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Open micOK, since we recently started allowing student blogs on Edublogs it’s about time we heard from you exactly how you’d like to use blogs with them!

So, please use the comments below to let us know about creating blogs for your students, managing them once they’re going, aggregating them all into one place and also setting assignments, sharing materials and all that teachin’ stuff.

Also, are there any extra features that you’d like to see which would make using blogs with your students even more cool than it already is (or persuade you to start if you haven’t already done so.)

Please leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments below and we’ll respond with our thoughts too – and see about developing exactly what you want.

Also, take time to check out other peoples suggestions and comment on them too!

About James

James Farmer lives in Melbourne, Australia and spends most of his days chained to a computer while being harassed by tiny pixies insisting that he try to improve edublogs.

47 Comments

  1. Hi, I have used them to get students to write creatively based on their reading of Baghdad Blog. They have to adopt a persona based on someone who does not have a voice in society and then blog as that person. Students then link to the teacher’s blog and are included on the blogroll. This is for the VCE Unit 1 Context technology and communication. It has allowed for some very creative writing and the opportunity to adopt the personal allows them to choose templates, widgets and avatars to best represent that person. Teachers have also created their blogs for this area of study and that has been encouraging for the students as they can all comment on each other’s blogs. Great teamwork!

    • loremipsem
  2. Very cool, are there any features that you’d like to see us at Edublogs develop to help with this kind of activity?

    We’re really interested to hear about how we can improve Edublogs to help you manage and run exciting classes and projects like this.

  3. G’day, One thing I find disappointing but this is a wordpress problem I think, most students love changing their themes every now and then, but if they don’t have administrator rights they can’t do that. Nor can they add widgets unless they have admin rights.

    I’ve now had edublogs and learnerblogs with my students since February this year. We have a class blog and students earn the right to a personal blog after showing internet savvy and a keenness to comment on other people’s blogs. It is going well this way because those who earned the first blogs are now helping the others.

    I haven’t started using forums with the blogs, but students often like running a poll in their blog. Anyway this can be done?

  4. I know I haven’t done well at all on the 31day challenge, but events like that will bring some added perspective and fulfillment for scholastic bloggers, I think.

  5. What happened to my image? :o(

  6. It would be great to have a sidebar that could list the latest 10 posts (or whatever number) that have been published in your class. A “what’s new” in our class blogosphere. I don’t think there is a widget like that currently (or I looked ad couldn’t find it). In any case, a continuing outstanding job on an excellent service.

  7. @Mr-Fisher: You could do this by setting up a group on co-comment (like in the 31 day commenting challenge) and use the co-comment widget in you sidebar. That will show the latest comments on any of your groups posts.

    Cheers,

    TFT

  8. Thanks guys, keep the ideas for stuff we could do better / provide you with flowing!

    Just a quick reminder to everyone leaving a comment, if you want to disccuss other issues the Forums are open: http://edublogs.org/forums

  9. I am also just beginning. I have made use of the Forum, the FAQ, and Edublogger to get me going. But still – have made mistakes. For one, I gave students logins consistent with our school mail : lastnamefirstinitial. That was fine until it came time for me to read 80 comments (one way I have students submit very short pieces is as entries in a forum I have set up – each assignment is a topic). If I had set up students with Core#initials it would have been safer and easier for me to grade!
    Another error was not creating a user/pwd/blog list before I jumped into the new Users & Blogs activity.
    A good idea – I have decided upon the safest “basic setup” and require students to use it. Beyond that, I let them explore. I am using their spaces in two ways: creative posts will go on Pages. The real blogging experience/commenting will be based on a cultural/political topic each wishes to explore/research/think about for the next month. In order for me to keep tabs on these tomes, and for the kids to be able to read each other’s work & comment on it intelligently (required), I have set up a page that functions like a “contents” and that also links to a Feed for each Core’s blogs. I am, as of this am, registered with coComment – so if this makes my life easier, that’s great. But I like the idea of seeing on one page the last 10 posts of everyone in a class – in the long run, I think that will prove easier for me. I can use copy/paste in code mode to breeze through the setup of the feed lists (I know a little html).
    I suppose I could so the same thing to keep a Class feed of Comments – but coComment might be easier – on the other hand, having students do only their blog-thing would be easier for them…
    What are others doing to cover the practicals without spending too much time on setup?
    I would love for edublogs to create very short .pdf how-to’s on the things my students most want to do: putting a picture into a post or page, using the calendar – more coming.

  10. Edublogs,

    My class loves the blog! We have started using the site as a place where student can post responses to specific questions about a story and as a forum for sharing students’ individual responses about their readings.

