You want to start blogging about K12?

How to Start a K12 Blog - Part OneI admit I’ve told a few people they should be blogging about <something interesting they are doing in education> . And I think I am right, they should be – I think the only thing I am qualified to really do it tell you if you have interesting content. I believe that is because I entertain two dueling ‘wonders’: are my thoughts interesting on this blog or am I just trying to work out what I really think? Since I have tried to move some colleagues into blogging I have been working out the suggested steps to start below.

If you consider it, you know that teachers have the most to share. Even your hallway curmudgeon has some good stories. Of the teachers I have encouraged to share through a blog lately all are making transitions. These teachers have experience success in one arena and are attempting to parlay that success into another area.  That is good material, yet however intense the process it will come to an end. So, even if they don’t fully achieve their original goal they have this great material which chronicles the process of working toward that goal. I would totally read that, subscribe to it, and probably tweet it.

Chances are you have a few great stories to share as well.

Start at the Beginning

What is a blog?

A blog is formally called a weblog, by no-one-you-would-ever-care-to-talk-to. A blog is a special kind of website which displays “entries” or “posts” in reverse chronological order. Blogs are also very easy to follow and share. Whether you are looking for a personal online diary or a place to share your commentary with the world you may be looking for a blog.

How do I start a blog?

Passion for a topic and a blogging platform are required. That is really all you need. You could start a blog today.

As a teacher, we both know you must have passion for education. Please consider the scope of your blog; are you going to cover all of K12 education or narrow down to a few things you are an expert at, feel strongly about, or just want to share with the rest of the educational community? You don’t need to know that answer yet, but you should start thinking about that right at the start of this idea. We will come back to this, so put this on your back burner. K12 blogging is unique because we can predict some of your readership will occur behind a firewall at a school. Non-teachers, the rest of us are rolling our eyes because the firewall at a school is the ever-changing force which helpfully screens out dangerous web sites for us, like the great one we discovered last night and planned to include in our class this AM – thanks Firewall. For that reason I suggest K12 bloggers skip platforms such as Tumblr as it is blocked at the school network often. For that same reason Reddit should not be an option for K12 bloggers either. Two of my favorite blogging  platforms for education are WordPress and Blogger. Evaluate the pros and cons for these two platforms yourself and consider the below excerpt from Aunt Peaches post – 25 Resources for Improving your Blog: Difference between Blogger and WordPress This is basically a good representation of the difference between users of both platforms. WordPress will leave you room to grow, the possibility of the blog generating revenue in the future, and the ability to control the URL of your blog. If you think you can do it with a little help, I’d strongly suggest WordPress. Please walk through the Checklist and follow the path which best suits you. But it is time, time for you to start a blog! Once you start one please comment on this post – I would be honored to visit your blog!

Ahem, do you have any ‘Training Wheel’ Options? Actually, the easiest publishing option I have discovered is postach.io, a complement to your (free) Evernote notebook and it looks as if there is also an association with Dropbox. If you are curious you may want to visit the site and watch the video now. You can simply publish your notes, which can include pictures, to a basic blog. If you are looking for a lighter footprint and are quite certain you will not be interested in upgrading your blogging experience (future revenue/ads or URL control) maybe you should check postach.io now.

What do I do now?

Checklist items: Starting A K12 Blog make your decision on get started on your blog.

Resources Beyond this Article: your starter list on the basics and beyond for your blog

My hosting company, 1&1, offers a 0.99/mo hosting service, specializing in (easy set-up) WordPress usage (referral link):

Be sure to search for Basic WordPress (WP) and expect to pay around $12/month for the option most teachers would need.
Check out Part Two and Part Three of this series!