How do teachers facilitate student collaboration on the web while satisfying concerns for student safety? How do IT Directors support teachers and students while maintaining an online environment that is in accordance with school policy? If I had that answer, and it worked in everyone’s eyes, I would have the most sought after post in the education blogosphere. There are some solutions such as Moodle and a closed Google Apps environment. This post, however, is dedicated to a blogging solution you may not be aware of. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email. You can also follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and discover a world of free/rich resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Now… about a blogging solution for classroom teachers and their students! – Mike
Imagine a blog hosting service that was built for classroom teachers and their students. Contemplate a service that was designed specifically for teachers who want to provide each student with his or her own unique blog. Think about a blog site that allows teachers to monitor and control all publishing activity within the classroom blogging community and does not require student email accounts. Reflect on a blog development team led by a facilitator who has 18 years of combined web development and classroom teaching experience. If this pondering of thoughts appeals to your left brain, while freeing all the possibilities that your right brain generates for classroom engaging activities, then a visit to Kidblog is essential! Kidblog claims that it is kid safe. I have included Kidblog’s own words below!
“Kidblog’s advanced privacy features put safety first:
- Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and student accounts.
- Your students’ blogs are private by default – viewable only by classmates and the teacher.
- For “semi-public” blogs, set up guest (e.g. parent) accounts that require a password to view students’ posts/comments.
- Comment privacy settings block unsolicited comments from outside sources.
- Kidblog does not collect any personal information from teachers or students.”
Furthermore, Kidblog promotes the idea of keeping your students’ focus on things that are important in their learning. In order to accomplish this, Kidblog emphasizes no advertising of any kind, a simple login menu, clutter-free design, and central blog directory with simple navigation. These screenshots provide an example of how simple, yet powerful, the user interface for students, teachers, and administrators is. You may also wish to check out these news stories that describe how several teachers are using Kidblog. Kidblog, based in Minneapolis, MN, states, “that it is dedicated to providing a powerful, safe, simple service without the configuration headaches and distracting elements of traditional blogging platforms”. The Kidblog team claims that; “Kidblog offers an amazing opportunity for teachers and students around the world to realize the full potential of blogging with their classrooms”. Once you have researched your school’s web use policy you may just want to get started and set up a free account today.
Thanks for joining me on another quest for 21st Century educational resources. If you find these posts helpful please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email. You can also follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and discover a world of free/rich resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!. As always any comments you supply are appreciated! Coming soon… a new post about a service that promotes some great uses for cell phones both in and outside of the classroom! Have a great week and hope to see both you and your students somewhere in the blogosphere! – Mike
24 responses to “Kidblog: Kids Blogging…Teacher Supervision… And It’s Free!”
I started using kidblog in January. I used with one teacher and the rest of the teachers in that grade level set up their own and started with no help. It is a great tool. The students love it. Tools such as kidblog help us to give our students relevant assignments without overloading the teachers with training. I love kidblog!
Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy hearing educator’s past experience with a site or application. It is great to hear that Kidblog not only delivers as promised but also requires little training. Those kind of resources are valuable. Please continue to return to the blog so that all of us can continue to learn from you. I am interested in any other free resources you have found useful along with your continued experience with Kidblog. Have a wonderful week!
Thanks – Mike
This does look good, I have very easily set up a class.
Am I right in thinking that blog posts can’t be tagged or am I missing something?
Thanks for the comment. I am glad it was an easy set up. I am not sure on the tags but if someone does know the answer please leave a reply. It may actually be part of the simplicity. I hope it is useful to you and please let me know how it all works out! I am sure your students will enjoy publishing their work and interacting with each other on-line. Have a wonderful week and again thank you! – Mike
I’ve been using edublogs for over a year – but for a quick and easy, no-fuss blog, kidblog is exceptional!