    I am having a difficult time organizing the students comments. I want to group the students’ comments according to the book they are reading (many novels being read in the classroom at once.) and by the reading strategy they use. Right now I have not figured out how to use tags or categories to group/organize students’ comments. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    -Adam

    • mrschmucker
  11. Thanks Adam, that’s a great question and something we’ll take a look at.

  12. My students and I love using the blog site as a homework site. The students enjoy answering my blog online more than doing any other types of homework assignments. Occasionally I post an extra credit question that is good for points on the next test. The students enjoy that too. I like this site because it is easy to use and very accessable for students. It looks great too!

    • sharpie
  13. Though I’m not a teacher, I am a student, I would really like to see a feature at the edublogs site where you can go to a random blog, I like to read other people’s blogs and I like it when people read my blog. If you put a feature like this into place, there would be a lot more user-interaction.

    Thanks!

    • Chris Dowell
  14. Edublogs,

    I’ve just done my first trial run with our class blog–The results have been great. My students and parents love that they can access homework and helpful teaching sites in one place. My concern is that in a short time I have several pages and posts and would like to save them for next year. I know I can achive them, but my precious 100 K will shortly be eaten up by archives. Any suggestions on how to pull pages and posts for later use.

    -Tyler

    • tcave
  15. It was easy to create the blogs, interesting to manage them!
    My kids’ blogs are just 2 weeks old. They have been introduced to politely & intelligently commenting on a blog (paraphrase the post or previous comments, respectfully agree or disagree, then give your opinion + evidence or reasons). This past week they spent designing their blogs.
    This was a step by step process! I broke directions down into 6 parts:

    1. Pick your theme (must have at least one sidebar).
    2. Change the title and add a quote for your Tagline.
    3. Arrange your sidebars and widgets (I required some, others they could decide on).
    4. Erase the default links in the blogroll and add links to our class blog and class wiki.
    5. Create and upload your avatar.
    6. Erase the default post.

    One management issue: the kids have to learn to log out, otherwise the next student who uses their computer is unknowingly logged in. They’ve left comments accidentally under another kid’s name, and a couple today uploaded their avatars, not realizing they weren’t in their own blog. It’s all a process! We’ll talk about it again next meeting.
    Next week they’ll create their first post on their personal blog and be required to comment on at least 3 other classmates’ posts. If you want to see their newly designed blogs (no posts this week), there are links from their class blog, Beginnings: http://lmsilgunas.edublogs.org. And please pardon my dust, my first posts were just tests, so the kids could see some possibilities, but not really meaningful. We’ll get there!

  16. I set up a heap of student blogs using the advanced create user function on my blog. I didnt want them to have access at all to my blog, so I had to go back and manually remove them all. So, a setting to create multiple blogs that aren’t actually attached to a teacher blog would be good.

    I also just found out today that even though I set myself as administrator when I generated the blogs, the students have the ability to downgrade my access. It would be great if it was set so that if I create them, I cannot be removed.

    One last thing for now – a way to create a RSS feed for all blogs we generate would be awesome. I have 91 blogs to keep track of now – an automatic was of seeing updates would be great!

    Thanks

  17. Hi James
    Many thanks for this vox populi opportunity – and for Edublogs, my number one choice for introducing and enhancing student online learning.
    My current status is that http://alupton.edublogs.org/ has become my personal (although educationally based) blog.
    http://minilegends.edublogs.org/ is now my class blog. Once my framework has completed the rounds of risk assessment (can be found on my personal blog once given the ok) … individual student blogs will be reopened, modified and/or created.
    My requests duplicate many others
    1) The ability for the one administrator (me) to have email notification of new and edited comments, posts and pages made by the students on their own or shared class blog (to be approved for publication) … whilst …
    2) Students have greater control and interaction with their own blogs. This requires a feature that allows the administrator to select student editorial rights eg to change the theme/plugins but not moderate comments see http://codex.wordpress.org/Roles_and_Capabilities
    3) Having greater aggregation within the class community of blogs would be excellent eg if there was a way to bring together in one spot all individual student blog posts regarding their poetry – perhaps tagging could be used … ‘minisT2W2poem’ (class/time-Term2Week2/content) and this is collated on a designated page/subpage of the class blog. For now I’m using GoogleReader to monitor my students’ learning.
    4) Management of curriculum and resources can largely (and effectively) be carried out using the existing hierarchical ability to structure pages in a class blog. Extension of this management could possibly already exist or be built into http://edublogs.org/campus/ – such extensions rightly exist in a premium version. I do, however, present the above three requests for the free version to allow those of us to use Edublogs to maximise authentic learning and minimise the risk. This in turn will encourage others to confidently take the first step. Students and teachers as learners are the ones who benefit.
    Cheers, Al

  18. Great stuff guys, more please :)

    And also, please feel free to comment on each others ideas… we’re all in the same (very customizable) boat.

