This blog details the learning journey to complete the Edublogs Teacher Challenge 2011. It is a conversation about being a beginner blogger so it may prove to be a little too self-deprecating at times for some readers!

This blog is about blogging - setting up a brand new blog, making decisions about design and appearance, and learning how to use the Blogger interface as well as the slightly different Edublogs interface. So it will also discuss the decisions made for the design and operation of my professional blog which is Applied Chaos Theory (hosted at Edublogs).

I hope that by journalling about my learning journey in the world of teacher blogging it may provide some small encouragement to other teacher bloggers as they begin their own learning journey in this new collaborative/connected world!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Activity #3 Posts vs Pages

For beginner bloggers, the whole problem of the distinction between posts and pages may not be important if the template you choose has enough space and appropriate design for your needs. However it certainly isn't long before you want to expand your blog and the issue of when to use a post or a page will surface.

Many blogs have a single front page where posts are streamed in reverse date order and one other About page. However, for my professional blog I wanted to do a series of pieces of writing around explaining the choice of name of my blog: Applied Chaos Theory. So I had to figure out how to add a series of individual pages that people could comment on if they chose. I wanted individual pages because I didn't want people to have to scroll up and down a long way in order to follow the series.

The template I am using in Edublogs didnot seem to want to make it easy for me to add pages that included comment fields. My solution was to do some Navigation hocus pocus! I put a new gadget on the right sidebar that gave the pages as individual hyperlinked pages. I also put a hyperlink at the bottom of each piece of writing (on individual pages) which gave the reader the option of moving to the next section (or Lesson - which would be explained if you went for a visit to the blog). What this all means is that I have 3 page options at the top of the template: Home, About, "Why Chaos Theory?" - so it looks like just 3 pages. However, nested behind the third option is a series of other pages which don't have tab navigation but can be arrived at using the sidebar navigation.

I'm sure I could have explained all that a bit better - Mathematics teachers... ha! What does amuse me at times is that many bloggers don't appear to check the navigation of their own blog. I know that sometimes it is difficult to sort out these issues on your own, but leaving your blog in a difficult navigation hole is really not how you attract readers. I am amazed at the number of times that comment fields have been missing (so I couldn't leave a message) or the only way to navigate around a blog is to use the back function in the browser. If we don't make navigation user-friendly then we can't expect to attract a group of regular visitors with whom we can establish connections and build our network of advisors and friends.

The Teacher Challenge lesson around this issue of Posts and Pages has a really useful table explaining the distinctions and uses, so I will include a link here in case needed:  Activity 3 outline link

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