Turning a Blog? into a Blog!

The assignment I tweeted about was actually a blogging assignment! My high school biology teacher had us write an end of year blog about a biology topic of our choice. I chose to do mine as a narrative, rather than a research paper, and my teacher was supportive of the strange format. While the assignment was fun to complete and exciting to see posted, it was a format only visible to those in the class, and we did not have to engage with the blog posts of our fellow classmates. I would take this assignment a step further as a biology teacher and make the blog truly public, perhaps by tweeting links to the posts from my own Twitter account, or having students share their blog posts on their own social media. As a class we could then have a “viewing contest” to see whose blog can get the most page views, with the winner getting a few bonus points on the assignment. Not only would this encourage them to create a truly polished and interesting blog post, but also it would allow them an opportunity to share a topic they are truly interested in, potentially interesting other young people in science and starting meaningful conversations online.

Visual Metaphor

My closing activity for my class each term is for groups to create a visual metaphor of their “take away” from the entire class (alternatively, they can create a “word wall wordle”. So after an entire term of content, discussion, assignments, etc…. What are they leaving with. We then post them on the wall and do a gallery walk and docent guided tours.

I’ve never thought of adding blogging to this activity. I might have them blog about their part of creating their own group’s visual metaphor (individual voice, individual accountability). Or, I could have them respond to another group’s creation in terms of what they liked about that product that they wish they had included in their own or had let slip through the cracks.

Why M&M’s are the best way to teach budgeting?

Okay, so you are stuck in a rut. You have just been handed an assignment to teach students how to budget. You know most kids only know how to spend, but what savings and taxes and all those other things they are going to need to know about? It’s time for a serious discussion on Adulting 101 Personal Finance.

So, let’s jump right in and get started. grab a one pound bag of M&Ms. Pick up some white paper placements and grab a couple of cups. Put 100 ……..

Blah,blah

See how easy that was? What did you learn from this experience?

Why blogging?

How would I add a blogging component to my class?

Offer students access to mobile devices if they don’t already have one and blogging apps or CMS.

Submit this question: Why is blogging important?

Encourage answers. Some might be: Improve writing skills, simple fun, self-awareness, critical thinking in the writing process.

Suggest a theme or general subject matter. E.g. Politics, media and children or high and low culture

Let them go wild and have fun!

My favorite place

I would have an assignment that would incorporate visual images of the student’s favorite “place.” The student would write a descriptive essay about this place and explain why he/she thinks of this as the favorite. ┬áThe images could be taken on their phone or iPad and emailed to me. I would then take all of the images of my student’s favorite places and create a collage, and it would become the image on my screen in my classroom.

I Am Writing This Post On A $50 Smartphone

This post was originally published on keeganslw.com.

Time to break down one of my favorite mobile device workflows!

Text

To write this post, I am using the WordPress app. You can download this for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, or Windows Phone.

With this app, you can create an entire website on your phone in a matter of seconds through WordPress.com. However, I am using the self-hosted version of WordPress. This means, my WordPress website is on a server that I administer myself. I am not going to get into the specifics of these differences, so here is a video that can provide some helpful insights:

(OU Create is the program at the University of Oklahoma that is providing me with the web server and web domain required for the self-hosted version of WordPress. My Uni is giving me (and all OU personnel) this online space because they believe I should be controlling my digital identity. And I agree!)

Video

Anyways, the video you see before the previous paragraph is from YouTube. Within the WordPress app, I pasted the link to the video where I wanted it to appear in the text. WordPress detected the video link and automatically formatted it for viewing. If you want some specific information about this process, check out this official support page.

Generally, for a WordPress website, you should plan on streaming video content through another service such as YouTube. In other words, do not upload video directly to your WordPress site (because video files are too large).

Images

Images on the other hand, can be uploaded to your WordPress site.

The featured image for this blog post was taken from the public domain image website Unsplash. Once I found an image from Unsplash, I downloaded it to this phone and uploaded it through the WordPress app. Whether you are blogging on a mobile device or not, you should check out Unsplash:

image

The screenshot I just included was captured on this $50 smartphone and also uploaded within the WordPress app. (Remember you can include images taken directly from the camera of your mobile device as well.)

Support Materials

If you are interested in learning more about mobile devices and blogging, head over to the Mobile Blogging & Scholarship website for more information and ideas.

In addition to that website, (if you are an OU student, faculty, or staff member) I suggest downloading the Lynda.com app for your respective device and learn more about WordPress. To get you started, here are several Lynda.com playlists.

Closing

Publishing web content from a smartphone or tablet is easier than ever! This entire blog post was produced from start to finish using the $50 BLU Advance 4.0L Smartphone. With apps like WordPress, anyone can create and manage an entire website, and with mobile devices, this can be done from anywhere.