saudixpat’s Weblog

September 11, 2008

Ramblings on Establishing a Blog and Other Stuff…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Expat in Saudi @ 6:52 pm

As I searched for a blog host, I began to diary my experiences and thoughts. It was interesting to see how I went from almost point form sentences to an open ended thread about my search. A blog is not an essay, so I haven’t really gone in to edit or anything. All I am going to do is select all and copy from the Word document I created. I hope you enjoy my train(wreck) of thoughts….

Finding a blog    google searched – using terms like best blog sites best blog hosting what is the best place to host a blog


Then went for some I know people use – – proprietory and you have to go through the whole checklist and installation process <NOTE – the link turned out to be to WordPress.ORG>


Technorati dot com – initially thought this was a blog hosting site, then found it was a blog aggregator – collating blog info and posts from lots of communities


Blogspot – is where post secret hosts their site – so why not? Then remembered I have a blog already on blogspot…can I find it again after not using it for over two years? Tried – said I needed a google gmail username. Has Google penetrated that far into webdom? Is it now to the Web what Microsoft was to the PC?


Blogspot continued – found a way to use my old log in, fairly easy – put in the wrong user name (used an email addy) and then finally searched my email messages to see if I had it stored – which I did. Gotta love yahoo mail, which has been my main mail for the past  12 years J In the end, I decided that it would not be too cool to use a three year old blog for this course. So, I created a new one, as you will see below J


Looked at Nucleus – it seemed interesting, but again, it is blog tools like WordPress (dot org) which need to be hosted somewhere. I supposed I could run this or WordPress on my website, but that is managed via a friend in the UK who gave me a great deal on webspace. I might try later, but for now I just want a space where I log in, type, and post…<sigh> are there that few out there or am I using the wrong search terms?


Eureka – I refound my blog on, which interestingly enough, when posting my blogs, is , but blogspot dot com when I go to view it. Hmmm…


On with the search! Did you know there are 5,800,000 (FIVE MILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND!)  education blog sites? Type in education blog sites and find out for yourself  J


There are some out there – classblogmeister and netkushi dot com are two mentioned on the first site I looked at, but the site itself – is another aggregator. Back to google (there’s that word again!) search…(do you know that MS Word already knows to capitalize Google? LOL too funny.


Then I went here but realized that like my rediscovered blog, this is hosted on blogspot.


I am going to try searching for edublog – I think I have heard that name come up from my tech director…


http // edublogs dot org – is the site – free sign up, lots of safety features for students, easy to upload mixed media – video, podcasts, etc… this is a UK based site, but usable anywhere. Teachers and students post their feedback and ideas. So far it seems very well received. If I didn’t have Blackboard myself (I administer my class), then I would look at this, and might for a future class setup.


On an inspiration I typed in iblog – and found that there is indeed a Mac blogging client, as well as iblog being “the premiere blogging site in South Africa – Get your free blog now!”. That was at  Hmmm…exploring….


Typed in free blog posting and up popped WordPress again – seems they DO have free hosting. I just was on the wrong page of the site. Strange, but who knows what the web brings. It is often like a beach after the storm – all kinds of strange things washed up.


I am now on which is another free site. It, like so many others, is ad based, but free. It looks ok, but not too appealing to me. The search continues…


Then I went here and found it was trying to sell stuff or send you to relinked things…not very cool at all. Boring and sad, actually.


After a time away, I checked out Ning at I might be I might be using Ning for the Flat Earth Project which I have applied for. It is a different type of social community – sharing some similarities to Facebook groups, but doesn’t seem as up-to-the-moment-this-is-what-I’m-doig-right-now-in-my-life kind of thing. I could be wrong and will let you know if I am.


I have made my decision. I went with WordPress. Part of the reason for this? Well, I live in Saudi Arabia. If I used blogspot, my email is posted right on the blog, meaning that I m traceable through cyberspace. If I say too many things that Saudi authorities don’t like, it is (oh yes, it is) very possible that they might be a tad angry at me and want to teach me a lesson, such as throwing me out of the country after a nice spell in a Saudi jail. Unlike the West, jails in Saudi are not meant for rehabilitation (they have religious ways to do that), but strictly for punishment. I have no wish to ever experience the inside of one for any reason.


I could have gone with Edublog, but as we will be discussing other things, I thought that WordPress might be a more generic, less edu-centric place to post these things. So, khalas (in Arabic, khalas means that it is done, over, there is nothing more that can be done, final, ended, wrapped up, move on), I am with WordPress right now. Welcome to my blog!


Mandatory Discussion Added Here –>       What are the implications for teaching and learning using blogs? I began using blogs with my Website Design and Management class last year. They were on our Blackboard network, which is shared with international schools in the Near East South Asia area. I  was able to monitor postings and then open the blogs for feedback comments. Students took it seriously and engaged in some critical thinking about web accessibility and what it meant to focus on web design. At first they were into aesthetics of the site – how it looked, etc. After exploring the tools available to a web developer to enhance access for the disabled, their comments changed and they became advocates for making sure accessibility was coded in. It was interesting to see the community develop and initial thoughts firm up.


This year I am planning to create wikis with my tech 7/8 class for them to research and post on HTML tags, CSS, and other web matters. I have some students who are really keen and for whom the light comes on right away. They will really push and stimulate the others in a way that a teacher or adult supervisor can’t. Peer interaction is a powerful thing!


Students respond to blogs and wikis in a different way than to formal writing assignments. They are more involved in the ideas, I found, then the mechanics of writing. That is fine for me – I teach technology, not English. 


Anyways, it is now almost 10 pm and I have to be up at 5 am to get ready to go look for sharks teeth in the desert. Wish me luck!


1 Comment »

  1. Hi Bruce,
    Wow, you sure went to town when checking out blogging host sites. Your reason for choosing wordpress is something that thankfully I don’t have to think about as a Canadian educator – the blog police? Do they really have time to monitor, what did you say, 5,800,000 educational blogging sites?

    Thanks for explaining technorati. This is a word that I keep coming across but haven’t checked out for myself yet.


    Comment by Jo-Anne — September 16, 2008 @ 12:25 am | Reply

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