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Blogging: 21classes.com December 6, 2007

Posted by ashleyquark in Tech Tools.
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A huge barrier that I have seen among teachers trying to start their classes blogging is gathering and then entering student email addresses.  For example, when I taught grade 8 language arts at the American Schools of Kuwait, I had about 120 students blogging using Blogger.com.  In order to have them join my blog, I had to gather all 120 students email addresses, type them all into Blogger, and then invite all my students to join.  This was a pain. At least I had my students blogging all year so the work I did at the beginning of the year paid off. However, one of my friends recently told me about a site that does not require teachers to know students’ email addresses for them to join the blog, but the teacher can still make the blog a closed community.  This site is www.21classes.com. It is possible that Class Blogmeister or others allow teachers to do this as well, but my friend, Brenda, who is using this site with her high school students found it to be very easy to set up. Check it out.

The Word on Wikis December 4, 2007

Posted by ashleyquark in Tech Tools.
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I gave a presentation on Wikis to a group of pre-service teachers placed in K-12 classrooms.  My favorite wiki site is www.wikispaces.com because they are currently giving out free ad-free wikis for K-12 classrooms.

In the presentation below, I provide links to some great examples of how wikis are being used in classrooms–from grade 1 classrooms to high school physics classrooms.  Enjoy!

Blogging Tools December 4, 2007

Posted by ashleyquark in Tech Tools.
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Blogging can be a very useful tool in the classroom and has a wide array of uses.  It could be used as a classroom website to post daily homework or document daily classroom happenings. As well, blogging is an easy way for students to take an active role as producers and consumers of media online. Here are some of the most popular blogging sites used in schools:

Class Blogmeister – Check out Mrs. Cassidy’s Blogmeister site as an examples.  Her grade 1/2 students’ blogs are listed along the right side.
Pros: When you create an account with Class Blogmeister, you get a main classroom blog page as well as individual blog pages for each of your students.  You can adjust the settings so that you can moderate every post your students make which allows teachers to check for appropriate content before the blog post is on the internet for everyone in the world to see!
Cons: You can’t simply create a Class Blogmeister site right now and start browsing the site to figure out all its inner workings.  To create a Class Blogmeister account, you must first email the site creator, David Warlick, and he will send you a School Pass Code. From what I’ve heard, David returns emails very quickly and it might be only a day until your Class Blogmeister page is up and running!

WordPress.com
Pros: As you may have noticed, this site is a blog throught WordPress.com.  There are numerous fun and professional looking designs to choose from. When you set up a WordPress blog, you get 1 blog page you can regularly write posts (see my Musings page) and then you can make several pages with “fixed content” such as this one. This would really work well for a classroom website as the teacher could post the daily homework or activities on the blog page and then have other information such as a Class Profile, School Schedule, or handouts on the other pages for students and parents to refer to.
Cons: Students do not have their own pages attached to the teacher’s wordpress account.  If you want students to have their own blogs, they will have to create their own account and therefore the teacher is not able to moderate their posts.

Blogger
Pros and Cons: From my experience, there isn’t anything particularly good or bad about blogger.  It doesn’t create student pages under the teacher’s account like Class Blogmeister and it doesn’t allow you to have multiple pages like WordPress.  It works fine and I have used it in my classroom to have students blog, but I probably wouldn’t use it again.

EduBlogs
I haven’t use EduBlogs before so I don’t really have any review of this. I’ll try it out soon and let you know.