There are many blogging platforms on the web available for student and/or teacher use. How do educators select a platform for student use? The first thing that must be considered is security of student data and information. Student’s identity and personal information must always be protected from online predators, creditors and anyone else who wish to misuse this information. Ensure that you fully understand the platforms functionality – whether it be public, semi-private or private, and how information is being stored/used by the platform developers. This can be a daunting task, so I suggest consulting your school board to see if they already have a list of approved/unapproved blogging platforms. With the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), they have provided educators and the general public with Web 2.0 guidelines. The guidelines explain how they determine the approval of Web 2.0 tools while considering the ethical and legal implications of using the tool. To see a list of the CBE’s criteria and tools, go to this link: http://www.cbe.ab.ca/learninginnovation/digitalsafety-web2guidelines.asp
The next criteria is determining your student’s skill level. Certain blogging sites are easier to set-up and use than others. From personal experience, I recommend Kidblog for elementary students as it takes about 10 minutes for a teacher to set up their classroom accounts and students have opportunities to personalize their page, in addition to being able to communicate their ideas with media (photographs, audio, links). This site is also on the approved CBE Web 2.0 guidelines which gives me more confidence in using this platform. I recently conducted a survey on blogging use with students and Kidblog was very popular among elementary teachers to date. I will include a poll on this site to see which blog site you prefer for elementary students.
For older students, they have more experience with typing and using Internet websites, so they would work best with a blogging site that allows for more personalization. My recommendation for secondary students would be WordPress or Blogger.
These sites are more complex and have many more options for student personalization. They may require a lot of support when first used, but the end result is worth it! I actually use WordPress as my professional blog site and enjoy using this platform. Having experience writing my own blogs on this site has given me a better understanding of this platform and of how to blog, which I could also share with my students.
For more details on blogging platforms, read these tips from Dr. Fryer: https://medium.com/@wfryer/tips-for-choosing-a-classroom-blog-f83a441f621
Once you’ve selected your blogging platform, take some time to become familiar with its format and styling. Don’t be afraid to consult other teachers who are blogging or use Twitter to find teachers who blog. This is where I have made many professional connections.
Fryer, W. (2015, August 9). Tips for choosing a classroom blog. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@wfryer/tips-for-choosing-a-classroom-blog-f83a441f621