New Dashboard Tools for Better Blogging and Student Management

We’ve got a huge amount of new blogging toys coming your way here in 2012!

To help lay the ground work for the even better stuff yet to come, you will now notice two snazzy new boxes greeting you when you first login to your blog’s dashboard.


There is more!

Go to Dashboard > My Blogs and you will see a list of all blogs you belong to, improved management tools, and a filter to only show blogs that need your attention to moderate comments or posts!

And one more thing!

We’ve done a ton of work on many of the more behind-the-scenes type of things that will help ensure a happy and fun blogging experience for all.

Part of that work includes a better payment and account management system for Edublogs Pro – which many of you may notice, we now can accept credit cards without the need for PayPal accounts! We’re also happy to work with your school to accept Purchase Orders or checks too!

This is something we’ve heard from many of our users needed improvement, so we’re happy to make the checkout and Edublogs Pro subscription management process even better.

Stay tuned!

Just a sneak-peek at what our team is working hard to bring you in the coming weeks and months:

  • better student moderation and management tools
  • more beautiful and customizable themes
  • an improved mobile blogging experience
  • and much, much more!

What do you think?!

Feel free to contact us or leave a comment below with your thoughts on the above or if you have ideas of your own on how we could be better.

Happy blogging!

Do you have a favorite free web tool?

As we continue on with the current Teacher Challenge on class blogging, preparations are already underway for the next series.

This time, we want to introduce users to as many of the best free web tools as we can!

community

And that is where you come in. Do you have a favorite web tool of any kind that you would like to share?

We’re looking for guest bloggers to:

  • Write a post that provides an overview of the tool
  • Include a “challenge” where readers are encouraged to use the tool and somehow demonstrate the end result
  • Help answer any questions that might come up from challenge particpants

No need to have a blog or even be an Edublogs user to participate. This would be a great way to help fellow educators from around the globe – and maybe add more twitter followers or blog readers to your list as well. :)

What do you think? Any takers?

Leave a comment below or contact us here and we’ll get you hooked up with all that you need!

Add a Wibiya toolbar to connect with social media and more on your Edublog

Pro users can now add a Wibiya toolbar to the bottom of their blogs!

This new plugin is a direct result of popular requests from our users.

Wibiya Logo

If you are not sure what a Wibiya toolbar is, you can see it in action at the bottom of the Edublogs homepage. Wibiya automatically adds Facebook, Twitter, user stats, chatrooms, announcements, and more to the footer of blogs.

How do I add a Wibiya toolbar to my blog?

First, visit Wibiya.com and create a new free account.

Next, navigate to your Wibiya dashboard and click on the button on the left side of the page that says Get New Code.

Get New Code button

Here, click on the top left box with the WordPress “W” logo.

This will bring up a page that looks similar to the screenshot below.  Copy and paste the link that is circled under Step 2.

Wibiya Example

Login to your Edublogs dashboard and activate the Wibiya Toolbar plugin.  Then go to Appearance > Wibiya Toolbar Settings.

From here, paste in the URL from your Wibiya dashboard where it says Wibiya Toolbar Path.

Wibiya Settings

Make sure to place a check mark next to Enable or disable the Wibiya Toolbar, then click Update Toolbar and the Wibiya bar will automatically appear on your blog.

Use the Wibiya dashboard at Wibiya.com to add features, change the template, and control your toolbar.

We would love to see the Wibiya toolbar in use on Edublogs if you would like to leave a comment below with a link!

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!

New Plugin! Add Buttons, Tabs, Feeds, And Sidebars Anywhere!

The new ‘Live Shortcodes‘ plugin makes it easy to add buttons, tabs, sidebars, accordions, and much more to your blog.

You can now take control over the content you publish like never before.

What Does It Do?

This plugin gives you the ability to easily add many new elements to your pages and posts.

Here is a quick overview of the available elements:

1. Accordions

Break content into sections that visitors can open and close.

Accordion

2. Toggles

Just like accordions, but more than one section can be open at a time.

toggle

3. Tabs

Like an accordion too, but with the sections across the top.

tab

4. Dividers

Break up paragraphs with one of several different divider styles.

dividers

5. Buttons

Customize the color, shape, and style of buttons that can be links to anywhere on the web.

button

6. Latest Posts

Show a list of latest posts from your blog. Customize the details that are shown.

7. RSS

Display content from any RSS feed on any page or post.

8. Reader Content

Show latest posts from your reader – blogs you follow or all posts you’ve written on the network.

9. My Class Blogs

Add a list of all student blogs in a class using the ‘My Class’ tool. Determine if the list is alphabetical, random, or most recently updated.

10. My Class Recent Posts

Place a list of all posts from student blogs that belong to a class.

And we plan on adding more to this list soon!

How To Activate

The Live Shortcodes plugin is available to all Edublogs Pro and CampusPress customers.

Just go to your Plugins menu and click Activate to enable.

Then, whenever you add a new page or post, you’ll see a new “Add Shortcodes” button above your editor.

It is super easy to use and to customize each element, but if you’d like any additional help, please see the full plugin help guide here.

What’s Next?

Let us know in the comments below if you have any ideas or requests for items we can add to the shortcodes plugin. We’ll do our best to build them in!

In the meantime, we have more new exciting features and news coming later this week.

And don’t forget, time is running out on winning a FREE EDUBLOGS PRO in celebration of our 10th birthday!

Happy blogging!

New! Join Codes and Invites Make Life Easier

We’ve solved a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing class blogs and sites with many users. We think you are going to love it!

As of today, Edublogs Pro users can invite users to join their blogs by simply sending them a join code. This means there is no more creating student or user accounts manually! This should really simplify the “getting started” process when managing large groups of users.

This feature integrates perfectly with our My Class tool, and it allows you to keep total control over who is added to your blog and what permissions they have once they join.

Here’s a small preview:

invitecode

What’s This For?

  • Teachers wanting to add students to a class blog
  • Giving access to parents or guests on private sites
  • Inviting only those you wish to be able to leave comments on posts
  • Quickly adding a colleague as a co-administrator to a site
  • Creating a community blog where you can make it easy to add contributors or authors

How Does It Work?

It’s easy!

Get started by visiting Users > Invite Users in your dashboard.

There is a new step in our signup process for adding in a join code. And existing users will find a join code field in their profile pages too.

If you’d like more detailed information on how it all works, visit our help site here.

There’s More!

giveaway

This is just the beginning of the new features we’ll be adding through out the month of August.

And don’t forget, to celebrate 10 years, we’re giving away $10,000 in services too!

Learn more and enter to win here.

Happy blogging!

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

« Go back Register Account » Create a Site »