Announcing NEW Unlimited Student Blogs, Better Class Management, and More!

 

We are thrilled to announce some big changes and improvements to Edublogs!

Our focus this summer is to raise the bar in what we offer so that we continue to be the best blogging, ePortolio, and class website service for teachers and students around the world.

To help us reach this goal, we start by bringing you…

Unlimited Student Blogs!

Previously, each Pro account could only enable extra features on up to 50 student blogs. But we know many teachers can have well over 100 students at any given time.

Student blogs will be able to access premium themes, use our new iOS mobile app, embed videos and other code, and the full range of privacy options.

In addition, students will be able to fully manage the look and feel of their blogs, but won’t be able to change the privacy and moderation settings you set for them.

The NEW ‘My Class’ Feature

This is the big one. Now that you can have unlimited students on Edublogs, you need a good way to manage them all!

You will find a new ‘My Class’ menu item near the top of your blog’s dashboard.

From here you can manage the privacy and moderation settings on all student blogs, get a list of pending comments and posts, and more.

As soon as a student blog is added to a class, it will automatically have the extra features enabled as discussed above.

This is just the first launch – so expect improvements and additions in the coming months!

Better Help & Support

You’ll find a brand new ‘Help & Support‘ menu item in your dashboard with quick links to our user guides and support posts.

There’s also an easier to find link for our Pro users to email questions directly to our support staff.

New Theme Customizer

Go to Appearance > Themes and check out the new ‘Customize‘ link.

From here you can quickly edit the look and feel of your blog’s title, background, and custom images and see how it looks live in real time. This addition is just plain fun to play with :)

And Tons More…

There are lots of other new features and changes you may notice. For example:

  • An improved and simplified image and media uploader
  • A fresh new look to the dashboard and top admin bar
  • Flyout menus that keep the menu items nice and neat
  • Better usability on tablets and mobile devices (no app needed!)
  • An improved ‘Inactive Widgets‘ area to save widgets and so widgets don’t get lost when changing themes
  • Embed tweets into any post by just pasting in the link
  • Behind the scenes changes to improve speed

All of this is available now on Edublogs.org and will be coming soon to our Edublogs Campus networks.

Leave a comment below or contact us with any feedback or questions you may have.

Happy blogging!

Unveiling Wikis, Maps, Easy Blogging, a New Look, and More!

If you’ve logged into the dashboard of your blog in the last few days, then you probably have already noticed – but we just rolled out many exciting new features!

Plus, we’re just 11,000 10,000 blogs short of the 1 million we need to keep all blogs advertisement free forever!

It’s just too much to share all in one post, but here is a quick overview of some of what is new:

1. A new dashboard look

This will be the first thing you notice if you haven’t already. Everything is still in a familiar location, but the look and feel is a bit more polished.

As you explore the made over dashboard, you will find several improvements such as better search for themes, easier ways to sort posts and pages, and other little tools built in that should make blogging a bit easier.

2. The Admin Bar

Across the top of your blog you will find a new Admin Bar which will help you navigate around your blog and our site.

You can turn off this bar under Settings > Admin Bar in your dashboard if you would prefer – but we find it handy to quickly add a new post, login, or go back and forth between the site and dashboard.

3. Wikis

You will find a new Wiki plugin which lets you add pages to your blog which are fully functional wikis!

Settings allow you to choose between letting all visitors, only registered users, or a select few to edit the wiki. Changes are tracked and discussion is encouraged. This one we know many of you will love!

Read more about wikis on our help and support site here.

4. Custom Menus

Under Appearance > Menus you will find a brand new area for customizing the order and layout of your menus.

The drag-and-drop menu creation allows you to add links to any site on the web, specific categories, and more.

Adding custom menus is easy, and detailed directions on how are here.

5. Easy Blogging

Our Easy Blogging dashboard got a complete face lift too! This feature was designed so that more inexperienced bloggers can get their feet wet by removing a lot of the less used options. Plus, we just think it looks cool :)

You can go back and forth between the Easy Admin and the normal dashboard areas anytime.

6. Blog and User Creator

We greatly simplified the process of creating new users and blogs by rolling everything into this one new and improved creation tool.

Pro users will now be able to more easily create additional blogs, student blogs or accounts, and set it up so that you can manage them all right from the get-go.

7. Google Maps

There is also a new Google Maps plugin which makes it easy to add maps to your blog – including satellite and street views!

Best of all, it is easy to use, but you can find more details of how to use it here.

There’s more!

There is actually quite a bit more – including the ability to hide parts of a post until a selected time, improved form making, and updates to many themes. We will be sharing those in more detail in the coming weeks.

In the mean time, play around and let us know what you think! 

As always, feel free to contact us should you need any help with any of these new features.

Enjoy!

Edublogs Weekly Review: The power of twitter, #edchat, and student blogging

I’ll be the first to admit that several years ago when I heard about twitter I was more than skeptical. I would occasionally check it out and just not really get it.

Today, while I don’t tweet as often as I’d like, I can’t imagine a day without checking the stream to see what my favorite educators, bloggers, and organizations are up to!

