Getting them started

bloggingGetting student blogs started needs to be carefully planned. Are they going to have individual blogs? Group blogs? A class blog? How much time do you have to monitor the blog posts? What do you want them to put on their blogs? Which platform are you going to use?

Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs and Tumblr all have platforms which you can use in class. Edublogs is specifically set up for schools. The free version has ads and is limited but there is a strong edublogs community and the paid version supports class blogs. Blogger is good for beginners, is easy to manipulate and modify , has good support and you can sign in with your Google ID. Tumblr operates differently and a lot of students are already familiar with it but it has its limitations. WordPress is very comprehensive and offers good support and the blogs look very professional. I currently use Blogger and WordPress myself and have used Tumblr and Edublogs. For my senior students I chose WordPress. It has taken time and patience to set them up but because my year 11s carry their blogs into year 12 it is well worth the effort. For me, it would be a good use of the end of the year to set student blogs up when you know you will be teaching them the following year or you know students will be using blogs the following year . They need time to get used to the platform and you really do have to work one on one with some of them to make sure they understand what they are doing. I have even worked across languages because it has been easier for the international students to operate their dashboard in German while they are setting up their blogs. Know your platform and know what you will teach them each lesson. Then be sure to monitor once a week at least. Partly because you will love what you see, partly because you can assess the work and partly to keep them safe. With safety in mind, we do not identify ourselves or exactly where we come from, nor do we put up pictures of ourselves and people we know. It is all third party preferred.  Done properly, blogging provides a natural setting for having sensible conversations about online safety.

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