Welcome to our free professional development series on class and student blogging!
This series consists of a range of activities that take you through the process of class and student blogging. While many of the class blog examples we’ve included are from primary grades, the same principles apply for class blogs regardless of student age (including adult learners).
The activities can be completed at your own pace and in any order!
Wherever you’re at – we’ll step you through the tasks designed to increase your skills while providing mentors who’ll support your learning. Don’t stress, have fun, and remember to ask for help by leaving a comment any time you need assistance!
This activity is is all setting up your student blogs.
Click on a link below to go to the section you want to work on:
- Why educators use student blogs
- Examples of student blogs
- Tips for creating student blogs
- Create your student blogs
- Other My Class Tips
- What Now?
Why educators use student blogs
Educators normally start of with a class blog where they write the posts, and the students respond by writing comments.
This gives the teacher time to increase their skills while gradually introducing their students to blogging and educating them on appropriate online behaviour.
However, as student’s age increases educators are more likely to have them to write posts on their own student blog.
Student learning and writing improves faster when each student has their own blog as ownership is an important part of blogging. We all have increased motivation when we feel personal ownership. So you generally find students are more motivated by their own blogs when class blogging is done well.
Another key benefit of student blogs are they can be used as their ePortfolio to create an archive of your student’s learning.
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Examples of Student blogs
Here are examples of real student blogs to check out for ideas:
- Millie’s Magical Blog - 8 years old
- Abi’s Blog – 9 years old
- Jarrod’s Aweome Blog – 9 years old
- BB’s Awesome Blog – 9 years old
- Jaden’s Awesome Blog – 9 years old
- Mirian’s Magical Moments – 10 years old
- Teagan’s Terrific Blog - 12 years old
- This and That
Tips for creating student blogs
You can use any blogging platform you would like including Edublogs, WordPress and Blogger, however when we write detailed instructions they will refer to Edublogs. You will be able to adapt this information to the blogging platform you are using.
Here is some important things to consider before creating your student blog:
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1. Student Usernames and Blog URLs
Educators normally use the same name for both the student’s username and blog URL. Keep them simple and easy for the student to remember.
Most use a combination of their student’s first name followed by numbers that might represent the year, class number and/or school initials. They do this to protect the identity of the student by not including their last name and to ensure their username is unique (as Edublogs has close to 1,000,000 users).
For example, username misty16 or mistybp16. For example, username mistybp16 and blog URL mistybp16.edublogs.org.
If you want the students to use the blog for their entire school life then use a combination of letters combined with a number that represents the year they started school or are finishing school.
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2. Add yourself to your student blogs
Always add yourself as an administrator to your student blog.
This means if you need to edit/delete a post, page or comment you can quickly access their blog from your blog dashboard.
We’ll show you how to do this using My Class tool below.
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3. Moderate Comments
Educators either prefer to let their students moderate their own comments or they moderate all the comments for their students. There are pros and cons to each approach.
For those comfortable with students moderating comments we recommend you subscribe to the comment feeds from your student blogs — here is how to subscribe to their comments using Google Reader.
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Create your Student blogs
Now you’ve done all the research it’s time to create your student blogs!
The easiest way to set up and manage all student blogs is using My Class.
My Class can be used to:
- Quickly create student blogs.
- Allow students to publish their own posts on their student blogs (and the class blog) OR configure it so all student posts must be reviewed by a teacher.
- Control comment moderation settings on student blogs.
- Control the privacy settings on all student blogs with just one click!
- Quickly enable extra features on student blogs to increase their storage space, enable mobile blogging, allow them to embed any code, access Premium themes and so much more.
- Quickly preview all moderated posts and comments in one location.
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To get started you just need to Create a Class as follows:
1. Go to My Class > Create a Class.
2. Select ‘This is a class blog’, choose your settings and click Save.
Below are the settings you need to use if you want to moderate all posts and comments on student blogs.
You can read more about the My Class setting options here.
3. Once you’ve created your class there are two options for creating student blogs:
- You create the student blogs using My Class > Create Student blogs
- Students to create their own blogs using the Edublogs sign up page
How to create Student blogs using My Class
Here’s how you can create the students blogs yourself using My Class:
1. Go to My Class > Create Student blogs.
2. Add username, email address, password (optional), blog URL and blog title then click Submit.
This creates their student blogs, adds them as a user to the class blog, adds you as a user to their student blog and connects their student blog with the class blog.
3. The student blogs are created and all student blogs are listed in My Class > Student blogs where you manage all pending posts and comments.
How students create their own blog and join your Class
Here are the instructions you need to give to students to create their own blogs:
1. Go to Edublogs.org sign up page
2. Enter your details, your blog details and then click Start blogging
3. On the next page your login details are displayed.
4. When you click on Login into your new blog you’re taken to your blog dashboard.
- Make sure you write down your password if you use our no email option otherwise you won’t be able to reset it.
5. Log into their blog dashboard and go to My Class > Join Class.
6. Search for your class blog.
7. Click on Send a request to join.
Now all you need to do is go to My Class > Student blogs inside your Class blog and click Approve.
Once you’ve done this all your student blogs will be listed on this page where you’ll be able to view all pending posts, pages and comments on your My Class > Student blogs page.
Other My Class tips
Other features included in My Class include:
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1. Easily link to all student blogs in every blog sidebar
You can easily add a link to all your student blogs using the Class Blog widget as follows:
1. Go to Appearance > Widgets.
2. Click on the arrow on the desired Sidebar to open up the sidebar (so you can add the widgets).
3. Drag the Class Blog widget from the Available Widgets into the desired Sidebar.
You drag by click on the widget with your left mouse and moving the widget.
4. Drop the widget when you see a dashed line appear – this indicates the widget is in place.
5. The widget will automatically open — just configure, click Save and then Close.
You’ll find more information on my Class here:
- Create a Class using “My Class” tool
- How do students create their own blog and join a Class?
- How do I create student blogs using My Class?
- How do students add an existing blog to a Class?
- How do I add students as users to a Class?
- How do I change a student’s email address?
- Moderate Comments and Posts
How did you go?
Feel free to leave any questions you are having (or tips/advice) as well.
This is the last activity in our series on class and student blogging. We hope it helped!