management. This is great, so now you think, “How do I fit creating a blog into my already packed lessons?”
Here’s where the easy part comes! With very minimum time or effort and no money at all, you can create a website in the time it took you read this article. Here is a list of some of the free websites that provide website hosting and templates. Just sign up, follow the instructions, and input your content. It’s that easy!
- Blogger – whether you’d like to share your knowledge, experiences or the latest news, create a unique and beautiful blog for free.
- Google Sites – a free and easy way to create and share webpages
- Wix – customize with the free website builder, no coding skills needed, just choose a design and begin
- WordPress – create a free website or easily build a blog with hundreds of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes, free hosting and support
- WordPress for Beginners – resource site with easy to understand WordPress tutorials for mastering the basics and beyond, sign up for free
Hahn, Harley. (2000). Harley Hahn Teaches the Internet (2nd ed.). Indianapolis, Indiana: Que.
Richardson, Will. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.