And if you are new to twitter, or just haven’t experienced one before, one of the best ways to understand the power of twitter to is participate in an #edchat. These open conversations discuss a wide range of relevant topics and are fast paced discussions with many excellent ideas and resources shared.

#edchats are held each Tuesday at 12pm EST/ 5pm GMT and 7pm EST/ 12pm GMT, and you can learn more about how to participate and what it is all about here.

In fact, this Tuesday the topic was the educational value of student blogging!

There are just a few examples of the hundreds of tweets about the topic in the widget below and you can see the entire discussion on the #edchat wiki here.

This week in the Edublog world

Want to share a post, ask others to visit a blog for comments, or show off cool student work?

Use the hashtag #ebshare to let us know so we can re-tweet it for you!

Featured Edublog of the Week

edu_featured_dir

The Brainy Bunch’s Blog

Berwick, Australia

A grade 3/4 class blog – check out that personalized menu!

This blog is on one of our Edublogs Campus sites.

Find more great blogs like this one in our International Edublogs Directory.

Upcoming Webinars & Live Events

Join us for next week’s live events!

Wednesday the 8th @ 9:30am PSTAll About Edublogs Campus

For new Campus site-admins or for those interested in learning more about Edublogs Campus.

Thursday the 9th @ 4pm PSTEdublogs Serendipity – PD Out Of A Blue Sky

Join us in our fortnightly unconference sessions. Bring along the burning issues and hot topics YOU would like to discuss. The topic is chosen by poll at the start of the session.

Learn more about our live events here!

Recent Posts You Might Have Missed

Summing it up

Twitter is fast becoming the best tool for professional learning and sharing – but I warn, it can be addicting!

This might be a good time to remind you to follow @edublogs too :)

Have a great week!

Edublogs Weekly Review: Top 10 reasons why it is truly the most wonderful time of the year!

The last weekend of November is here which can only mean that the holiday season has officially arrived!

At Edublogs, we love this time of year, and here is our top 10 list as to why:

  1. The hardworking educators and students that use Edublogs get some well deserved time off from school
  2. Great widgets from here make it easy to put yule logs, holiday countdowns, snowmen and more in sidebars
  3. A popular idea to keep students’ minds focused during the upcoming holidays is to ask them to blog while on break – and our support team will be here in case we’re needed!
  4. The free holiday images found here and here are perfect for blogs, class newsletters, cards, and more
  5. Users send us tons of chocolate and gifts – there is still time to contact us for where to send them ;)
  6. We announce the winners of the 2010 Edublog Awards on December 15th
  7. There is so much excitement about how blogging is impacting student learning, and those sharing their experience are about to win BIG!
  8. All of the student mentors of the Student Blogging Challenge are about to receive their Edublogs Pro subscriptions as our way of saying thanks
  9. We all have an excuse to turn on the “Let It Snow” plugin (see the Plugins menu in your dashboard) on our blogs
  10. And we all get to spend time with our families!

Here’s to a great holiday season from the Edublogs team!

(See our CEO James, our support guru Sue, and myself getting in the spirit below!)

This week in the Edublog world

Want to share a post, ask others to visit a blog for comments, or show off cool student work?

Use the hashtag #ebshare to let us know so we can re-tweet it for you!

Featured Edublog of the Week

edu_featured_dir

Ms. Edmonds’ Science class

An excellent middle school science class blog!

Find more great blogs like this one in our International Edublogs Directory.

Upcoming Webinars & Live Events

Join us for next week’s live events!

Wednesday the 1st @ 9:30am PSTWhat can you do with your Edublog!?

An informal chat where any of your blogging questions can be answered by our staff.

Thursday the 2nd @ 4pm PSTEdublogs Fine Focus

Join us for our fortnightly “Fine Focus” sessions each week. In these sessions we range across a variety of topics and include discussion (“Talk Time”), how to use various applications (“Techie How To”), and using technology in the classroom (“Tools and Strategies”). In fact anything “e-” that is of interest to educators!

Learn more about our live events here!

Recent Posts You Might Have Missed

Summing it up

As you can see, December is a busy and exciting month.

Make sure to add a bit of festive cheer to your blog if you’d like and have an excellent holiday season!

Top widgets for the sidebar of your class or student blog

Did you know that the fastest and easiest way to add new features to your blog is by embedding widgets into the sidebar of your blog?

To help you out, here is a list of the most popular and most useful widgets that can be added to your blog in no time.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more instructions on how to add widgets to your blog. Don’t forget, these widgets can also be embedded using the HTML tab in any page or post as well!

Visitor Statistics

  1. clustrClustrMaps – The most popular widget on Edublogs.  Displays a small map with “dots” for each of your visitors.
  2. Flag Counter – Lists the most common countries that your visitors are from and shows the flag from each country.
  3. Who’s Among Us – With an account, includes some nice stat collection tools.
  4. My Web Counter – Simple and free visitor counters with many custom looks and designs.

voki

Talking Avatars

  1. Voki – Add a speaking and highly customizable avatar to your blog.  Record you voice, create a character, and much more!
  2. Read The Words – Human avatars that will read text or recorded audio right in your blog.
  3. Site Pal – A paid widget that can make scarily realistic avatars using uploaded photos of you or students.

