good resources on blogging with students

Let’s talk about blogging with SharePoint… [Post 1/3].

I have started using 21classes for student blogging. It has some features that I really like. If you have seen it before,
take another look, it is now much better than when I first saw it.

Things I like about 21Classes:

  • Good privacy settings
  • Easy to use – less features than some blog tools but what is there is easy for students
  • No student email required
  • Simple account creation
  • Some customization allowed
  • Allows some HTML, including embedding images and videos
  • All student blogs are connected through the teacher’s blog
  • Teacher’s blog is “portal to classroom blog community”
  • It is easy for student to find and comment on one anothers’ blogs

Things I don’t like about 21 Classes:

  • Lack of features
  • Not as attractive as some
  • Free accounts only get 2 megs of storage

What to do with a Blog

July 25, 2008

Blogs have great potential as tools in the educational process.

A blog is an easy to edit web pages that contain personal commentaries on issues or subjects the author chooses. Readers can post replies to the author’s original comment. Blogs started when early web surfers would keep a web log of interesting sites and is evolving into a new genre.

What to do with a Blog

Arranged by who post the blog entry and who is allowed to comment.

Teacher post, no comments

  • Electronic newsletter
  • List assignments
  • Keep a journal of your professional learning
  • Share teaching ideas
  • Communicate with parents

Teacher post, student comments **probably the easiest way to get students blogging**

  • Post writing prompts for students to respond to
  • Have students read an article or view content and then react in writing
  • Have students express opinions and provide evidence
  • Students comment on class activities and what they learned from them
  • Point of view – teacher posts scenario or situation and then students comment based on predetermined point of view (historical figures, cultural group or literature characters)

Students post, teacher comments

  • Students keep a journal of their learning
  • Showcase exemplary work
  • Become and expert and show growth in content knowledge

Students post, student or public comments

  • Create a literature circle where students take turns posting and commenting
  • Students publish persuasive writing and invite feedback
  • Students engage in conversation around a topic, comments provide feedback and resources that help the readers and authors better understand the topic.

Resources for Blogging

July 22, 2008

The following website can be used to promote educational use of blogs and blogging. Carefully select resources for teachers to explore. The Support Blogging link below is a good starting place for the beginner.

How to blog links:

Pedegogical considerations:

Example Educational Blogs:

Steps to starting with blogs

  1. Think through commenting and posting. Three big decisions are:
    1. Who will post?
    2. Who will read?
    3. Who will comment?
  2. Prepare and deliver lessons as appropriate on online safety, personal information, ethics and netiquette
  3. Post link to or your blog on your website
  4. Set up teacher account with 21classes
    1. Select theme and layout
    2. Set access Permissions to private or public
    3. Set Comments appropriately
  5. Add students using ePals or other email account
    1. Define Authors and Readers
  6. Create student blogs if necessary
    1. Teacher is administrator
    2. Student is Author
    3. Set appropriate access levels
    4. Set Comments appropriately
  7. Distribute Usernames and Passwords. Usernames and passwords will be in students’ email inbox
  8. Students are ready to log in and get started
  9. Students can access each others blogs through the drop down menu on community portal. add each other’s blogs to their Reading List under the Dashboard. This allows quick access to each other’s blogs once they are logged in to blogger.
  10. Continually monitor student writing.

Edublogs for Blogging

June 5, 2008

Edublogs ( is my recommendation for teacher and student blogging. It meets the standards put forth here and here. not anymore, now using 21 classesedublogs

This is a free service! It allows teachers to create blogs for students quite easily, although email accounts are needed. They do offer a nice work around for this using a gmail trick. Teachers create their own account and then make accounts for students. Teachers have the option make theirselves as administrator of student accounts, which I like as it will ensure inappropriate content can be removed as needed. Unfortunately entire blogs cannot be kept private, but each post can be made private. There is a bit of advertising on the sites, but not to an intrusive degree.

The tool itself is incredibly powerful. It is built on WordPress, which is a well known professional blogging platform.