WEEK 9: Two-fer

March 6, 2017

Two lessons in one week, sort of.

You’re getting two easy lessons in one short week, so hear goes.

Part 1: Cleanup on aisle 3

No, really, it’s on your blog. I spent some time this weekend, looking at your blogs so I can post grades. I see many things that I wonder if you see. Here are some things I see:

  • Site Title. That means you haven’t gone into Settings and typed in the title you want to have show up in the header. Do this. And it should be relative to your URL.
  • Landing page. Some of your blogs land on the blog page, and I see your posts in reverse chronology, the newest at the top, the others below. This is the way that’s best. Some of your blogs take me first to a Home page, which I find confusing because visitors will have to click somewhere else to see your posts and they may leave instead. Change this in settings. If you want to keep a static Home page, make sure there is good content on it and an invitation to read your posts.
  • Some of you do not have a tag line, that little added line in your header that is part of your branding, that tells a bit more about what you’re bringing to the game. You don’t have to have a tagline, but it’s clear that those who do are trying harder.
  • Stand-in copy. These days, as opposed to a few years ago when I started my blogs, the themes come equipped with stand-in copy for your first several posts (which I think is kind of pointless). Many of you are clicking “add” to add your new posts, which makes sense, but the stand-in posts are just sitting there, doing nothing for your blog but making it look amateurish. Go to “blog posts” (not add) and click. You should see the list of all posts. Trash the ones that came with the theme.
  • Stand-in widgets. Now, I’m not sure on this because I don’t have any on mine and don’t have access to settings on yours, but there must be a similar way to trash the stand-in widgets. See if you can figure it out and help your classmates delete these.
  • Now, go add some real widgets. This is done by clicking on customizing theme, the widgets, and continuing until you see all the widget options. Try calendar, archives, blogs you follow or others. You can often change how these read; for example, instead of “Contact Me”, you might replace it with “Let me know what you think”. This shows you’ve given time and attention to your blog.
  • Make sure you’ve added your weekly posts. If you’re not finished, catch up. It’s not finished until it’s posted, but make sure you follow the directions of the original assignment and get some feedback for edits before you post.

Spend time this week cleaning up your blog.

twitter-312464_640Part 2: Using the Twitterverse to expand your PLN

Last week I introduced you to Pinterest, a social media app that can be lots of fun and can steal lots of your time before you know it.

This week, I want to talk about another social media app, one you may be more familiar with. Twitter. It can also steal your time if you’re not careful.

You may have a Twitter account or you may not. You may have seen Twitter misused. So have I. I’ve seen students post random thoughts about being hungry, about feeling or not feeling cute at that particular moment, and, unfortunately, I’ve seen accusations, threats and bullying, too. You don’t have to participate in these things. There are good uses for Twitter.

Twitter is a tool to help you develop your own PLN – Personal Learning Network. What would you like to learn? Who would you like to learn from? Who provides information you’d like to have?

First, let’s go over the basics of Twitter.

Your assignment for the week is to begin building your PLN, perhaps with a nod toward your passion project, but don’t limit yourself to that topic only. Is it time to start looking for good post-secondary schools? Check some out and follow some of their accounts. They’ll likely have several: athletics, news, student information and more. Your assignment is to find at least five useful accounts to follow.

By Thursday,

  1. Before Thursday (because we don’t have school Friday), write a blog post describing your Twitterventure and the accounts you found to follow. Write a little paragraph about each of the five accounts you followed, about who they are, their purpose and why you followed them. If you want to do double duty and take care of the Passion Project update too, find a way to tie them together!
  2. Tweet a #FF (Follow Friday) post with the five most interesting accounts you’ve found, tagging those accounts. It will look something like:

#FF learning from new friends: @Geniushour @TIME @WSJ @OKContemporary @TheSkimm

Use your Twitter powers for good instead of evil!

Have a great spring break, and I’ll see you soon!

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