Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blogging With Students

Google's recent retraction of a proposed ban on adult content in Blogger (click here for the ABC News report) prompts some deep-thinking for educators about whether Blogger is the best tool for student blogs.  While it will continue to be a viable asset in the suite of Google Apps for Education, it may not be the best tool for young students.  A student or teacher-created Blogger account will obviously not include inappropriate content or any advertising, but it is possible for students to unintentionally navigate to another, possibly questionable, blog, by clicking the "Next Blog." link at the top of the blog page, in the "navibar."
Luckily it is recently possible to remove the navibar.
1. In the edit mode of your blog, click the Layout menu on the left
2. Click Edit, and then click Off to turn off the navibar.

For elementary school I tend to encourage the use of blogging platforms specifically designed for education with younger students.  Kidblog and Edublogs are two such options.  Because of its simple design and more extensive free features, I prefer Kidblog, but both are worth consideration. The comparison chart below may help you choose for yourself.  Both offer more extensive features (such as the abililty to login with a GAFE account or integrate with Google Drive) available through upgraded paid subscriptions.

Free Features

Intended for Education
Privacy options
Post & comment moderations

Use Google Apps for Education accounts to sign up and log in

Unlimited Classes (Organize students in multiple class sections

Write Posts and create pages
Embed videos and HTML

Personalized student themes

Student management

Integration with Google Drive

Student blog storage limit
Class size limit (for moderated classes)