Some Free February Appy-ness with a new piece of free software for teachers from Microsoft every day in February. Many of these items are unknown heroes, but they all share two things in common: 1) They are useful for teachers or students and 2) they are free.
Windows Live Writer
At long last, we’ve reached the programme I *love* to use. Windows Live Writer. It’s the most brilliant programme for helping students (and teachers) to blog
Live Writer is a programme that allows you to write blog posts offline, and then upload them onto your blog (and it works with all kinds of different blog platforms, like WordPress, Blogger, Community Server, SharePoint, Live Spaces, Joomla and lots of others).
I’ve noticed that over time, I’m using Word less and less, and Windows Live Writer more and more. I guess it reflects two things:
- Most of the things I write are designed to be published on the web – often on this blog
- I love software that makes it really easy to publish on the web
And that’s where Windows Live Writer comes in. If you, or your students, write for a blog, then read on…
What is Windows Live Writer?
Basically, I think of it as a word processor for blogs. It lets me write an article or blog post, easily add images, links and videos, and then publish it onto my blog. And because it’s an application on my laptop, I can write my blog posts offline, and then when it’s finished I hit publish. When I used to write blog posts directly in the blog website, I’d often accidentally hit the wrong button in my Internet browser, and lose all my work.
Another problem it solves is that of consistent formatting of information on your blog. Often, when editing posts online, I’d paste in a bit of text from somewhere else, I’d find it was published with bizarre fonts and formatting. Live Writer solves that and strips away the kind of formatting you don’t want (like funny fonts) but leaves in the things you do (like bold and italics, and especially hyperlinks).
And it makes it easy to put fancy pictures into your blog posts, because it automatically formats and uploads them – all with one click of the “Publish” button
Where can I find out how to use it?
Without a doubt, the most comprehensive guide, which includes the use of Live Writer in education was produced by Kevin O’Shea at Purdue University, and a close second is the Live Writer guide on the UK Teachers blog.
Ben Rowe, from Saltash.net Community School in Cornwall has also recorded a Windows Live Writer video tutorial starting from the download and showing how to use it.