Student Blogging Is Now 100% Free On Edublogs

As of today, we are making many of our previously ‘Pro’ only features 100% free for all!

This change will, without a doubt, make Edublogs the best free web publishing tool for students and teachers on the web.

We went through and have made many of our more popular features free, including:

  • Student management – our ‘My Class’ tool, allowing teachers to control settings, group, and moderate their students’ blogs
  • User invites – providing you a simple way to get students or blog collaborators attached to your blog
  • User reports  making it easy to keep track of students’ posts and comments
  • Privacy settings – so that you can password protect or make blogs completely private
  • Themes – all themes are now available to free users
  • Plugins – dozens more popular plugins are now available to free users
  • Storage – free storage has gone up from a mere 50MB to a whopping 1GB per blog
  • Support – every user will be able to send an email to our support team from their blog’s dashboard to get help with any questions they may have. We’ve become famous for our support, and endeavor to reply to all threads just as quickly as we can.

What’s The Catch?

Well, there are some features that will remain ‘Pro’, at just $7.95 per month or $39.95 per year. These include using your own custom domain, allowing a blog to be indexed by search engines, and the subscribe by email tool.

There is a complete run down on the comparison between Free and Pro on our features chart here.

In all cases where we’ve kept something as ‘Pro’ only, we did so only to ensure that Edublogs remains a safe place for students and complies with the ever changing state and federal student privacy data laws. These ‘Pro’ features are all ones that if we made free, our network would quickly be filled with spammers and marketers that would hog expensive resources and potentially publish inappropriate content. Our filters are good, but we want to remain on the side of caution when it comes to privacy and ensuring student-friendly content on the blogs that we host.

And for Pro users, we’ve also increased storage space on Pro from 10GB to 50GB!

Edublogs Pro is not going anywhere and it will remain a quality tool that many will find worth the small cost to upgrade. We invite educators, schools, student organizations, and others to create and host their blogs and sites with us. Existing ‘Pro’ customers will keep their subscriptions ongoing, but should you wish to cancel or downgrade to the new ‘Free’, this can be done in your blog’s dashboard at any time.

In short, 99% of what you want to do with student blogging can be done with our improved free offering. Professional blogs or group websites will probably be better served by upgrading to Pro.

What’s The Real Catch?

You caught me.

Over time, our CampusPress service has grown in such a way that we are now able to provide more for free here on Edublogs while keeping our server bills paid and our staff fed.

 

 

CampusPress makes it easy to create and manage blogs, portfolios, or class websites for your entire school, district or university. CampusPress also hosts main school and district websites, all with the same user-friendly WordPress backend that folks love about Edublogs.

We want to provide the best free Edublogs service possible so that more and more students and educators will be exposed to our tools, which ultimately will lead to more schools and districts looking for a CampusPress solution.

You will now see a few plugins and features in your Edublogs dashboard that are labeled as CampusPress only. These are tools that are useful for managing large numbers of blogs, like Google Apps/G Suite and LDAP integration, for example. And there are a few more advanced plugins that are ideal for main high-traffic websites.

If you can help us spread the word by sharing this post, that will go a long way to ensuring that our plan to grow CampusPress and keep more on Edublogs for free plays out :)

If you have any questions, please contact us here, and we’ll be sure to reply as fast as we can.

That being said, we’re excited! We can’t wait to see more students than ever blogging right here on Edublogs.

You can signup from our homepage, or just click this link here to start creating your new free blog now.

Happy free blogging!

The ultimate guide to getting started with blogging!

teacherchallengeIn case you missed it, we just wrapped up our first Teacher Challenge series – 30 days to kick start your blogging!

Hundreds of educators from around the globe participated in 8 challenges over the course of four weeks. Together with mentors, bloggers of all experience levels had the opportunity to really step up their game.

And if you missed out, it is never too late to work through the challenges at your own pace!

