Considerations of Access
Before a teacher begins a classroom blog they must consider the access students will have to the blog platform. It is important to know and assess each student’s familiarity with web-based technologies and their ability to access these technologies in after school hours. It is also important for the teacher to be aware of the school district’s policies regarding use of web-based technologies in the classroom. Additionally, it can become necessary to secure parental consent and allow access to modify content their child shares through the blogging platform.
Questions to be considered before implementing a class blog:
- Does each student have access to a computer and/or internet access in the home?
- Will the teacher reserve time periodically in the school computer lab?
- Are students encouraged/required to work on their blogs from home? If so, does the school district offer after school computer hours for students that might not have access at home?
Safety etc. when creating a more personal blog, including e-portfolios:
- Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want a family member, potential date, or employer to see. If you absolutely can’t resist, use whatever privacy settings are available. Most major social networks allow you to control your privacy settings to some degree, but also be aware that this isn’t foolproof.
- The best way to avoid being mocked or ridiculed, on the internet, is to not provide ammunition against yourself.
- Avoid oversharing. Every minor detail of your life is not the rest of the internet’s business.
Setting up the Classroom Blog
A 3-Step Procedure Guide for teachers
Choose the blog platform that’s right for your class
There are several blogging platforms that are designed just for kids or with classroom use in mind. When using blogs in the classroom it is important to consider requiring moderation as a feature and involving parental consent on the content students desire to share.
The following list includes both popular blogging platforms and platforms that are specially designed for kids.
Blogger: Blogger is a Google application. It is a free platform. Blogger allows posting of adult content, but the content will be marked as adult and all blogs marked as adult will be placed behind an ‘adult content’ warning interstitial. Can be set up so that the parent has to approve all posts before they are made public and/ or moderate any comments. This is especially useful in blogging for kids under 13.
WordPress: popular platform, easy to use, and free. WordPress powers blog platforms designed for education and classroom use. Can be set up so that the parent has to approve all posts before they are made public and/ or moderate any comments. This is especially useful in blogging for kids under 13.
Edublogs: powered by WordPress. Edublogs is the largest education blogging platform on the web. EASY BLOGGING FOR EDUCATION-safe and packed with features. Student Management Tools: Invite or create a student account; Moderate Content: Approve all student posts and comments; Privacy Control: options to make blogs private or public; Private Comments: leave private comments on student writing; Organize students in groups and lists; Activity Reports: Monitor progress with detailed user reports. This platform would work well with the lesson plans described in this project.
CampusPress: Not Free. CampusPress provides a fully customizable WordPress platform, just like Edublogs, for your entire school, district, college or university. Create and run thousands of WordPress sites, and keep complete control over privacy, users, and content.
Tumblr: Tumblr is one of the trendy blog platforms; students might already know how to use it. Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything. Might be too much unrestricted access for the classroom setting with younger students.
kidzworld: Safe, fully moderated kids social network. Since 2001 Kidzworld has been a safe haven for kids to enjoy, explore and learn from the world wide web. Today Kidzworld is the largest independent kids’ website in the world. The only drawback is that there is so many arcade games and learning activities that kids could easily be distracted if the only classroom goal is blogging.
kidblog.org: is a good alternative to kidzworld or edublogs. It is simply a blog platform for kids that is safe and can be used effectively as a classroom management tool by the teacher. However not free: 30 day free-rial/ $36 per year per teacher. This platform would work exceptionally well with the lesson plans described in this project as kidblog.org like readwritethink.org adapts lesson plans to the common core standards.
Zawilinski, L. (2009). HOT blogging: a framework for blogging to promote higher order thinking. The Reading Teacher 62(8), pp.650-661. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.8.3