Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
To add another dimension to the blogging world have you ever considered Quadblogging?
This is a great idea originating from David Mitchell a school teacher from Bolton who wanted to increase the interactivity on his students’ classroom blog and engage the children more in writing with a specific audience in mind.
Choosing a group of four classroom blogs each takes a turn at being the focus blog for a week with the other three visiting and commenting on content and posts. The spike in readership for the focus blog encourages students to continue their blogging efforts and has resulted in ongoing interest and further collaboration with new found blog buddies. Quads can include schools from anywhere in the world particularly now with over 1,000 classrooms from 27 countries participating.
The Quadblogging concept has gained momentum with the support of many including Michael Rosen who has promoted Quadblogging through his blog.
And the recently formed Quadblogging Facebook page set up specifically to promote this practice and to spread the word.
How could you use this idea to extend your library blog audience and interaction?
What a great opportunity for your student librarians to take the lead and engaging with other students globally.
The first in a new series of blog posts about school library websites.
Usability is a key contributing factor to the success of your school library's online presence.
The concept of usability focuses on the user experience when they visit your website. Before you launch your site and start creating pages, writing content, and adding images it is important to sit down and do some planning.
Consider the following questions:
In terms of tools to assist you in your planning you need use nothing more than a pen and paper but for those who prefer to do their planning in a more visual, online way you could use a mindmapping tool such as SpiderScribe which Carrie reviewed recently. This allows you to pull pieces of information together and see what it might look like as a framework. Forward planning also assists you in seeing how your web presence might grow and the type of communication that you require e.g. formal, informal.
Once you have a broad outline of your purpose and content areas it is time to think about what tool you will use to create your site a blog, wiki or website. For background reading on the differences in these tools take a look at our page on blogs and wikis.
Firstly it’s important to discuss this with your school Principal and ICT team to find out what the preferred options are and which tools are already being used by staff and students. If there is an existing school website this can provide you with a jumping off point for the library. This is also an opportunity to advocate for the library’s real estate space on the school website as an important extension of your current services for both students and the wider school community. Ensuring the school library’s online presence is easy to locate is vital!
Time is a major factor in the development and ongoing maintenance of any website so consider collaborating with other staff in your school to share the load. Utilise all members of your school library team including the librarian, TLR and your student librarians.
IASL - Creating a web page for your school library
This tool is great for those who wish to incorporate external content into their blog postings in the form of images and links.
Zemanta is a free tool that brings the wider world to your blog. Once you have downloaded the Firefox extension you are all set.
The next time you go to create a new blog post Zemanta will be right there with you sourcing images, related articles and also providing your text with hyperlinks to other content represented in your text. Then all you need to do is click on the Zemanta content you want to include and it will appear within your blog post.
How great is that ? Why not give it a go the next time you want to blog? See this blogging tool in action by viewing the Zemanta in 60 seconds video.
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