  19. It would be great if students could respond to each other’s comments on a post.

    Thanks! Love this site!

    ~Kerry

  20. Suz01 – yes, I second your suggestion about having the UR administrator be non-editable. I also want to post again what I read in a post a while ago : it would be great if Nicknames (e.g. initials) could go with all posts, comments, replies… My parents are concerned about safety and this would be a real plus. Please do not consider making it easy to add sound to posts.
    We are moving along – I would say my students are extremely excited about posting, commenting, and cross-referencing. We have had, however, to practice each step.
    One last thing – I would like the Editor permission to allow students to edit their posts in my forum – unless I have made a mistake, this is not happening.
    Thanks!

  21. I work with younger students, so I would only consider giving them their own blogs if there were VERY limited options. Maybe there could be a multi-tiered system – Level 1 could be basic posting and commenting, Level 2 could be limited customization, Level 3 could be customization and some editor rights, etc.

    Also, as with all of the themes available, it would be GREAT to have options built in to easily change the size of text. Our emerging readers (not to mention folks with aging eyes) would thank you heartily!

    • Lisa Fischler
  22. I would like to add a “Hear! Hear!” to Miss W’s post – it would be great if the kids could choose their own theme and add their own widgets. Suz’s idea that the admin who makes the blog retains permanent admin role would allow us to make the kids co-admin and overcome the theme/widget “problem”.

    And we’d love to be able to copy and paste from Word without losing much of the formatting. A text size option would be great (using the heading choices seems to lead to overlapping text in the larger sizes).

  23. I would really like to be able to rearrange blogroll links. I want to have students comment randomly on other blogs in our class. If I could easily rearrange their blogs in my blogroll each week, I could achieve this. Now, they are always listed in alphabetical order. Xanga has something called “blog rings” allows for random comments. I don’t know how Xanga does it, but it would be a great feature to have. At my school, all other teachers justify using Xanga instead of edublogs because of this blog ring feature. I think edublogs are much better for many reasons, but this blog ring kind of feature would make them perfect. Thanks for the opportunity to voice comments!

    • Nat
  24. I think the different tiers for different ages would be perfect. My kids are middle school, and very ready to customize. I’m confused (and maybe I didn’t create my student blogs correctly). I called my kids “Subscribers” and added myself as the co-admin. They can’t change my blog, and on their own blogs they can choose themes and widgets. Is this what I want to do? They have all happily chosen their themes, some have experimented with widgets, and now we’re ready to start content and their first post.

  25. Thanks guys, we’re listening closely

  26. Me again – I see I am not the only one who finds the permission options to be unclear. I read the wordpress explanation I found thorugh the forum here, but it was not really enough info. I need for students to be able to edit their own comments to MY blog. They already are admins on their own (we are 8th graders). I have set them as Editors, which i don’t like because they can change MY posts. Perhaps what I want is not possible? Anyway – I agree with Nate about the blogrings. I have made an “index” page leading to each student’s blog and some have taken the time to cross-link to each other’s. But I have also had to try (not quite working) making RSS feeds to each student blog so that I can track posts. I know there are services that do this, but automating it within one teacher’s user set would be a huge addition for teachers.

  27. James,
    Any chance you will be creating opportunities for threaded conversations o edublogs? I loved that I could get everyone for our upcoming Summer Institute signed up in advance.
    I use the homepage: hvwpsi08 to create a prompt and have participants respond using the comments feature, but then they aren’t able to respond to individual responses.
    I looked at your new forums feature but that doesn’t seem to offer that opportunity.
    It would be great to have this for the summer. Any chance?
    Bonnie K.

    • blk1
  28. I have just found something that would be really helpful. I am using a forum to collect very short writing exercises – these generate as many as 4 “pages” of posts. The next and previous links are essential. Numbers for the pages would be even better! That way my students and I would not have to click through 3 pages to return to the first posts (etc.)

  29. James
    Thank you for this opportunity to comment: I have created six Blogs for some of my young students – some are sharing the Blog by pairs – as administrators, and we would like to embed aparet – from http://www.aparet.com (this one just in my blog) and tools from http://www.classtools.net; we are exploring them in a jottit page, and working on the Moodle platform within our School site, but my students prefer having their own blogs at edublogs.
    I agree with All Upton about: ” if there was a way to bring together in one spot all individual student blog posts regarding their poetry – perhaps tagging could be used …”; but I can’t use coComment or another external link, because they are too young.
    They are looking forward to visiting other young students (10 – 11 years) within the edublogs community, but, for the moment, we are just beginning to build our blogs and it would be great if we could get some pdf as Elizabeth Sky Mc-Ilvain suggested:
    “I would love for edublogs to create very short .pdf how-to’s on the things my students most want to do: putting a picture into a post or page, using the calendar – more coming.” Then I would try to translate them to Portuguese for the kids.
    I would also thank Tilgunas for the tips to organize the work of starting to blog with students.
    Thank you for your support!

