This year at Hong Kong Academy we have rolled out class websites and blogs to all primary classrooms. I am now collecting all statstics from the roll out including number of posts, visitors, audience, why some posts have more visitors, comments etc. and looking for things to improve our class blogs. One of the discussions has been about password protection.
At the moment all of our classes are, but we are looking into what other schools are doing. For many of us we want to reach a wider audience to forge connections for our students, share what we are doing and learn from others. This is difficult to do from behind a password.
We realise that there are many issues with this, from parent perception, control of comments and much more. I am hoping to collect a list of what schools are doing and begin to forge links with people about how they are running their class websites.
I have created this document to help collate some of that information and help us link up, as well as through here.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Avbg9ziu2x0MdDc5ei1vX3... What are your thoughts?
Primary ICT Coordinator
Hong Kong Academy
One way we've done this is through our Writers' Club - http://thenorthschool.com/writersclub . We avoid spam (and any other dodgy comments) through requiring students to be members of the community. Teachers and students can decide whether to make their blogs visible to the whole world or just the community. We currently have around 650 writers from 30 schools in 11 countries, so it seems to be quite effective for us - we've had no dramas in over a year of operation. It's also voluntary (we only have passionate writers on our site from our school) so you don't have kids on there that aren't interested and may cause problems.
This looks like a great project. I'm going to revisit your site at the start of next year and see if we have some students who might want to join.
If you're interested, you might want to sign up here, as we're getting quite a few schools signing up for the new school year : http://thenorthschool.com/writersclub/join-us/
Forgot to mention, of course, any kids there would be welcome to join....
This year I decided to try a Posterous site with my fourth grade class. They post via school division email accounts rather than log into the site. They can also reply to posts using their email. It was a strategy to simplify the process.
Classblogmeister - I use this blog tool over any other blog sites because a teacher can set it up so that everything that is posted has to be approved by him/her. Instead of using student names, students login name is their initials and the year they graduate from high school. I am a tech integrator, so not only does the classroom teacher have the teacher password for behind the scenes work, but so do I. That way I can help with approving of comments and articles, but ultimately it is the classroom teacher's responsibility. During the summer break I move student blogs from their previous classroom into their new classroom. This allows for student work to follow them from 2nd grade to 5th grade. If you would like to see how students are using their blogs click here, Mrs. Gleason's Website, then click on a teacher's name, then click on a student's initials/log-in name.
Thanks for sharing your blogs.
My school uses a programme called Schoology, it has all the perks of a class website, plus all of the ease and accessabilitiy that facebook has. Parents need to log in, where they can see all of their childrne in one place, includin homework, calender, photos ect.
There are fees involved but all of our parents have been thrilled with it so far! I can also send emails directly through the site to other parents schoologys accounts which has been great as our school got blacklisted as spam a few times due to the volume of emails coming from our server.
I looked into Schoology when it first came out. I decided against it because it was so new and untested. I'm pleased to here that you are having success with it.
Andy, some of my classes are using Kidblog.org for their blogs. The posts and the comments are open to anyone who wants to read or comment, making them easily shared and then easily as accessible. All posts are submitted for review and all comments are moderated prior to their being posted.
My class uses KidBlog.org and I like it for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that all posts and comments have to be teacher approved. Each student's blog is link into the entire class blog. It is open for the public to read and comment. It works nicely for any age kids.