I published these weblog “Think-Abouts” a while back in an online class. I think they are worth repeating, especially for those educators who are just beginning to think about creating a weblog.
- THINK ABOUT what you want to do with your weblog.
What kind of weblog do you want to create? What purpose will it serve?
Do you want to create a reflective weblog to blog about your personal teaching experiences or discuss your ideas about teaching in general?
Do you want to present a number of your favorite teaching techniques or ideas for using technology in language learning? Do you have clever ways to teach vocabulary or ideas for using poetry that you want to spotlight?
Maybe you want to create a blog with links to useful learning resources for your students?
Will it be a class weblog to use with a class you are teaching right now? What kinds of information and learning tasks will you provided for your students and what will you ask them to do? Will you focus on one particular skill such as reading or writing? How would you like to involve your students?
These are decisions that need to be made before you start your weblog. To help you make these decisions, in my next post I will post a more detailed list of ways that educators and students can use weblogs.
- THINK ABOUT what you want to name your weblog.
Once you have decided what kind of weblog you want, you w¡ll need to think of a name for it. When you create your weblog, no matter which blogging software you decide to use, you’ll be asked to name your weblog first. You may find it difficult to think of a name on the spot. So, it’s a good idea to come up with a name you like before you start the process. Strive to choose a clever name that somehow reflects the purpose of your weblog.
- THINK ABOUT specific content.
What kind of content do you want to post on your weblog? How much information do you want to include, and how will you organize and present this information. You need to have an overall view and a long term plan on how this weblog will unfold.
There are many aspects to consider. If, for instance, you are using it as a class weblog, how often do you plan to use it with your students? What types of information do you want to include? Will you include assignments, events, announcements, links to resources? Will you assign tasks or publish student writing? How many different types of sections do you want to include, and how will you incorporate use of the weblog into your class schedule?
If you are writing about your teaching experiences in a particular class, do you want to blog daily, or only occasionally? Do you want to focus on everyday activities and how students’ learning evolves over time, or do you want to comment only on special events and activities? Will you focus on student progress, insights you gain while teaching, or on what worked well or not in the classroom?
Will you include photos? Will you invite comments from readers? Will linking to other websites be an important part of your weblog?
- THINK ABOUT your potential readers (your audience) and your own writing voice.
Who will read or use your weblog? Your students? Other teachers? Colleagues in other teaching institutions? Will you seek an international audience? It’s important to keep this audience in mind, both now as you plan your weblog and later when you have it running online. By doing so, you’ll soon become conscious of your own writing voice and writing style.