Using forums for learning

forumsMessage boards, or forums, are commonplace on many websites around the web. Many people turn them when planning a vacation, for advice, or to get help (like on our Edublogs support forums).

Forums are increasingly popular in the classroom as well as a way to organize and foster collaboration among students.

Edublogs Pro and Campus users can create forums right inside of their blogs.  For information on how to set them up, visit our help document here.

Using Forums For Learning

Here is a quick list of ideas on how forums can be used in the classroom:

  • Class discussion – Try asking an open ended question on a regular basis.  Have students make an initial reply and then follow up replies to two or more of their classmates
  • A virtual parking lot – Student can ask questions whenever they may need and get help from teachers and students alike
  • Group management – During a project, groups can use forums to organize thoughts and share updates periodically
  • Turning in assignments – Students can write responses to essay and short answer questions as a thread in a forum giving all students in the class the opportunity to review and learn from each other

How else have you used or do you envision using forums to improve student learning?  We would love to hear your comments below.

Feel free to also leave a link to your blog if you’ve tried out forums before so we can all benefit from your experiences!

(This is a "Page")Safe, secure, reliable and trusted by over a million users…

Since 2005, Edublogs has been hosting blogs and providing custom blogging platforms to individual teachers, school districts and hundreds of thousands of students. We’ve grown to become the largest, most trusted, best supported and widely used way for teachers and students to engage with the world of blogging.

A quick overview of Edublogs

Edublogs can do a lot, and it would be impossible to list everything in one place. To help you get introduced to all of the different features, we’ve created this quick overview. Edublogs are:

  • Safe and Reliable – Blogs can be completely private or open to the public. Since we only host education related content, Edublogs are allowed by most school filters where other blogging platforms are not.
  • Student Friendly – It is as simple to add to and update a blog as it is to send an email. Teachers can easily create and manage as many student blogs as needed.
  • Rich With Features – A few of the most popular features include discussion tools, video embedding, Facebook and Twitter integration, and calendars.
  • Customizable – With over 100 different themes which allow for control of colors, images, and layout.
  • Research-Based – Engage students in their learning and enhance instruction through collaboration, student portfolios, and endless classroom uses.

Why blog in schools?

Blogs strike the perfect balance of providing information anytime and anywhere, social networking and interaction, and the ability to openly share thoughts and achievements.One popular way to use an Edublog is to make regular updates about assignments, events, and anything going on in class.

Blogs like these keep students and parents informed and extend the classroom to any place with access to the web. Students love to blog too, and doing so can engage students in their learning and extend collaboration with classmates and even people all over the world!

Edublogs are great for group projects, ePortfolios, school newspapers, reflection journals, class websites, and much more!

For even more ideas, click on the image on the right or the link here for our top 10 ways to use Edublogs to teach!

10ways

Famous for our amazing help and support – from experienced teachers!

We are serious about providing the best support you will ever receive on the web – all of our help and support materials are made for teachers by teachers.

We’ve got comprehensive videos, manuals, help forums, and even live support sessions and webinars. Pro and Campus users can also email our support team directly from their blogs – and we promise to always reply in 24 hours or less. On school days, our response time is often much less than that!

Not only do we support you with all of the technical aspects of blogging, but Edublogs users are all members of a growing international community of educators. We are constantly sharing and learning from each other as we strive to provide our students with the best educational and technology experiences.

Don’t just take our word for it

See what educators around the world have to say about Edublogs…

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“I have been using Edublogs for three years… I love the versatility and ease of use… The support is excellent.” – Helen Harvey – Booker High School

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“The result was this amazing, organic discussion that ranged from debates over whether or not a sequel exists to one book, to speculation about posthumous publications from J.D. Salinger.” – Robert C. Barker – John Liechty Middle School

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“I was so pleased to discover Edublogs from a colleague… so quick and easy to set up, count me in as a supporter of Edublogs!” – Robert B. Cooter, Jr., Ed.D. – Professor & Ursuline Endowed Chair of Teacher Education, Bellarmine University

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“Edublogs has been an amazing tool for my students and I… Edublogs is so user friendly that we had the blogs for teachers up in no time.” – Jennifer Parrigin – Nash Central Middle School

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“Campus makes it so simple to set up a separate blog for individuals and keep the management of the blog under one administrator. Edublogs has been a great company to work with.” – Patrick Dierschke – Angelo State University

view more

How does Edublogs compare to other blogging tools?

It’s important to make the right decision when choosing a blogging platform for your class, school, university or district.

There are a range of genuine blogging providers, and the chart below offers you a comparison between what they offer as opposed to Edublogs – roll over the ‘?’ on each point for more detail.

Edublogs

The World’s largest education blogging platform, focused on teachers and students with educational support and features

Blogger

The original blogging platform, now owned by google, offering blogs to anyone

WordPress

A blogging platform focused on ‘expressing yourself’ and ‘publishing’

Who is the service for?

Only for education?
check
check
check
Support from teachers
check
check
check
Class blog management
check
check
check
Academic functionality
check
check
check

A safe and secure environment?

