How to Analyze Your Blog – What’s Working and What Isn’t?

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In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

Student authors need to blog about their books – well before publication. As independent authors, they need to build their readership through their own marketing. Blogs are a free and relatively easy way to do this. My students have been blogging for a few weeks. Here is a sample of what they have been saying:

John photoJohn Diorio contrasts a required high school curriculum with one that is more open and inspiring in The Curriculum.

Sarah photoSarah Patafio discusses the creative effect of writing in The Indefinite Existence.

Jen photoJen Schwartz provides hope for cancer patients by previewing her book in A Cure for Cancer Is Not My Goal? (Book Preview).

Siqiao photoSiqiao Mu explains how she named her blog that examines the dichotomy of art and science in Why India Yellow?

Alexandra photoAlexandra DiGiacomo shows how sharks are threatened in Shark Threats Special.

 

Wordpress Stats show blog traffic and its sources

WordPress Stats show blog traffic and its sources

As a blogger, I want to know some things about my blog’s readers. How many people are reading my blog? How are they finding out about it? Of the things I am doing, what’s working, and what’s not? The answers to these questions provide data that I can analyze to see if my blogging is effective or not. The way to get this information is from an analytical tool provided by your web service or by Google Analytics. I use WordPress’ “Stats” that are on my “Dashboard” options. These stats are in bar chart format, and by clicking on the bars, I can get more details about each day’s blog readers, including how they found my blog. For example, if I shared my blog post on Twitter, I can see how many people clicked on the link in Twitter and visited my blog. This type of information helps me see how effective sharing my posts is.

Next week, my post will discuss how to coach students to provide high quality content on their blogs.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

Why Teach Science Students to Write and Publish Books?

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Science Students in ProgramsAs a science and engineering teacher, promoting STEM education, why would I want to teach students how to write and publish a book? Don’t I have enough to do in mentoring them in STEM activities? Well, yes, and in the photo here are some of the groups I have mentored in the past several years. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer in the whole person concept – students are not just interested in STEM, or in literature, or in art, but most are interested in all these subjects to some degree.

Our education system is also getting away from strict specialization and moving more toward a holistic education. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) promote literacy in science, combining the concepts of scientific knowledge with the ability to communicate. One of my sons is going to attend Boston University’s engineering school this fall, and they have trademarked the idea of the “Societal Engineer,” advocating that engineers have a wider focus than just the technical problem at hand. For all these reasons, teaching science students to clearly communicate their science research through a book seemed very appropriate. Given my recent experience in self publishing a book, I knew I could mentor them through the process.

How did the students react when I approached them with the idea for this project? They were excited and eager to begin! I asked them to focus on a target audience as one of the first steps, and they came up with a very diverse set – one is appealing to children, another to cancer patients and their friends and families, another to school administrators, and a couple of them to fellow students, but each with a different message. We will work together so that the students can mutually share ideas and get feedback. I will be writing along with them to document our experience and provide a comprehensive guide to other teachers who would like to do the same type of project.

Next month, I will be blogging about the realities and challenges of publishing a book and what I am doing to shepherd my students through the process so that they can get right to work without wasting time figuring out which of the myriad of options to choose. For the general schedule we are following, go to https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com/project-schedule/.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.