Here are the beginner and advanced challenges in their entirety:

Activity 1 – Getting Started
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 2 – Writing Effective Posts
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 3 – Working With Pages
Beginner
AdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 4 – Avatars & Blogging Etiquette
Beginner
AdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 5 – Working With Images
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 6 – Embedding Media
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 7 – Widgets and Sidebars
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Activity 8 – Blogrolls & Building Readership
BeginnerAdvancedDiscussion Question

Now that we’ve all gotten our blogs up and running, don’t forget that starting this Monday is 30 days to get your students blogging

Bookmark or subscribe to the Teacher Challenge main blog to join in!

An interview with an award winning blogger and educator

europeana_launchOne of the most exciting things about being part of the Edublogs team is that we get to see all of the excellent uses of class and student blogs around the globe.

We recently learned that one of our users, Donal O’ Mahony from Portmarnock Community School in Ireland, had been nominated for a European eLearning Award at the EMINENT Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In fact, at the conference it was announced that Donal and his history class received the Europe’s Digital Heritage award for their student blogging which can be found here.

You can see all of the 50 shortlisted projects here.

Donal was kind enough to answer a few questions we sent his way in hopes of sharing a bit more about his class blogging experience with others.

Where and what do you teach?

I teach at Portmarnock Community School, Dublin, Ireland (here). I teach mainly history and some religious education. The school is co-educational and has about 825 students.

How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging about two years, firstly for myself with eLearningIsland (here) and the with my students (here). We moved from a class blog to each student (30 of them) creating their own individual blog (here).

What do you want to accomplish with using blogs with your students?

  • Engagement with history in a way that that is relevant to their world
  • Digital literacy – an understanding of how to work their way around a Web 2 environment
  • Representation of work that is beyond copy and pen
  • Visibility on the WWW encouraging responsibility

What are the benefits you have seen so far?
Interest, wanting to be in the ICT mediated-class, pride in work, ability to be able to articulate about matters digital, an eye for design (they loved playing about with themes, some of them using the custom feature).

What challenges have you faced with blogging in your classroom?

  • Time, I believe is the greatest challenge. EduBlogs helps here in having WordPress configured for the use of the teacher giving time back to him/her to focus on teaching/learning
  • The computer room in schools can be a “variable” environment – Its the simple things that cause problems! Flash may not be updated on all machines, Broadband is down occasionally (we do generally not have paid technical support for ICT in schools in Ireland) – the student however can also work on their blog at home which many did
  • Different levels of digital literacy from the student who is making his her first online steps to the student who is more advanced in their abilities – just like teaching the normal class really!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My own blog deals with some of the issues around ICT in education. I recommend following it!

We recommend following it too.

Also check out the slides from the presentation below.

One thing in particular to look for in his process is that he started with a simple class blog and then gradually moved into students having their own individual blogs. This approach helps students understand what blogging is all about, sets the tone and blogging rules, and introduces the blogging process.

Thanks Donal for sharing with us and congratulations to you and your students for the honor!

Edublogs are now more student friendly than ever!

If you have logged into your blog lately, you might have seen a screen that looks like this when you first signed in:

easyblogging

This is a new feature that is designed for younger and beginning bloggers to simplify the blog dashboard area by rearranging and hiding some of the less used features.

If you don’t see this screen or would like to switch back and forth between the two Admin Areas, look for buttons like these on the top right of your blog’s dashboard:

The new ‘Easy Admin Area’ simplifies all of the most common functions of setting up and editing a blog, including creating posts and pages, and changing themes and appearances.

This is the ideal setting for student bloggers and those just starting out, and user management and plugin settings are still just a click away in the familiar Advanced Admin Area.

Even more helpful features:

Help Example
Example of New Help Tip

In addition to the Easy Admin Area, you will also find new “tips” and help information right inside of both Admin Areas.

Try clicking on one of the many blue question marks to get a quick tip or checking out the boxes scattered throughout the dashboard with extra information and reminders.

We’re working to improve existing tips and add new ones all of the time, so we would love your input should you see something we should add.

Now, more than ever, Edublogs truly is the most student friendly blogging solution available.

With these new features, you should feel confident that new users of all levels can navigate around blogging dashboards with ease.

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