I want to restrict viewing and use of our class blog to students. I would like to have each student have an id such as 6715Billy and a password. All the blogsites I have seen require users to have email addresses, and I want to stay away from email.
I am in the processs of setting up epals for my grade 4 class. I have found that when I send email from outside (my gmail address) it is rejected. Only internal email allowed on epals. At least, at the security setting I have.
I have made phony google emails for my Grade 5 class for edublogs, they are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org, where fi means first two initials of first name, si means first two initials of last name.
With ePals SchoolBlog, you can decide which email accounts can access the blog for your grade 4 students. A parent deployed in Iraq can see the blog if you allow that email access. The parent could have read-only privileges or could write something that you would moderate (you have to approve before it is posted for all to see). It is so much easier to post info once than deal with trying to email people's home or work accounts.
If you set up SchoolMail accounts in ePals, you could limit the students to emailing only you the teacher and their classmates, or only a subset of the education universe as you define it.
Unlike gmail, you have higher level security and control with ePals. If you have one student bullying another through gmail, you need a court order to get a copy of the email. If you have one student bullying another through ePals SchoolMail, you need 15-60 minutes to get a copy. (I know you don't want to get into email.)
As a former district tech director, I advise you think through the total implications of something designed to be used in education (ePals) and something that wasn't (gmail). Also, look on any sites for TRUSTe certification. ePals has it. A lot of sites in education don't meet that high standard for student privacy and safety. Good luck!
Ron, Finally figured out how to set up gmail accounts for my students using my own domain as mentioned above. If you buy a domain from goDaddy (I already had one) you can set up gmails for your kids using your own domain and it sets up automatically. I don't know if it's any more secure than regular gmail (we shall see) but the kids love having the personalized email and I like the ability I have to monitor what they are sending and receiving.
Thanks everybody: I have gone with edublogs - might consider upping our status to "supporter". Have two classes on as contributors, will see how it all works out. Haven't got very far with them, but have two classes of wikispaces.
I think it is coming Ron, I am just not sure when. From what I can gather, there was only so much that Weebly could introduce before the actual launch date they set themselves. There will be further changes at the next update. As I probably said when I emailed you, they contacted me about a week before they launched the product, and this is one of the suggestions I gave them. I said that the more privacy options you give a teacher the better!
I am going to try launching my student websites on a private basis. That way the only people commenting are the students themselves, and it is easier to track down individuals that way. I will only go public with them if I can get full moderation privileges and parental permission. For now, they will all be password protected and not indexed by search engines. They can practice among themselves safely that way.
Moodle is used for online courses, it's like Blackboard. I've used it for online book discussion for 4-6th graders. I have some other ideas for use but never seem to have the time to develop the curriculum.If you want to see the online book discussions, you can log in as a guest. Go here and scroll down to Moodle.