Creating a San José Community Blog
Your Task: You’re educators. You know how it is. Lots of work and no pay— especially under directives by politicians.
In keeping with this theme, the mayor of San José has requested a web blog that documents the uniqueness of San José. Your blog must contain the following:
Text (history, characteristics and other pertinent information about San José or this area)
Audio case oral history
Images of San José or this area
What are Blogs and How Do I Create One?
A Web log or blog is simply a space on the Internet where an individual or community can post thoughts and interact with people. Many blogs grow thematically and focus on topics such as education, music or politics. Some blogs are more personal diaries where people can organize their thoughts. Some blogs are read by thousands of people daily.
Often the person is not identified by name and can write “anonymously.” In environments where teachers have access to the Internet and a computer, they could keep blogs documenting new approaches in the classroom and the concerns and successes associated with this. Other teachers, perhaps part of the same professional development program but located in a different area of the country, could read and comment on their writing, thus adding to a shared body of knowledge.
Blogs are simple to create (Because they are so simple, they can sometimes be frustrating to use because there is a lot you cannot do! …However, given the fact that technology is so overwhelming, less is oftentimes more!)
(Here is my test blog which I “designed” this in about 30 minutes
Getting Started with a Blog
You can create your own blog by visiting http://www.blogger.com/start Select Create a Blog and complete the required fields (Give your blog a name, choose a design template, etc.)
Once you do this you are ready to start publishing the information you gathered
You will basically work across 4 tabs in creating your blog:
Posting: This lets you post new information (text or HTML to your blog)
Settings: Allows you to arrange settings of the blog—limit access, send emails, archive files, create footers, etc.
Template: Choose templates for your blog
View Blog: View your blog as it appears on WWW
To edit your blog, you must go through the main Blogger.com site, NOT your own finished site. To edit your site, click on the Blogger icon at the top left hand portion of the screen.
What you will need for your blog:
Text (information you learned as part of your community research)
1. Text is easy. Just start typing and save what you type.
2. To delete text, go to the Posting tab and delete text.
Adding Digital Photos
You can now upload photos one of two ways:
1. Through Blogger:
Use Blogger Images — the image icon in the post editor's toolbar lets you upload images to your blog(s):
When you click this icon, you'll get a window that allows you to select an image or multiple images from your computer. Just click the "Browse" button to locate the ones you want. Alternatively, you can enter the URL of an image that is already online and have it inserted into your post.
If you click on the link for choosing a layout, you can customize the way your images will appear in your post:
The left, center and right options will determine how the text of your post flows around the pictures. This size option lets you scale the pictures to different sizes within this posting area. Note that the picture will still be uploaded in its full size; this option just determines how it is scaled within the content of your post.
2. Through Hello! (Picasa):
Use Hello (A free online photo sharing software that sends photos directly to your blog. Just choose your photos and click “Send.”
Open Picas on your desktop
Create a log in name and password
In your Friends list, double-click BloggerBot. The BloggerBot tab appears.
From the Blogger menu (Under “Chat with:), select a blog. The chat section displays the currently selected blog. (You may need to enter the URL of your blog.)
File/Open File for Sharing
Choose your photo (You can edit photos by double clicking on them.)
Select Open (You’ll hear a camera shutter sound.)
Enter a caption. (You MUST enter a caption or Picasa will NOT send your photo!)
Click Publish A new browser window appears showing your updated blog.
You can delete photos through “Postings” Tab.
Adding Audio: Podcasts (Time permitting)
Podcasts are digital audio recordings that can be listened to on the WWW and?or downloaded to an MP3 player. You can set up podcasts so that they are automatically downloaded to your computer or from your blog. This is done by creating an RSS (Really Simple Syndication feed). RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content.
Podcasts are a little more complex but we will go through those together (If you get this you will be sooooo cutting edge!! If it seems too complex, feel free to do as much as you are comfortable with.)
To create a podcast, do the following:
1.) Make a folder in My Documents and place all of your audio files here. (Folder should be lower case with no spaces)
2.) Converting your audio recording to an MP3. MP3 files are de facto files for podcasts, so you must first save your audio file as an MP3. To do this, do the following:
Find your audio file
(Very important: If you have created your audio file using the digital recorder, right click the file once and choose “Save as .wav) You do not need to do this if you used the microphone.
Open Audacity (on your desktop)
Hit the “play button” (green arrow). Stop your recording where you want. If you are really ambitious, you can begin to edit your audio file.
Once you are satisfied with the final recording, select File/Export as MP3
3.) Publish your MP3 file to a web site
Paul Shepard, the tech guru here at CDS will help us with this as he needs to give us access to CDS’s server.
Upload your MP3 file to CDS’s server by opening FTP Commander icon on desktop. (FTP is “File Transfer Protocol”, a way to move files between a local computer and the server so they can be accessed on the World Wide Web.)
Paul will lead us through this part.
4.) Create an RSS Feed
RSS is “Real Simple Syndication” and is necessary for your audio recording to become a podcast.
Open Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer and go to: http://www.tdscripts.com/webmaster_utilities/podcast-generator.php
Fill out the form to create an RSS feed (For “enclosure size”, right click once on your MP3 file to get the number of bytes. See example below.
Blog / Website Title
Blog / Website URL
Blog / Website Description
Webmaster email address
Enclosure type (audio/mpeg)
MP3WMA Leave this as is.
Enclosure size (in bytes)
Right click on the file once and change .TXT to .RSS. Don’t change anything else.
Select this when finished with this form.
A new window open up (this is XML), cselect and opy everything except the first line.
Open MS Word and paste this code. Save the file to your desktop (don’t use spaces)
We will upload this file to CDS’s server.
5.) Make a link from your blog to your .rss file
Open your blog. Go to the dashboard. Find your blog and click the green plus sign under “New Post”
Give your podcast a title and paste in the link for your .RSS feed (We’ll walk you through this) e.g. mail.cds.ed.cr/testmary/your folder name/filename.mp3
Save this. Go back to your main blog page. Hit the Refresh button on the browser and it should work.
Congratulations. You are ready for your own web radio show.
Once you get more proficient with podcsating, you can download podcasting clients such as iPodder (iPodder.org) and can sign up for automatic “feeds.” If you have an MP3 player or IPOD, you can use iTunes (www.apple.com) to download podcasts and listen to them on your MP3 player.