So having set up our own wordpress blogs we were now assigned the group task of reviewing other blogging platforms for educational purposes. We were divided into three groups and were each given a different blogging platform to review. They were 21 Classes, Weebly and Kidblog.
This blog allows a teacher to set up their own blog and then add students to the blog. Students are able to post their work to the blog or make comments however the teacher has control over what work gets published to the blog. This is a good feature of this blog as in a classroom setting it is very important for the teacher to remain in control at all times. As well as controlling what is published on the teachers blog the teacher can also access the students blogs and block any content they feel is not appropriate. The teacher can also sent students a warning. This blogging platform seems to be a safe
Teachers can also block and access his/her students blog at any time. This is an excellent feature as it confirms the safety of the student and his/her online antics. Teachers are able to access exactly what a student has written, and as the administrator can choose whether what the student has written will stay online or will be deleted. Student accounts can also be deleted at any time, or given an online warning which the teacher can set up. This is a very private, and safe form of blogging. The students have virtually no power to mess on this blogging platform.
While this platform seems to be very safety conscious there were a number of difficulties with it. The default settings for the student blogs are difficult to work through in order to be linked to the teachers blog which is not ideal.
In conclusion, this blogging platform is difficult to use, it is not free, it is not student friendly and is also very time consuming. The safety features mean that student cannot step out of line however with all the negatives this blogging platform gets the thumbs down!
Weebly is another blogging platform that allows the teacher to set up a classroom blog which the students can submit work to. This site appeared to be much easier to use and more student friendly. Having heard the group reviewing it talk so highly of it I actually went and set up my own weebly website which I am currently working on. I am adding English resources and lesson ideas and tips to it with the end goal of having all of my own English resources easily available to me and others online. It is still a work in progress however as soon as it has a more finished appearance to it I will publish it for all to see. It was very easy to set up and to build the website as are the teacher/student blogs. It has a very simple click and drag toolbar that allows you to insert text, images, slideshows, maps, search box, files, links to social networks and so on.
Weebly is very easy to use and is much more student friendly. Weebly gets a big thumbs up.
Kidblog was our groups blogging platform review. Alan set himself up as a teacher on the site and set the remaining members of the group up as students. He used our email addresses to set us up. We did not receive an email to let us know we had been set up as a student. When I went to set up my own class as a teacher I was not able to because my email was already in use as a student. I was able to post a blog onto the site without any review by Alan which I assume was down to the particular settings he had in place. The site seems to be fairly basic and quite similar to wordpress. There did not appear to be any advertising on the site which I think is a good thing for a classroom blog.
Basic, easy to use as a student.
No email notifications when teacher posts to the site.
This blogging platforms was a bit dull and not as safe as others appeared to be. For these reasons we gave kidblog a thumbs down.