Thanks for the the feedback. It is important to not just inform people about new tools, but to also hear from people like you who can give testimony as to a product’s usefulness in the classroom. Thank you for sharing with all of us the success you have found. Please continue to come back to this Blog, I look forward to hearing from you in the future! Have a wonderful week! – Mike
Mike, thanks for this info. When I get to school this morning the first thing I am going to do is see if KIDBLOG.ORG is blocked. If it is (which is likely in my district) I am going to use your post here and some points @wmchamberlain made to get it unblocked. Now is the time of the year to try something new and hopefully do it well, so I can continue all year next year. Again thanks. -Ted
Thanks for the reply back. I sure hope you can use Kidblog and if it is blocked it may help in getting the tide going the other way. When you get a chance, please share with us the points that you used from @wmchamberlain. I will say that all the feedback I have gotten about Kidblog has been very positive. Please let me know how your quest for student blogging comes along! Again thanks and please continue to visit! Have a great week! – Mike
I usually don’t petition blogs, but kidblog gets up my ire — as it is essentially a copy of our site ClassChatter.com. Competition is good, but they even co-opted the language used to describe their service. I would love to see a independent comparison of our two sites.
Thanks for making me aware of ClassChatter.com! Had a quick chance to look over the site and I would love the opportunity to do a write up and share with others. Some very cool features including the set up of different types of blog posts. Thanks for sharing a wonderful site and a great contribution to all educators and students. Again thank you – Mike
Thanks for taking the time to look at ClassChatter.com. I do want to apologize for the tone of my last comment. The world needs more educational technology and ed tech developers not less. I welcome any new options for teachers who might have a hard time finding the right fit for them.
I really would love to second the points made by this post. I have had great success in setting up two class blogs recently on kidblog and the students in my year 6 have loved it. The experiences has really liberated the children in the class. The safe sharing environment and inter-class communication has really gone down well with the children and parents alike. It has meant the children’s learning is now accelerating, as the boundaries and structure of traditional school are disappearing. I have only praise for such a great site and I would highly recommend it to any educator looking to get their students into the blogging scene. Also the guys at Kidblog are extremely supportive with any queries, requires and tweaks. Thanks for highlighting such a good site with your post. God bless Simon Smith
Sorry I am so slow on the come back! Just got back from ISTE! First I appreciate your kind words and awesome reflection! It is always nice to hear from one who has had the experience you have with an application! You point out the benefits in student blogging which I feel teachers across the nation and world should be aware of. The success you have had with the safe sharing environment along with giving students inter-class communication is to be commended! I love the fact that you have also had great parent feedback! There is no doubt that children producing authentic writing for a real audience has a great affect on learning! Thanks for leading this effort toward transforming education. Your efforts greatly benefit your students and the teaching community! Please continue to return and share this blog and wiki with others! Again thanks! – Mike
I really like the look of kidblog – I love its simplicity and ease of use for the students. My young students can use it (this age 13 requirement for so many sites is tiresome).
Will it last? Can I set up classes knowing that the resource will remain in existance and remain free?
I hope to have my students blogging when school resumes in September. I’m wondering what you know about the ‘legalities’ of a Canadian school using a website based in Minneapolis?
First, thanks for the reply. I wish you the best as you start a new school year and also facilitate student blogging. I am not sure if there is any rules based on country boundaries. I always suggest that teachers check with their local administration and school Acceptable Use Policy before having students publish on-line. There could be local rules in your own school that need to be clarified. Please continue to return and I wish you the very best! – Mike
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So glad the link could help educators out with facilitating student blogging! – Mike
Pingback: Michael Gorman took time to review Kidblog.org on his education technology blog. He spotlights features that are particularly valuable to teachers. Take a look at what he has to say, then give Kidblog a try for yourself! | Kidblog
Great to hear from the people at Kidblog! – Mike
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Thanks for sharing! – Mike
Hello. I am a first-grade teacher in Maryland and currently enrolled in a graduate program to study educational technology. I enjoyed reading your review of Kidblog. Here is a link to my website, where I share how I used Kidblog with my students.
Thanks so much for sharing a practical way for using Kidblog! Please continue to return!