Which Blog Provider?

Discussion in 'High School' started by ku_alum, May 31, 2008.

  1. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 31, 2008

    Anyone using blogs with their high school students? I use Edublogs to maintain my class website but I haven't explored the blogging component. There are specialized blog sites for the classroom that provide uber-security and ease but I can't decide which to use ... any input from anyone on the following: Classblogmeister, 21Classes, ePals

    THANKS!
     
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  3. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jun 1, 2008

    At my school, we were trained on classblogmeister.com but as a math teacher I didn't even try to implement it. Some of the writing teachers in my school did use it and had positive comments. As I change to different content classes next year, I am looking at using a blog and will be interested to see some suggestions, too!
     
  4. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    Jun 1, 2008

    I'm thinking about implementing blogs, so I'm really interested to hear about your experiences with them! Sometimes I love this forum so much!
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 1, 2008

    Well, as the OP, I've been doing some research on the blogs I listed ... I liked the look of 21 classes best (and it seems to have Will Richardson's stamp of approval) but the free version only allows for 50 students, a monthly fee is required for more students. The fee was low, but I kept looking. Classblogmeister seems extra safe and students don't need an email address to get started. Our students have school issued email addresses, but I know some schools do not. Epals has a lot of other services beyond blogging, including safe email.

    HOWEVER, after doing all of this research ... I think I am going to create a site in Edublogs with me as the administrator. I use edublogs for my class website. I've started a separate one. I will add posts and students will respond. They will not log in to the blog to post ... they will simply comment on my blog post. And, as the blog grows, they can comment on student's comments, too. I guess I wouldn't officially call this student blogging since the students don't have a blog site of their own they are authoring, but it's a starting point.

    My class website is the place that I house documents, class announcements, etc ... I didn't want to clutter it with student's comments, too.
     
  6. crzymtngirl75

    crzymtngirl75 Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2008

    I am also exploring the idea of a classroom website. Is a classroom blog the same type of idea?

    I am definitely going to check out the sites you all posted about. A colleague of mine has Moodle for his classes. Does anyone have any experience with that one?
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 5, 2008

    crazymtngirl75,

    If you want to PM me, I will give you the addresses of the 3 websites that I author. One is what I call my class website, one will be my student blogging site, one is a site that highlights and describes free technologies for the classroom (I co-author this one).

    If you like the looks of them, I have created a manual on how to get started using edublogs. However, the manual was written in January and edublogs has underwent an upgrade so I need to make the according changes to my manual. I plan to do this within the next day or two.
     
  8. crzymtngirl75

    crzymtngirl75 Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2008

    ku_alum, yes! That would be incredibly awesome! I will PM you...
     
  9. OrangeBlossum

    OrangeBlossum Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2008

    We use Moodle at our HS and I really like it. A ton of capabilities... however, loading documents can be slow the first time you use it.

    I really adding forums, but the kids usually do not participate much unless there are points involved. I teach at a school that got the "Classroom's for the Future" grant, so it has been amazing implementing all of the technology this year.

    Anyhow, back to Moodle. All of my students register for it. I put daily notes & ppts up on it for general use. Also, I have linked map games, other websites of general interest, etc. I try to have forum "topical" discussions. For example, we examined the BBC's partitioning of Kashmir and then the students had to post on the forums which partition plan they thought would work best and benefit the most people.

    I haven't blogged much. Does that seem to be successful?
     
  10. crzymtngirl75

    crzymtngirl75 Rookie

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    Thanks for the info on Moodle! It does sound like it would fit the bill.

    I have been looking around and I just can't seem to make a decision. EPals seems pretty awesome - the students can be matched with another classroom from anywhere in the world, there are collaborative projects, etc.

    Yikes! How to make that final decision? Especially for a new teacher - never used anything like this in the classroom before.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 7, 2008

    ku_alum, I'm going to PM you too.

    OrangeBlossum, can you tell me more about Moodle and how it works?
     
  12. OrangeBlossum

    OrangeBlossum Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2008

    Sure.

    Lets see... my page is divided by the four units I teach. Under each unit, I put a forum for discussion and I am going tto have at least one in class discussion (we just got the tech this year, so I only managed for two forum discussions this semester). I also have assignments in chronological order. All of the powerpoints used in class.
    Then, I have a map section... with links to online map games (which wow... there are some GREAT ones) and then I have the blank outline handouts I give in class so they can print and use those to study from as well.
    A section for our month/unit calendars with HW readings, topics and due dates.
    Globalization section with info/extensions from class. Mainly these are links.
    And, then a final section with information for our final project, which is a Global Summit.

    It is neat, because on the sides, I put pictures of relevant class subjects, which I change with each unit. Right now I have Mao, a Darfur cartoon, WEstern Wall photo, and an India/Pak picture. But, it is easy to open and close these, so I put new pics and new skins up with each unit.

    One capibility I LOVE is being able to see what the users look at. Many kids were on this last week because I opened all units so they could study for the final exam. I can see which items they looked at to help them study.

    The only thing I really don't like is the skins. Our tech admin has only added 10 or so skins, so mostly everyone in our school who has a Moodle page has little room for creative looking sites. I change the skin with each unit... ie have a metallic looking skin for the IR. I wish there were more options, but the school likes the uniformity so the kids won't have difficulty using it. I think the kids would love variety, but what do I know? :whistle:

    Anyhow.... I think the students really like having a page.. for many reasons. I really like being able to say to an absent kid: Look on Moodle, at the end of the ppt on Israel, email me those questions for points. Soooo easy.

    Sorry I rambled. Hope this helps.
     
  13. kmays

    kmays Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I have used both Moodle and Edublogs. As OrangeBlossom said, I don't really like the skins on Moodle. It has some great capabilities, and is very easy for the students to use, it just doesn't look very good. I used it more for a research project where the students uploaded their papers one step at a time.

    Edublogs, on the other hand, looks great, and is also easy to use. I used it with my classes for book discussions where I took the entire class to the library, gave them a few discussion questions, and let them type their responses. I would post photographs related to the book, and they were talk about it with each other through the blog. The one thing I REALLY don't like about Edublogs is that when students start posting at the same time, it overloads the system, and their posts don't go through. That meant that my students had to remember to copy their posts before submitting or else retype them (which was quite frustrating for them and myself). It can also take a while to load, but that may be just my network.

    Overall, I would say both are worth using for different reasons.
     
  14. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I'm interested in starting a blog, too. Would anyone be willing to PM me with your blog address so I can take a look? Thanks!
     

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