Blogshop Facilitator Tips

The BlogShop you've been looking at, Getting Started with Blogging in Education, has been built from contributions around the world, beginning with Trevor Ettenborough's original WebQuest and is being used to introduce educators to blogging in Education.

We're dedicated to providing this resource under a Creative Commons license because we believe this information should be free so that educators can keep up-to-date and educate the next generation - irrespective of the organisation they belong to.

For this reason we thought it might be useful to start some tips for using this Blogshop in your organisation or institution to help your fellow educators discover blogging in education. If you use the Blogshop yourself, please update/modify/add-to these tips with your own reflections and ideas!

The two-hour face-to-face workshop

Getting Started with Blogging in Education is designed to be used as part of a 2 hour face-to-face workshop (but that's up to you!). The following notes may help you prepare and facilitate a similar workshop in your organisation.


Google email group

Try setting up a Google email group about 5 days before the workshop, adding all the participants. You can then send an email to the group welcoming everyone and asking them to reply, introduce themselves and perhaps outline their own experience with technology in education (if any!).

This has generally worked well, giving people the chance to experience the simplicity of an email group as well as get to know a bit about me and each other before the day.

A simple blog

On the morning of the workshop, I send out one final email directing people to a blog post about Wikipedia. (I just keep reusing the same blog for each workshop -

This introduces people to Wikipedia which is usually the focus of an introductory discussion when the workshop begins (talking about how the Internet has now become a read-write medium - where anyone can publish information).

You can also setup this blog so that during the workshop you can add quickly include links to everyones blog (using the free Bloglines service - more instructions to come on this one).

Classroom setup

A lab environment with around 15 computers with internet connections is all that's required. Although I find it immensely helpful to use a data projector so we can discuss/demonstrate some things together during the workshop.

The workshop itself


An intro discussion asking people whether they found any useful information on Wikipedia from their own area of expertise (see Preparation above). Also ask, how can the people at Wikipedia possibly write so many articles (over 4x the number of articles in the 2004 version of Encylopedia Britannica).

I usually then post a second (pre-prepared draft) short post on the blog about email groups (as everyone has been using them for the past few days) and get everyone to add a comment to this post - showing how easy it is to 'write' on the internet! This usually takes 10mins or so, after which I post a third (pre-prepared) blurb with a link to this workshop, outlining our focus - getting everyone to leave today with their own website that they can update.

The four steps of the tutorial

In the space of two hours, I generally find that we don't quite make it to step 4: How might blogs be used in education, but we do come together to talk about some ideas and implications. I usually try to show a quick video before wrapping up (see Blogging in Education for some links).

Similarly, I don't try to get people using Bloglines or any other tools, but simply focus on using a blog in a way that will hopefully be beneficial (reflections on class). I do demonstrate Bloglines as a news reader, showing that it's not time-consuming to read a whole class of blogs, but only briefly and as an aside.

Finishing up

Most people are interested in changing the Timezone setting on their blog, and adding their email address so that they are automatically emailed when someone comments on their blog. This is useful if you plan on commenting on peoples blogs after the workshop.

Post-workshop contact

I generally try to send a concluding email to the group a few days after the workshop. This usually has a few links to some of the things that we used in class. I also try to comment on peoples blogs for a bit of interaction.