Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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Blogging by Francis O’ Toole NCGE NEWS Autumn 2009
‘Blog’ is an abbreviated version of ‘weblog’, which is a term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. As adults we use blogs everyday to find a particular topic, such as web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. And others are more like personal journals, presenting the author’s daily life and thoughts. Even Barack Obama used blogging to get his message across in the American election campaign

Time for Blogging to Begin

Francis O’ Toole works as a guidance counsellor in Loreto Secondary School, St. Michael’s,Navan and was inspired to get involved in ‘blogging’, as a result of observing the keen interest shown by his students who have their own personal blogs with Bebo, Facebook and other social networkingsites.

We need to speak their language I thought and

hence, I set up my own blog site called I have created this interactive website for
my guidance class. Students can leave comments, tips or impressions about the site or a specific article. Posting comments is one of the most exciting features of blogs. The blog page can be updated instantly from any Internet connection on any computer anywhere in the world. The greatest thing about blogging is that one does not have to be a computer expert. It’s really easy. I maintain that if you can send an email, you will be able to set up a blog.

I found the best way to understand blogging is by looking at other blogs. Blogging is like a conversation with other bloggers and you need to get into the habit of looking at other related sites to help make your own interesting. It’s all great fun. It took me only a few hours to set up my blog page. Now it takes only minutes to add new posts or links.

It is a great way to share your career news, insights and the passion for your profession.

More than 70,000 new blogs are created each day. Millions of posts are added each week, some for a laugh, for fun, to do business or to generate great ideas. I would encourage all guidance counsellors to get blogging and share your experience and wealth of information. This is a great way to communicate with students, parents, teachers and the wider community. Since I began blogging two years ago over seventy thousand users are recorded on my site.

Looking to the future, I hope my site will continue to develop and be of interest. The great thing abut a blog is your information is not just for your pupils, you can help many others. I would hope to set up a network with other guidance counsellors. This is an opportunity for guidance counsellors to blog each other about our experience in guidance and counselling, our philosophies and our methodologies.

NCGE NEWS Autumn 2009

Post Primary What is a ‘blog’? continued

Francis O’ Toole’s 6 Tips to start Blogging

1. A blogroll is a list, sometimes categorized, of links to webpages the author of a blog finds worthwhile or interesting. The links in a blogroll

are usually to other blogs with similar interests. The blogroll is often in a ‘sidebar’ on the page or featured as a dedicated separate web page. On my blogroll you will find


subject choice curriculum vitae career profile videos job profile (FAS) PLC courses Qualifax universities

Career related videos

Now students can find all these important career links without having to surf the net and get lost. This is a great way to enable students to research their own career choices with confidence.

2. Title and Tag Line The title will tell a story in itself and indicate what the site is all about. You will also be able to give a tag line under the title to help add a little more clarity and focus to the topic of your blog. This will be important for major search engines. Try out google search engine and type in careersireland and you get my blogpage.

3. Posts A blog’s entries are called posts. The most recent posts are displayed on the front page. They can be short and sweet or as long as you want. I have often repeated important information in class

but some students fail to tune in. Now I post what I see as important messages ranging from tips for subject choice, tips on forms and grants, the points system, deferring a course, Garda clearance. You can add your own graphics to make the site more attractive for students.

4. Managing Comments One of the most exciting features of blogging tools are the comments. This highly interactive feature allows users to comment upon article posts, link to your posts and comment on and recommend them to others;
a great way to evaluate your work and get feedback from students. I email all our fifth and sixth year students with career information every week but I also find this public site a great method of getting information out to parents.

5. Comment Moderation is a feature which allows the website owner and author to monitor and control the comments on the different article posts, and can help in tackling comment spam. Students are great to give comments. They may agree or offer new suggestions about career information. Allowing comments on your blog is

a sign that you’re open to discussion on careers. The great thing about the blogger is that you can always remove, edit, or revise comments if necessary or even turn off the commenting feature for individual posts.

6. About Page This is where the blogger will give information about themselves. The more attractive the information the better. Above all you want to show that the information on your web site is genuine, professional and contains a clear message about careers.

To visit Francis O’Toole’s guidance blog see

More information about schools that blog can be found at CLICK to


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