Maintenance Mode – Hiding your school website while it’s under construction

Are you the teacher responsible for your school’s website? Perhaps you have a classroom blog.

Either way, there will be times that you’re trying out new things on your site that you don’t want the rest of the world to see. Here are some scenarios:

  • You’re flipping through a few new themes and layouts and you don’t want visitors to see the “rough” drafts.
  • You’re creating a school website, but it can’t go “live” until you have your principal’s approval.
  • Things have gone wrong and you need to temporarily “close” the site until the problem is fixed.

We’re working on our school website (using a self-hosted WordPress blog to create the site) and we need a blank splash page so that visitors can’t see the real site until it’s ready.

Maintenance Mode is a neat little WordPress plugin that does the trick.

  • It allows you to throw up a customizable splash page so that when people try to visit your website, they see a little message saying the site is under construction. (If you know HTML, you can change the message to say anything you want.)
  • If you are logged into your account (there’s a little administration link in the bottom right corner) and try to visit your site, you’ll see the actual site. (If you’re not logged in, you see the splash page.)

Once your plugin is installed (which can be done easily if you’re using plugin-central), you can turn the maintenance mode page on or off with the click of a button.

Bottom Line: So, if you are creating your school site as a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can use this plugin to hide your site until you’re ready to officially launch it.

4 Extra Things That You Can Do With a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (that you can’t do with a Free WordPress blog)

We’re writing our ebook with step-by-step instructios on how to make a school website or classroom blog and quickly remembering why we like self-hosted WordPress blogs so much.

Lots of teachers start their classroom blogs using a free WordPress blog or Edublogs account. And quite frankly, that’s the right place to start:

  • It’s free.
  • There’s a lot of support. (Edublogs is an entire community of educators blogging on their edu-blogs.)
  • It’s simple. You don’t need to be a technical whiz-kid.

For many classroom teachers, the free blogs will meet all of their needs. Most people never go beyond this stage. (Heck, most teachers never get online!)

But, for some of us, it’s not enough. We want more. We see what other people are doing with their blogs and we want the unlimited freedom that comes with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

You see, while WordPress.com and Edublogs.org offer great products, you’re limited to a watered-down version of the WordPress software. You’re not getting all the bells and whistles because you can’t install any new themes or plugins.

When is the right time to transfer your classroom blog from a free WordPress account to a self-hosted WordPress account? It’s when your imagination exceeds the options provided by the free blog account.

A self-hosted WordPress blog is not for everybody, but here are a few of the features that you can’t get with a Free WordPress Account or Edublogs Account:

  1. Infinetely Expandable through Plugins and Themes
  2. Translate your School Website or Class Blog into Different Languages
  3. Better Page Navigation
  4. Easier to Move Pages Around (Change the Page Order)

Continue reading “4 Extra Things That You Can Do With a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (that you can’t do with a Free WordPress blog)”

Blogging in the Classroom

Blogs (weblogs) are a great social media tool to communicate with the world, publish your work, and to interact with people around the world. According to Technorati.com (which is the Google of blogs), there are currently over 112.8 million blogs in the world today.

A blog is like your own personal soapbox from which you can shout your message out into the world. You can blog about anything: your cats, your life, or your hobbies. However, the best part about blogging is that if you generate interesting content, you can attract people who want to read your stuff. It’s the ultimate in self-publishing.

So, it makes sense that teachers are exploring ways to safely bring blogging into the classroom. Publishing work online in a blog gives students an authentic reason for writing. Continue reading “Blogging in the Classroom”