I recently set up a Kidblog account as an administrator. A simple description of kidblog is that it is a blogging site that teachers can set up for their classes and then set up individual accounts for their pupils. They designate the pupils their own username and password that allows them to access their own blog where they can post. Of course the teacher has the final say in what is published there by approving posts before they can be seen by other pupils but I think that it is a great innovative way for pupils to take a step in the direction of a technological classroom.
I found it very easy to set up which, I do not have to tell you, is half of the battle when it comes to creating an environment for pupils on the internet. Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and student accounts. For those who may be worried about the safety of the pupils on the internet, including their parents and families, this is something that can work on favor of allowing more acceptance knowing that nothing can be published without the teacher’s say so. It also does not require any personal information with regards to the pupils. You simply click to sign up with an email address for the teacher only and add pupil’s names and passwords once you have set up your own account. The pupils will need the email address of the teacher to find the class but this should not be too invasive if they do not know your password. Once they enter this, they find the class and sign in with their own user name and password. Also if you do not want to add 30 or so accounts to the class, you can generate a code which you can then give to the pupils. This will allow them to set up their own accounts which may be a lot faster than the teacher creating all of them.Once they have done this, a page with everyone’s blog posts come up so that they can see if someone has posted something from the last time that they have been there. This is very handy if you were conducting a project where the pupils had to read each others work.
You start off with a basic outline of a blog but can choose different themes to make your blog more fun and appealing to the pupils who are to be using it. We know that many young people will not put in the effort to do the work assigned if the teacher does not make the effort to make the activity fun and creative. Pupils can also add profile pictures and customize their blog to an extent which may make them feel that they have some control over their own blog and experience. For the pupils, I think that they would enjoy something like this; being allowed to venture outside of the textbooks that they may be so used to in many of their classes. They use computers on a daily basis for the sake of down time so why not incorporate this into their schooling. They may be much more versed in the use of technology so why not use it to the advantage of their education?
For those who may also run a Twitter account, the site allows you to join your Twitter account with your kidblog account which can be very useful. You can also pay a fee if you wish to upgrade your account. I have not used this feature so I am not exactly sure what this would entail but one feature is that you can use more themes and such for your blogs. Another cool feature is that you can create more than one class under a teacher’s name. So say for instance, that a teacher has 5 classes which they want to use blogging with. They can create one teacher account but have these 5 classes with all of the different pupils within their account. Each time they log on, they simply choose while the pupils will only have the one option of logging onto their own class.
Again, I am in the very early stages of using the site but I think that this is a very cool site for blogging with students. I plan to keep investigating this site and see what results it produces.