I started this post on twitter, I asked teachers why use Kidblog and I collected their responses. I also grabbed some tweets from a recent #CAEDCHAT on paperless teaching. Check out these responses as well as the linked posts about kidblog and blogging.
I love Lisa Lund's response and that is where I decided to start this post.
Lisa says she likes KidBlog because it is safe, easy to use, no email needed,created by an educator, and free. Her reasons closely match my own experience.
The teacher can also choose to moderate all of the posts. I like to do this so I know that someone has looked at each post before it goes live. I don't do this for editing, I do this for the community. I want to make sure that the students are posting work that in appropriate and caring.
Once the students can read each other's posts and comment on them a second level of "safety by design"
Easy To Use
This summer I was successful using Kidblog with 100 students 5 days a week because it was so easy to use. When I needed my students to do something new with Kidblog I generally could make a screencast, talk through it once in class while showing them what to do and set them loose. I posted the screencast to google drive because our web filter did not allow us to use Youtube, here is a collection of my "How to use KB" posts.
Kidblog is not the world's most flexible blogging platform, they have limited the choices down to a manageable number, this keep it from being overwhelming (or easily breakable.) The ease of use partly benefits the students as it keeps them from being frustrated with the platform. After just a bit of instruction they almost ignore the interface and focus on the post they are writing. Moreso, the design benefits the teacher. I can make changes in settings or site design quickly. When I need to moderate posts all of that work is in the same place. I can search posts by user, tag, or words in the post. I enjoyed how quickly I could find a specific student post even once we had over 700 posts on the site.
No email required
Students sign up my entering a "secret code" you give them and a user name and password. You can also register students yourself by uploading a spreadsheet of user names and passwords. This makes it very simple to get kids on the site without the hassle of remembering which email was used or the barrier that many younger students don't yet have email accounts.
The other option it allows is signing in with your google profile. I enjoy this as it speeds up the login process and allows me to sign in with 2 clicks and not typing. This is another great example of how Kidblog had been developed to best serve teachers and students.
Designed by a Teacher
Matt Hardy, co-founder of Kidblog, built the first version of KidBlog to serve his own classroom. I was lucky enough to talk with him at the 2012 EdcampSFBay. Before our conversation OI was concerned about safety and workflow of a blog. After our conversation I was inspired and on fire. I knew I had to bring blogging into my classes.
At some point in the future I know we will talk again and when that happens I will have a camera rolling. Luckily Achieve MLPS had him speak for their EdTalks series.
In an age of freemium and pay to play Kidblog remains free for teachers to use with class sizes up to 200 students. There are some great upgrades in the works for KidBlog, but their dedication to free access for teachers is unchanging. Thanks KidBlog!
A common question about Kidblog:
@SamPatue Do you think kidblog would be good for HS students?This is a great question and one I had as I began using KidBlog with my 9th grade students: would they be turned off by the name? I was impressed by how quickly they took to the blog. While the name may be Kidblog, there are a great selection of themes that can give their blogs a personal and mature look.
— Ryan Archer (@ArcherMHHS) July 18, 2013
What are your questions about kidBlog?
Do you use Kidblog with your class?
Do you use another platform?
Share your links and questions below. I look forward to talking with you about blogging with students of all ages.