This guide will cover a small portion of setting up and using a blog site for free through the Edublogs.org website. There are many advanced options and tweaks available to a blogger, but we only have a limited amount of time to create and learn to use our own. Since Edublogs.org and Learnerblogs.org are using the WordPress blog engine, this workshop will use the name WordPress whether specifically speaking of WordPress, Edublogs, or Learnerblogs directly.

Web Browser
You browser is the software you use to view web pages. For a long time, Internet Explorer was the standard used by most computer users. While it still works fairly well on Windows, it is no longer maintained for the Macintosh. A very good alternative to both computer platforms (Mac and Windows) is the FireFox web browser. To get full use of all features on most blogs, it is suggested that the user download and use the free FireFox web browser. (Download at http://www.mozilla.com) Safari is a wonderful browser, but there have been a number of blog features with Edublogs that are unavailable if you are using Safari.

Edublogs.org
This training is using the free subscription to edublogs.org. It is based on the WordPress blog engine, but had been customized for educators. You only need to give them a working email address and create an account to get started. Go to http://edublogs.org, select ‘Join’ or ‘Get a blog now’, and click to create a new account.

First, you will need to create your username. This has to be unique and will be the username that your students will see with your posts and comments. Use and email address that you can check now. You can always change that address later. You will select ‘Create your blog’ and then click Next. Some users only wish to have a ‘Just username’ so they can leave comments on other blogs, but they don’t wish to maintain their own.
(Some ideas passed around mention that you can have your community of users each create their own username without having to create a blog. It is one way to protect the blog from unwanted users by allowing only invited usernames registered with Edublogs.)

Next, you need to create your domain (website address) name. It can be different from your user name or it can be the same. It must however be a unique name within the edublog system. The name you choose will be the first part of the website address your students or parents will enter to access your blog. “Hot Teacher” probably wouldn’t go over well with the principal, so choose wisely. Second, you will give your blog a title. This will be the name shown at the top of your browser’s window and does not have to be unique. One can limit random visitors by keeping the blog private and not listing your blog with search engines. Checking that box could cause problems if you want parents or others to see your work. Lastly, select ‘Teacher’ as your blog type.

Activate the account by clicking ‘Signup’. You will get an email that will give you a link to follow. The resulting email will give you your password needed to administer the blog. Do not loose the password. Do not give it to students. Do not pass ‘Go’ or collect $200.

Check your email now.

Setup Notes For Your Records:
Email address used: _______________________________________

Domain used (###.edublogs.org) : ____________________________

Username used: _______________________________

As soon as you check your email, you will have a randomly-generated password to access your ‘dashboard’. Only you have access to the dashboard since it is the main ‘control center’. There are two ways to get into your dashboard. The first is after you login, you enter the dashboard automatically. The second, and easier, way is to use the ‘Site Admin’ link on your blog home page listed under your Meta links. The Meta links are one of the widgets provided by Edublogs. If you remove this widget when you choose to customize your blog, you will lose the easy access to your dashboard.

Your dashboard will have a number of sections to amaze and confuse you. We’re going to start by looking at two of the links in this section; Update Your Profile and Write a Post.

Update Your Profile
The first thing we’ll do is change our password. Clicking ‘Update your profile’ lets us personalize the blog user settings. That link also shows you your contact info in case you want to change the contact email address later. Anything you put in your profile could be seen by visitors. You can change your password at the very bottom. After making any changes to your profile, click ‘Update Profile’ at the very bottom of the page.

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