Don't let blocked sites stop you from creating a class blog!

We've all experienced the beloved access denied message that pops up when a site is blocked.  Many of you have had your learners experience this when they try to access a blog site.  Fortunately, the blogging site Blogger provides a way around this.

When using a class blog through Blogger, you can set up an email address that wil allow users to send posts directly to the blog using an email account.  Learners can send emails to your blog, which will then appear as regular blog posts.  You can choose to have them publish automatically, or you can approve the posts yourself, before they are published on your class blog.  The subject of the email serves as the title of the blog post, and the body of the message is the post itself.  Learners can even post pictures to the blog via this email method, as well.

This is a great opportunity for learners to collaborate on a class blog, even though they can't access Blogger on campus.  Display your blog on the SMART Board, and then seek input form the class on a topic.  This could be used as an introduction to a topic at project launch, for scaffolding activities, as a means of reflection, to stimulate discussion, and much more.  Try this with your classes, and the kids are sure to be engaged.

To create a new blog:
  1. Visit www.blogger.com.
  2. Create a new account, if you do not have one.  If you already have a Google account (Gmail, Google Groups, etc.), you can sign in with that account.
  3. Click on Create a Blog.
  4. Provide a title for your blog.
  5. Decide what you want the web address to be.
  6. Complete the word verification.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Choose a template.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Click Start Blogging to get started!
That's it!  Creating a blog is super easy!

To set your blog up for email posting:
  1. When you are in edit mode for your blog, along the top of the page, you should see some tabs.  Click on the Settings tab.
  2. Click on the Email & Mobile link at the top of the page.
  3. In the Posting Options section, choose the email address you want to create that will enable email posting.  Just delete "secretWords" and type in your own text for the email address.
  4. Choose your publishing options.  Do you want the posts to publish automatically?  Do you want to moderate the posts and review them before they are published?
  5. Click Save Settings at the bottom of the page.
Now, you can provide the email address you just created to your learners, and they can start contributing to your class blog via email.  It was simple to set up, and it's simple for the learners to add posts! 

If you're ready to add some additional content to your blog, you can even embed audio recordings, digital documents such as those published with Issuu, and other content directly into the blog post.  You or the learners can record audio using Vocaroo, and then you can embed it into a blog post.  There's even a widget that will allow your learners to chat with you, directly from the blog.

If you want more information on any of these resources or need some ideas on what you can do with your blog, I would love to work with you one-on-one or teach a workshop. 

Happy blogging!

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