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!

Learn and share in our growing Twitter community

twitter-bird

In case you missed it, yesterday our own Sue Waters published A Twitteraholic’s Guide to tweets, hashtags, and all things Twitter. If you haven’t jumped into the whole Twitter experience yet, you might be surprised at how many educators are using Twitter to collaborate and learn from each other.

Each day, on Edublogs and beyond, thousands of excellent posts are published and new exciting student projects are begun. This is exactly why we have recently created the Twitter hashtag #ebshare.

What is #ebshare for?

Hashtags are used so that anyone can easily follow a topic that interests them. We regularly tweet thought-provoking posts, new tech tools that can be used in the classroom, or anything else we think the educational community might find interesting.

The best part about #ebshare is that you can use it to share anything you would like, too! This is great for asking others to visit a blog for comments or showing off cool student work.

While the Twitteraholics guide mentioned above goes into much greater detail on how to use Twitter and hashtags, all you have to do is put #ebshare somewhere in your post, and that is it!

See #ebshare in action

ebshare

What about Facebook?

We haven’t forgotten about our Facebook fans either! Feel free to use the Edublogs Facebook page to post anything you would like to share with others. We might even re-tweet it for you on Twitter. :)

We hope that you find this new tool a useful way to connect with educators from across the globe.  Don’t be shy, share something with the community today!

Use your own domain – for free!

About a year ago, we started selling domain names and the ability to use your own domain names on Edublogs blogs.

Well, after we did that for a while, we changed over to the Supporter model and that became tricky… but no longer, because we’ve decided to bundle free domain mapping in with Supporter, so that every single supporter can now use their own domain… at no extra charge!

How does it work? It’s really easy… let’s take Sue as an example:

So, Sue’s old personal blog had the very catchy URL of “aquaculturepda.edublogs.org” which was a bit off, seeing as it started life as ‘Mobile Technology in TAFE’ and then became ‘Sue Waters Blog’ ;)

So, we did the very simple thing of going out and purchasing suewaters.com (for less than $10), and then configured the A record by following our handy Using Your Own Domain guide.

Then we visited Tools > Domain Mapping, and simply entered the new domain there:

domainall

And that’s all there was to it… now you can catch Sue Waters at… suewaters.com!

As mentioned above, this is a new feature for Edublogs Supporters, at no extra cost, which we think is pretty darn cool.

Let us know any bugs / questions / comments / thoughts below :)

Edublogs and Supporter

A few weeks ago, Edublogs passed a pretty big milestone, the 250,000 blog mark.

We were and are absolutely delighted that so many teachers and students have been able to use the service for so many different reasons and we want to continue improving, expanding and developing the site so that we can see in 500K, 750K and so on!

And to do that we’ve been working feverishly to set up, configure, manage, and deploy hardware and a system which will allow this to happen – so that you and your students sites will be quick, reliable, safe and ever improving over the years to come.

But in doing so, of course, we had to revisit our business plan because planning on hosting a million+ blogs is a pretty costly endeavor!

Now, a lot of you may know about Edublogs Campus – our institutional and district-wide blogging platform used by clients ranging from Cornell University to the Department of Education in Victoria, Australia. Well, that’s one means that we support free blogs on Edublogs and that’s carrying on just as normal.

The other method has been via Edublogs Supporter, which has allowed teachers to subscribe to receive extra features and more storage.

Well, today we’re improving that.

As of now, Supporters will not only get the same features that they had before, but also massive amounts more storage (we’re increasing 0.5GB to 5GB… a 10 fold increase!), along with exclusive access to tools like the Blog & User Creator, existing plugins (and new ones to come) and other great features.

Also, occasionally, we have displayed ads on sites to assist with covering hosting costs. This is someting we’re going to have to increase on free blogs, but of course Supporter blogs will not have any third party advertising on them.

And more importantly, what we’re also now allowing supporters to do is *turn off* advertising on up to 30 different sites (a whole class of students) – as well as your own blog being turned off automatically.

There are a couple of catches, first up we’re having to increase the price of supporter to $39.95 per year (that’s still less than $4 per month!).

Also, as I mentioned previously, extra functionality (plugins, blogs & user creator and a few others) will only be available for supporter blogs, and there will be a reduction in storage for free blogs too.

Is this ideal? Well, in a utopian world we’d like to give everyone, everything, entirely for free and without any ads! But that’d be a utopia… so, barring that, we hope to still provide great free blogs alongside an absolutely premium supporter service that is more than worth the price of a large coffee per month.

We welcome your feedback, thoughts and requests for new Supporter features in the comments.

Also, if you are experiencing any issues with your supporter subscription or previous credits that you may have lost, please email us at support (at) edublogs /dot/ org and we’ll fix you up (there are always hiccups in a big move).

You can find a bit of a better write up about what Supporter offers here.

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