Miscellaneous

  1. Clock Link – 100’s of different and unique clocks of all types.
  2. AccuWeather – The most complete collection of weather widgets to show current conditions and forecasts.
  3. Box.net – Create a file dropbox or upload widget for students to submit files for your review.
  4. Feed Wind – Display the latest posts from another blog anywhere on the web.
  5. Sweet Search – Place a search box for a trusted and safe for students search engine.

googapps

Google Apps

*These widgets also will all work with Google Apps for Education users too!

  1. Google Calendar – Embed a list of upcoming events or a month view of a public Google calendar.
  2. Google Talk Chatback – Put a badge in your sidebar that lets users chat with you live when you are online. Your blog’s visitors don’t even need a gtalk account to chat with you.
  3. Google Maps – Embed a Google map – complete with directions, street views, and more.
  4. Google Gadgets – Choose from hundreds of different widgets, including games, trivia and more.

Multimedia

  1. schooltubeFlickr Slideshow and Badges – Easily add photos from your flickr account to your sidebar.
  2. Facebook Photo Gallery – Show off your public facebook photo galleries right on your blog.
  3. SchoolTube MVP – Share popular videos from SchoolTube.com with easy sidebar access.
  4. YouTube – Place in YouTube channels or top trending videos.
  5. Mixpod – Create a music play list and share it on your blog.
  6. RadioTuna – Pick a genre and play music for your visitors.

wordofday

Languages

  1. Google Translate – Instantly translate your blog into many different languages.
  2. Transparent.com Word of the Day – Audio and visual word of the day. Customizable in many of the world’s languages such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese and many more.
  3. Reverso Translation – Translorts, verb conjugators, and more in many different languages.

Reading

  1. Shelfari – Show off your favorite books for others to see.
  2. Education Atlas – Free thesaurus and dictionary widget with many features.
  3. SitePal Widgetbox – Mentioned above, but this widget will allow readers to type in or copy and paste words to be read out loud.

convert

Science & Math

  1. Science Score – A science question of the day. Students can even enter to win prizes.
  2. Wolfram AlphaQuite possibly the best resource on this list – Wolfram Alpha contains hundreds of customizable math and science widgets, including unit converters, weather tools, graphing calculators, problem solvers, and much more. This might be the only resource math and science students and teachers need for their blogs!

History

  1. Info Please – Nice looking “this day in history” widget that displays multiple events and updates every day.
  2. Timeline Index – 30 different timelines showcasing several different periods of history – including US presidents, world history outline, philosophers, and explorers.

Widget Sites & Collections

  1. widgetboxWidgetBox.comThe definite go-to place to find and build your own widgets. Edublogs uses several widgets from here on our main site!
  2. SpringWidgets.comAnother great source for widgets from many of your favorite sites on the web. User reviews and comments help you find the perfect widget for your blog.
  3. Widgipedia.comLike the two sites above, wigipedia is a huge and growing collections of widgets of all types and sizes.

How To Embed

1. Choose the widget of your choice and copy the html code for it.

2.  Go to Appearance > Widgets in your blog dashboard

Appearance > Widgets menu item

3.  Click on the desired Sidebar to expand (so you can add the widgets)

4.  Add a text widget to the desired sidebar by dragging it from the Available Widgets into the Sidebar area on the right.

5.  The widget will automatically open — just add the HTML code for your widget, click Save and then Close.

Adding HTML embed code to voki

6.  You should now see the widget in your blog sidebar!

Related Links

Since there are thousands and thousands of widgets to use, we are certain to have overlooked a few of your favorites. Leave a comment below with any that we missed so that we can add to the list!

New plugin! Make forms, quizzes, and polls with ease

formfeaturesJust in time for many of us to start back with a brand new school year, Edublogs has recently unveiled a new form creator plugin available to Pro and Campus users.

And you are not going to believe how easy it is to use!

With an intuitive drag and drop interface, you will be making detailed contact forms, assessments of all types, class polls, and more in no time.

Highlights & Features

  • Choose from 21 different form field types
  • Allow users or students to upload files – useful as a digital drop-box!
  • Automatically generate emails upon form submission
  • Export all submissions to Excel or Google Docs
  • Make forms available only to logged-in users

There is also a nifty graphical interface that lets you see and analyze results as they come in. In addition, results can be displayed directly in a page or post on your blog!

formreports
The International Blogs Directory

This form plugin is so powerful and customizable that our entire new blogs directory is built using it.

It would be impossible to list all of the features this new plugin brings to your blog – the best way might be for you to jump in and play around.

formmenu

Getting Started

Once you activate the Formidable Pro plugin, you will find a new menu item in your blog’s dashboard.

Click on “Create a Form”, or choose from one of the existing templates to get started.

Should you need any help, try our help document on working with Formidable Forms or contact us with any additional questions.

Provide some details for your blog
No stress, you can always change this later on.
.edublogs.org

« Go back Register Account » Create a Site »