Globaloria Guide to Blogging

Part 1: Setting Up

For more help, visit the Blogger YouTube Channel

Setting up your Google Reader:

For other help, visit the Google Reader YouTube Channel
or take the tour!

Part 2: What is blogging?

Blog (n): A web-based publishing platform for personal expression. Popular providers of this platform include: Blogger, Wordpress, and Typepad.

Blogging (v): An intellectual, literary and social interaction that takes place on the above platforms. Blogging is a defining component of Web 2.0, or the age of "social media".

Web 2.0 (n/v/adj): An Internet generation founded on communication, information sharing, and collaboration. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, and, of course, blogs.

(Matthew Hurst has made a wonderful graphic that shows us how a small post from an individual blogger disseminates through a complex and dynamic world of information.

Like never before in history, the literary arts have become social. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for educators to leverage social media to inspire their students to want to read and write.

Part 3: What are the Benefits of Blogging?

  • Blogging helps to articulate and organize thoughts and information.
  • Blogging creates a forum for conversation with others interested in the same topics.
    • Your ideas are expanded and "vetted" in the knowledge communities that you join or form around your blog.
    • Fosters "knowledge collaboration", the exchange of ideas and a reciprocal method of writing.
  • Blogs are informal, a place to cultivate your "personal voice"
    • Blogging offers an expressive space for the passions and investments of an individual.
    • Insofar as blogs are such dynamic platforms of expression, they are motivational tool for writing.
    • Writing with frequency (at every quality level) makes you a better reader and writer.
  • Blogging transcends literary hierarchy & authority, empowering students to trust their voice, and speak it loudly!
Part 4: Good Blogs vs. Bad Blogs

Not all blogs are created equal. There is a difference between "good blogs" and "bad blogs".

Let's start with what makes a "bad blog":

1. It is basically a public diary.
  • The author presents a monologue not a dialogue.
    • Ex: "Last weekend I watched TV and hung out with my dad. I was angry at him for changing the channel to sports."
    • This is a "bad" post because a commenter can't engage with the ideas here, it does not stimulate discussion or spark debate.
2. It is "underutilized" as a medium.
  • The author uses only one form of media in their blog: either all text, all pictures, all videos and so on.
3. It is never (or very seldom) updated
  • Why would a reader keep checking in on your blog if they're unlikely to find anything new to comment on?
4. There is no point of view.
  • The blog author touches on this-and-that, here-and-there, without making their purpose clear. It's like reading a book without a cover, a book blurb, or a table of contents. What is the perspective of the author? If you can't tell, you won't want to invest your time in finding out.
5. There is no "information commerce".
  • The blogosphere is a kind of economy where the "currency" is links. Hyperlinking text to other sites is a way to make your information rich, and give a wealth of attention to other bloggers or websites. Think of it like poetry, where each word is maximized.
  • When you write a post, ask yourself: Is this poor or rich?


    Poor Post:
    I don't like Spring.

    Better Post:
    April is the cruelest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roo
    ts with spring rain.

    Rich Post:
    April is the cruelest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring

    The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot

    With all the "bad blog" qualities in mind, a "good blog":

    1) Is updated often, at least two or three times a week.
    2) Utilizes hyperlinks to "enrich" its information.
    3) Has a point of view.
    4) Is multimedia (text, graphics, photos, videos, etc.)

    Part 5: Blogging with Globaloria

    Every student blog with Globaloria will be utilized for two primary purposes:
    1) Design Journal:
    • Students can reflect on the process of making games.
    • Stipulate their struggles with and triumphs over technical problems.
    • A personal account of their experiences with Globaloria...not too personal though! Remember that a blogs can be personal, but it is not a diary.

    2) Game Topic:
    • Students read and write about the "social change" or educational topic they choose to design their game about.
      • This encourages students to think critically about the narrative content of their game
      • They will choose a game topic they can write with passion about (ex. environment, nutrition, activism, etc.)--reinforces the preferred "topical" nature of their games
      • Gives them a launching pad for more reading, writing and thinking.

    Remember: Blogs are about "social writing", that is, community building, so be sure they add each others' blogs to their Google Reader so that they can keep up with and comment on their peers' writing.

    Final Key Points:

    Reading and writing are skills that reinforce one another. The same holds with blogging. Bloggers with Globaloria are strongly encouraged to follow a handful of blogs that relate to your game topic, technology or other school-appropriate subjects. Add these blogs to your reader and stay engaged with them while you author your own blog.

    Along the right hand side of this Blogging guide, I have brought together a number of links that you may want to explore (links on blogs are called "blogrolls"). You can add these links to your own reader and blogroll, or look at their blogrolls to find an appropriate blog that you have a real interest in keeping up with! There is a lot of information out there to keep you excited and engaged about your topic to keep your blog active.
I strongly recommend you visit this PBS article with recommended access sites to the larger blogosphere. It is also linked to in my blogroll under the "Specific Articles/Pages" header.

I will be using the Globaloria account on Tumblr to create a "flow" of useful and interesting links that you may find useful for generating content. Please check this often!

Finally: To help yourself and your students navigate the blogosphere, please rely on "Blogged" ( a directory of high-quality, active blogs, organized by category--here is a link to their Social Issues Directory), Educational Blog Resources and School Blogging Links as resources. You can also find these links near the top of my blogroll.

Happy Blogging!