Sunday, March 30, 2014

Create your own blog!

Creating a great blog takes time and experience.  It is the product of developing a tasteful way to package and relay quality information to visitors. 

Before you create your first blog, you may want to do some online soul searching first.  Consider the following questions: 

  • How many blogs and web sites have you visited in your lifetime?  
  • Are they mostly in one subject area, or across different areas of interest? 
  • Are they about entertainment, education, sports, or news information?  
  • How many of the sites that you frequently visit are trying to sell you something?  
  • How do they make money?  
  • WHY do you keep coming back to them?  
  • Would you and do you recommend, like or share them with your friends?

Now, here is a series of steps that most bloggers follow when and as they create their new blogs:

  1. It makes sense that you choose a subject matter that you're passionate about and that you feel you have some expertise in for your blog.  How else could you be viewed as an authority figure or guru on a particular subject?
  2. Once you've decided what your blog is about, try to come up with a catchy title and slogan/tagline. Remember the logo and slogan that you created using MS Publisher?  You may considering using these images for your blog as well.
  3. Choose a layout/structure/design that feels comfortable and won't make things too busy.

Here are a few YouTube Videos that I recommend for learning how to create a free blog using Blogger:

Here are some key elements that you should incorporate into your blog (and for which you will receive bonus points for) are the following:

  • Catchy title with a slogan or tagline
  • Nice and effective layout (header, content area, sidebar)
  • An attractive contrasting background - whether patterned or tiled image that was uploaded
  • A Search box, preferably near the upper right part of the home page
  • At least 3 posts to your blog
  • These posts must have at least one image (pic), one video and one hyperlink to another site, page or file saved on google drive
  • Posts must show some value-added content - engaging articles or reviews about items or issues in your subject area and consist of at least 2 paragraphs in length 
  • At least 3 pages beneath the header with tabs on the navigation menu bar (sample pages include: blog, about, educational, photos, videos, contact, site map, directions, news, policies, events, etc.) You should have no more than 7 page tabs on your navigation bar.
  • One of your three pages must be a directions page, where you embed an interactive Google Maps onto the page.  (I will show you how to do this in class).
  • A sidebar with at least 3 gadgets (blogger's term for widgets)

Extra credit will be given for embedding a sign-up form from Mailchimp within one of the sidebar gadgets, and/or a site map link at the bottom (within the footer area).

Coming soon! Pay attention to instructional videos which I will add to this post over the coming days.  You can watch them during the Spring break as you spend time to complete and refine your blogs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What makes a great blog?

In this unit, we're trying to separate great blogs from lousy blogs.  

What features do the great blogs have in common?

Similarly, why do the lousy blogs stink?

The only way to answer these questions is to do some exploring on your own, as well as to examine some of the most popular blogs around.  I came up with a list of 10 blogs that you should rank from 1 to 10 (1 being the best, and 10 being the worst).  You should take at least 15 minutes to explore them before passing judgement on them:

Step 1) Below this post, in the comments box for this site, tell us which blog you ranked 1st.  Tell us what 3 features stood out to you that would make you want to re-visit the blog.

Step 2) Tell us which blog you ranked 10th (or last).  Tell us what 3 features really turned you off about it.

Step 3) Can you find a blog in a subject area that interests you, and share it with the rest of the class?  Type in the name or copy and paste the URL in the comment box.

For a list of criteria for evaluating blogs, please click on this link.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Youth at Work student application form

The summer is a great time to gain experience in a field of interest and get a head start up your career path.

Youth At Work is a public-private organization and part of Mayor Toni Harp's Youth Initiative program designed to give high school students in the New Haven area job opportunities for over the summer break.

To find out more about the program, please click on this link.

To apply for a job opportunity, please fill out this application form

Mail your applications to Youth@Work, 165 Church Street 1st Floor, New Haven, CT 06510.

The deadline is April 24th, 2014.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Social Media Presentation Rubric and Self-evaluation form

                                     Social Media Presentation Rubric

Please answer the questions in this presentation self-evaluation form - to do so please click on this link.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Please answer this brief pre-presentation survey

                Please click on this link to answer the survey questions.  


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Survey for Thursday after-school tutoring for this class

I am interested in knowing who would be interested in regularly attending optional, weekly tutorial sessions for this class on Thursday afternoons from 2:45 - 4:00 PM.  

At these tutorial sessions, students would be able to get free assistance with assignments in this class as well as with other computer tech ed topics in a small group setting.

There will be free bus service to take interested students home from school.

For those interested, please respond by sending me an e-mail at

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Social Media Research and Presentation Project

Social media is growing exponentially as a means of promoting business as well as personal interests.  There is a reason that some of these companies are worth tens of billions of dollars.  

Here are some recent social media statistics:

  • Social networking sites now reach over 82% of the world’s online population (1.2 billion users).
  • Social networking accounts for 20% of time spent online.
  • Nearly 1 in every 5 minutes online is spent on social networking sites.
  • Women spend an average of nearly 2 hours (30%) more than men on social networking sites in a month.
  • Social networking is no longer a teenager’s activity – it is spread similarly through all age segments.
  • As of December 2012, 67% of online adults use social networking sites.
  • People age 55 and older represent the fastest-growing age segment in global social networking usage.

Your job for this project is to research and report on one of the Big 5 social media companies and how you would use its web site to promote your business.  You will also do the same for one of the lesser well known social media sites.  

Here is a list of the Big 5 social media sites by monthly active users:

  1. Facebook
  2. Google +
  3. Twitter
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube
Here is a list of some of the other less well-known social media sites that you can choose (any 3) from:

  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • UStream
  • Vimeo
  • Tubemogul
  • Blogger
  • Wordpress
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Squidoo
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Yelp
  • Meetup
  • GoToMeeting
  • Skype
  • ScribD
  • EzineArticles
  • Zimbio
  • PRWeb
  • Technorati
  • HubPages
  • Mailchimp
  • aWeber
  • WuFoo
  • Flickr
  • Feedburner
  • MySpace
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Squarespace

Step 1 -  aggregate information about the two social media sites that you selected into a spreadsheet table.  Check out Alexa page rankings and performance stats from to find out how popular these social media sites are.  Please click on the link to access the spreadsheet.   

Step 2 -  create a Powerpoint presentation telling us:

        A) What your business is about (refer to your logo and slogan)
        B) How you can use 2 of the social media sites you chose 
             to promote your business

        You can team up with a partner to give your presentations, but remember that each 
        member has to report about at least one of the social media sites.
Here is a guide to help you organize and make your presentations in Powerpoint.

To access a rubric with grading criteria for your presentation, please click on this link.