Allows adult content?
Absolutely no adult content
Allows adult content
Allows adult content
Privacy and safety
No exposure to other blogs
‘Next’ button exposes random blogs
‘Related Posts’ links expose multiple other blogs
Allowed access?
check – accessible by most schools
check – blocked for adult content
check – blocked for adult content

Functionality and features

135+ Premium Themes
check
check
check
‘Easy Blogging’ Mode
check
check
check
Embed javascript
check
check
check
Extra plugins
check
check
check
Upgrades
$3 p/month – which allows you to add features to unlimited student blogs too
No upgrades – simple basic service
$100+ per individual blog for the same features as Edublog Pro users
Advertising
Completely ad free
Integrated with Google Adsense – advertising promoted and encouraged
Ads on all blogs unless you are logged in, costs $30 per blog to turn off

Help and Support

Full documentation
check
check
check
Access to forums
check
check
check
Premium email support
check
check
check
Telephone support
check
check
check
Customized webinars
check
check
check

Classroom tools

Threaded discussions
check
check
check
Forums
check
check
check
Wikis
check
check
check
Friends & Messages
check
check
check

Blog and user management tools

Create blogs & users
check
check
check
Manage blogs & users
check
check
check
Batch create blogs
check
check
check
Super admin control
check
check
check
Full MySQL Exports
check
check
check

Custom themes, custom plugins, LDAP integration and other functionality

Upload custom themes
check
check
check
Custom plugins
check
check
check
SSL Certification
check
check
check
LDAP & integration
check
check
check
Request new features
check
check
check

So, what’s the next step?

start a free edublog
start a pro edublog
contact us about campus

Creating and managing student blogs

One of the most powerful features of Edublogs is the ability for teachers to easily create and manage blogs for students.

These unparalleled tools allow teachers to decide if students can post freely to blogs or if any posts and comments must be approved first before being made public. These features also give teachers the freedom to log in as administrators on student blogs to help set up new themes or make changes whenever needed.

Flexible and powerful, our management tools will provide you with all of the oversight that you may need.

Choosing between Edublogs Free, Pro, and Campus

We offer three excellent blogging services. The chart below details what features you will find in each.

Edublogs Free

Free, easy and basic option, great for students

Edublogs Pro

The ultimate blog package for individual teachers

Edublogs Campus

Designed for institutions, manage and control as many blogs as you need – from a single class to 10,000+ blogs

From $3.33 p/month
(Plus add extra features to unlimited student blogs!)
From less than $1 p/blog p/year
See Campus Pricing Here

Features

Create posts and pages
check
check
check
Post images & audio
check
check
check
Fast and reliable
check
check
check
Storage
32 MB
10 GB
10 GB per blog
Privacy
Privacy to search engines
Full privacy options
Sitewide privacy options
30 Free Themes
check
check
check
100+ Premium Themes
check
check + on unlimited student blogs
check
Embed videos & more
check
check + on unlimited student blogs
check
Mobile blogging
check
check + on unlimited student blogs
check
Own domain name
check
check
check
Extra plugins
check
check
check
Integrated statistics
check
check
check

Help and Support

Full documentation
check
check
check
Access to forums
check
check
check
Premium email support
check
check
check
Telephone support
check
check
check
Customized webinars
check
check
check

Classroom tools

Threaded discussions
check
check
check
Wikis
check
check
check
Forums
check
check
check
Community wikis
check
check
check
Friends & Messages
check
check
check

Blog and user management tools

Create blogs & users
check
check
check
Manage blogs & users
check
check
check
Batch create blogs
check
check
check
Super admin control
check
check
check
Full MySQL Exports
check
check
check

Custom themes, custom plugins, LDAP integration and other functionality

Upload custom themes
check
check
check
Custom plugins
check
check
check
SSL Certification
check
check
check
LDAP & integration
check
check
check
Request new features
check
check
check
start a free edublog
start a pro edublog
contact us about campus

Getting started is quick and easy. Click on the large box above that corresponds with the service that you would like to try.

Remember, we are always just one click away to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us should you have any need!

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 :)

Batch Supporters – Save up to 80%!

We asked you how you thought Edublogs Supporter could be improved and you resoundingly said

“I’ve got 3, 5…. a class of 30 blogs and I want to make them all Supporters but it’s too expensive!”

Well, we heard you loud and clear, so we’ve introduced batch Supporter subscriptions, with some pretty stunning discounts!

You can find them under your ‘Supporter’ tab and we hope that they make it much more affordable for you to keep a whole batch of Edublogs for yourself or give an entire class or school Edublogs Supporter status for significantly less than Edublogs Campus would set you back.

So, what are the magic numbers… well:

5 Supporter blogs no longer cost you c.$200 – instead they are just $99.95 – that’s 50% off!

30 Supporter blogs won’t cost you c.$1200 – instead they are just $359.95 – that’s 70% off!

100 Supporter blogs won’t cost you c.$4000 – instead they are just $799.95 – that’s 80% off!

And of course, every Supporter blog can turn off ads on up to 30 otehr blogs – so if you wanted to get your school blogging, a 30 blog subscription could remove ads from 900 student blogs.

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.

Open Mic. – Using Edublogs with your students

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!

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