Thursday, August 21

#3 (WEEK 2) Create your own blog & avatar, then post about it

Now that you’ve done some exploring around this website and understand how this program will work, it’s time to set up your very own personal blog to begin recording your thoughts, discoveries, and exercises.

First though, here's a quick introduction to what blogs are all about. A video titled: "Blogs in Plain English"

For the Tassie Toolbox program, you may use any one of several free online blog hosting services including Blogger, Wordpress, Edublog, or Typepad.

Which to choose? Blogger is the easiest to set up, but least flexible, while Wordpress (and edublogs, which is run on wordpress software) is the most flexible, but has a steeper learning curve. I mostly use Blogger (because I'm lazy), but have a couple of wordpress blogs too (because I'm curious) .

Grab yourself a blog in 3 steps:

1. Create an account. Google asks you for an email address - this becomes your username.

  • You do not need a Gmail account, you can use your regular email address.
  • Remember to write down your Username and Password.

2. Name your blog. Remember that the whole web world can see your blog title and blog address so you may not want to use your real name. The URL for your blog will look like these examples

The format is: when you use software.

Note: There is no www in the address when using software. Please remember your URL address, bookmark it, or keep a notebook with your URLs, passwords, and special notes.

3. Select your template. Blogger (and other blog services) have several templates - have fun choosing one for you! If you run into problems, check out Blogger's Help pages and Tutorial. Remember that this is “discovery learning” and that you will have a series of mini problem solving exercises along the way – depending on your level of web 2.0 experience to date. Each time you find a solution, you will rejoice and be that much more tech savvy! Enjoy.

Discovery Exercises:

1. Set up a blog for yourself through Blogger. (or Wordpress, Edublog, or Typepad.)

2. Play around and add a test post or two.

3. Write a post about your best and worst habits from the 71/2 habits slideshow you watched for thing #2. You will create a discovery post for each of the ’23 Things.’

Please clearly label each entry in your blog in the following way: WEEK 1, Exercise or Thing #1, subject. For example, your first post could have the title: WEEK1, Exercise #1 - first post.

Each of your posts should provide insights into what you’ve discovered and learned. Feel free to share what worked for you … and what didn’t … what surprised you … what frustrated you … what amazed you. For example: Your ‘Thing 2’ post will talk about which habit among the 7 and 1/2 lifelong learning habits is easiest and which is hardest for you & why. TIP: This is a good time to "bookmark" your blog for easy access throughout the course.

4. Create an avatar -- a representation of yourself. You can upload a digital photo or go to , design an avatar representing you or a younger version of yourself. You will have to set up an account if you don't use Yahoo. Save your avatar and export to your blog. Personally, I'd love to see a digital photo - my poor collandar like memory is having real difficulty putting faces to names, so a little picture on each of your blogs would make my life sooo much easier.

HINT: Here's how to export your avatar to a Blogger blog:

  1. When you are on your page, go to "home" tab and look to the right column.
  2. One of the options is: "EXPORT: Use your avatar in web pages and blogs and more." Click there.
  3. In the Center of the page, 0ne option is your avatar's HTML code. Copy the code.
  4. Go to your blog and sign in.
  5. When you first sign in, there is an option to add a post OR manage posts, settings, or layout; Go to "LAYOUT. where you will see various page elements.
  6. Paste (Control V) the HTML code in the PAGE ELEMENT marked "HTML/Java Script."
  7. Move that PAGE ELEMENT to wherever you want your avatar to appear on your blog.
Each blog application: blogger, wordpress, edublog, typepad, and so on has a unique method of exporting avatars and other images onto your pages. Be sure to use the ‘help’ menu within your application to work your way through any problems you run into. You can also call on your 2.o friends to help – just ask!

Another way of adding an avatar is explained on The Technically Challenged's Guide to Blogger.

These exercises are all about discovery! Have fun … and happy blogging!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: How you choose to identity yourself on your blog is up to you. You can blog under a screen name, anonymously, or with your real name.

Technorati tags: blogging, Blogger

Training ideas:

  1. Idea #1: Lead your students or trainees into areas of ‘big idea’ inquiry with a blog. You can get thoughts rolling, provide research links, and finish up with group discussions. For example you could create a blog for highlighting industry or political issues which impact on their work. Hint: If you're using their comments and/or blog posts for assessment this rubric for Assessing Reflective Writing could be handy.
  2. Idea #2: Start a book discussion blog -- this is a library and language arts favorite. Start one today and then branch out into other topics such as pro/con topics of interest.
  3. Idea #3: Promote training activities, conduct student/trainee surveys, and gather opinions about your training organisation.
  4. Idea #4: Use the blog to distribute notes and assignments.

[Note: Please remember to include WEEK# and Thing# in your heading posts.]


Fiona Watts said...

Peter you left out the instruction (add gadget). I got there in the end.

Anyone4coffee said...

Thanks Fiona! I thought peter was just trying to make us work hard!!Though it's amazing what you find when you have to search!

Anyone4coffee said...

Though Fiona did you work out how to get blue eyes and long legs? Kinga

Anyone4coffee said...

Peter! I am truly stuck! I have created my blog on blogspot and avatar. Now how do i let you know what it is and where you can check it out! Do I have to invite you in?Kinga

botheredbybees said...

Thanks for the feedback - I'm not really trying to make you work hard (but I am lazy). To let me know where your blog is all you need to do is copy the address from the browser's address bar. So for this blog it is:

botheredbybees said...

Another way you can get an avatar happening is by associating your registration email with a global avatar (gravitar). You can do this on Please note that your blogging software needs to be set up to use the gravitar (blogger is not, but wordpress blogs can be)