Tuesday’s Tool: WordPress

This is the year. This is the year you finally start that blog you’ve always talked about writing. Well, or maybe you’ll at least consider managing a blog or possibly setting up your own space online. The tool you should consider for doing this is WordPress.

First, you should know that there are actually two kinds of WordPress. The first is a hosted blogging community of twenty-five million or so blogs. The second is the open source software you can download for free and host your own WordPress site and/or blog.

At WordPress.com, once can create, write, and manage a blog using one of the internet’s most popular blogging tools for free. Being part of the WordPress community of bloggers, it is easy to network with other bloggers with a similar purpose. This can be especially¬†important when looking for outside input. Also available is the ability to add links and various widgets to the side, top, and bottom regions. Finally, a WordPress blog, unlike many other services, provides the option to add additional pages. This is where you can put policies, contact information, or any other content meant to be more static than blogs typically allow.

Head on over to WordPress.org and you’ll find a community of users looking to improve the open source softerware that powers WordPress blogs. Download the software and host your own site, customizing it as you see fit. eMINTS is currently undergoing a makeover where we will be using this software for site design and management. In fact, the blog you are reading right now is created using this software.

If you’re not sure about joining the WordPress community or hosting your own site, there is an option specifically made for educators. Edublogs is a community similar to WordPress.com, but it exclusively features educator and classroom blogs. There are options to run a blog for free, pay for premium services, and even an option for entire schools, districts, or colleges. It basically gives you the option of using a great tool like WordPress without the worry of an unfiltered audience.

Any of these WordPress options provide a significant amount of choice for teachers. One can add several contributors or authors, limit who can see the blog, and moderate comments in a fashion that works for anyone. There are many themes out there form which to choose that are all largely customizable. The possibilities are endless with a WordPress blog.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start blogging on WordPress!

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.