I’ve been an active blogger since 2005, and the experience has created countless connections and opportunities. A personal “mommyblog” lead to a permanent gig with The Houston Chronicle which, as a journalism major, helped me check “journalist” off my bucket list.
I use that experience to let my students know that their voices have power NOW. The trick is to hone their tone and message to be most effective: Kidblog is the perfect tool to get them started.
Kidblog is self-contained, following the popular Blogger.com model. The big difference is that it can’t be accessed without a “secret code” that you give the students. Once you set up a classroom, you will have your own personal classroom blog that can serve as an information hub. From there, depending on how you set up the classroom, students can comment on your posts. If you want to take it a step further, students can each have their own blog that they can customize with a theme (they love this feature). Their blog is only visible to students within the classroom, so they can collaborate & comment on one another’s ideas.
Kidblog also comes with an iDevice app, so any Apple-enabled student can read, post or comment from their devices. Unfortunately, there isn’t an Android app yet, so if you’re working off a BYOD situation, you may run into problems. I also found the iPhone app was a little buggy when you’re hosting more than 1 blog (I have 8 classes, so I generated 8 separate “classrooms”). I suspect the developers are probably working on that, though. The web interface is rock-solid.
Because the interface mimics popular blogging sites Blogger & WordPress, the skills that the kids learn are easily transferable into a real-world situation. Aspiring writers can get their content on the web easily after exposure to this great tool!
UPDATE: The service now has a Premium edition that will cost you $29 per year, but you can still get the basic edition for free.