    • inpi
  30. I am brand new to edublogs and have my seventh graders blogging to fulfill some of their writing requirements. I would like to echo Al Upton’s comments. In order to give my students the true feel of blogging (which I believe has made all the difference) I have made them administrators along with me. I wish that being the “teacher administrator” would give me approval of posts and pages along with comments.

    Also, I would like it if edublogs could email a newsletter of sorts when it implements changes based on suggestions made by the people who are using blogs in the classroom. This year was a test case for me. I want to incorporate blogging with more classes next year, and of course I would like to be able to avoid some of the mistakes, problems, minor annoyances that I’ve encountered this year. I have not had any students “downgrade” me yet, but I am sure that a few of them, who regularly read the site will figure it out. I only read about it here, in the comments, and am not completely sure how to fix it.

    Lastly, I want to commend edublogs for this site. I was sooooo skeptical of blogging in the classroom: I truly thought that it was gimmicky. The wonder of it is that my kids are now writing in and out of the classroom, on their own, and I have a greater percentage of homework completed when it involves the blogs.

    • genarg
  31. I would also like to see student accounts lose their ability to edit comments. Some of my students are editing the content of comments on their posts which involve politics and sports. So we wind up with Yankee fans having their comments read as if they were Mets fans. You can guess the trouble that arises.

    And Bravo, Chris Dowell, for reading this page and posting a suggestion. I think it is great that you are taking an interest beyond your own blog and I am sure your teacher is very proud. I love your suggestion, too.

    • genarg
  32. One last thing. Is there a place where beginning bloggers can get definitions of terms? For instance, the difference between what an administrator and an editor can do? The difference between a page and a post? That would be extremely helpful for newbies.

    • genarg
  33. i am about to start a master’s level course in which i will require all my students to create and use a blog for the entire semester as a metacognative journal to reflect on their learning in the course. I intend them to all create their reflections blogs and send me the URLs. I will then add links to the their blogs to my blog roll off my course blog. (http://etap687.edublogs.org) So there will be one main course blog that i maintain as my own reflections journal for the course (and to model the activity for them), and the students can then access their own and each others’ blogs from my blog – creating a nice tidy hub for the class blogging component of the course.

    It would be great if that could be technically facilitated in some way so that there could be a “parent” blog established and “child” blogs somehow automatically associated with that parent blog.

  34. Pingback: the 36th response | Alex's reflecting pool

  35. My students, at the end of each week, create a podcast. We’d like to post it directly. Right now, we have to make it into a video, post on youtube, and then upload the video from there. It’d be nice to do it all on the same site.

    • heishman
  36. hey luv it edublogs ROX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :):D

    • eva0072
  37. Is there anyway at all you can set it up so that posts to forums we create can be moderated? That would make it usable for our Sister Class project?

    Larry

  38. Hi Larry,

    We’ll do our best :)

  39. Hi James,

    I would love to have a way to make a post stick to the top of the page. For example, if I had a welcome comment with a couple of notes, that might be something that I would like to have stay at the top of the page no matter how many comments were placed underneath or if there was a homework item that I wanted to keep at the top of the posts so that it was easy to find. I think though that there would have to be something that denoted that this was a sticky item so others would know that the page was still being updated.

    Thanks
    Ian

  40. I would like the same thing that Ian requests…on Blackboard, I can make an announcement that is “permanent”, which makes it stay at the top until I demote it. I’d love to be able to have my welcome post with the class blog “rules” always at the top so that the students see it each time.

    So far, our blogging has been limited to students responding to questions we ask (generally associated with the unit we are working on) in lieu of a journal. It’s been great. When they were required to do the journals in a notebook, most don’t do them and we can’t keep up until we go to grade the journals…a long lag time. This way, we can keep up with who is/is not posting and keep them from getting too far behind. They also like reading each other’s thoughts, which improves the quality of responses. Now, if I can just get them to use proper English…;)
    Thanks for this great site. I look forward to having more and better usage of it next year.
    Sherry

    • smsiska
  41. I’d love it if edublogs provided a in-build mp3 player – so that students and me as a teacher could post an audio file and we could just post onto the blog adn we just needed to click on the PLAY button to have it played….

    • thiagoedu
  42. Thnaks again for the ideas guys, and thiagoedu… we already have just that :)

  43. All of these ideas I have ready about regarding blogging sound very interesting. I am very new to this technology and really like the possibility of setting up a blog for my classes; it is such a great way to get students to be involved in discussions without having to participate in class, as well as Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to start a class blog?

    • amyj18
  44. ITS AWSOME THANKS.

    • csitek4vishnu

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