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Student Writing: Blogs

This post is a bit specific, written for a colleague: if none of this helps you, swipe on by.

The question is how to start student blogging and grading with an LMS like Canvas.

There are a few paths to take, and of course, if your district allows Google products, things like Blogger, etc. are easy. However, Blogger can be a bit risky for students, and I had a lot of trouble with it with my district’s firewalls, etc. For over ten years, my greatest success came with Edublogger. Before a district contact left the district, he was asking me about it, but unfortunately, my recommendation left with him.

Here’s what I love about Edublog:

  • You can set up a ProAccount for a very low yearly cost.
  • You can have students create their own blogs you can supervise and manage. That gets a bit advanced, and I would try it at the start:
    • Set up an Edublog site for all students, (and go through the Gmail process if students don’t have email addresses) (Edublog’s support is unparalleled)
    • Important: make sure students do not use their real names but come up with an avatar name. You will be able to see your users
  • In Canvas, set up an assignment that requires the students to either a. put in a URL or b. a Text file and they’ll past the URL DIRECTLY TO THEIR POST. Yes, ALL CAPS because this is important: when you have 150 students writing blog posts it’s is up to them to direct you to their post.
    • Canvas assignments will allow you to provide a rubric to a post, give it a score, etc. This is a 21st Century technology standard. Have students learn how to import media, YouTube, embed HTML code, tag, and add the proper categories.

Canvas.jpg

Canvas has great discussion capabilities, but it doesn’t have a blogging option.

4. ALSO IMPORTANT: give them author status so you don’t have to approve of every post. You are still the administrator and can delete or edit any post a student writes.

5. You can change the privacy settings in Edublogs so only students and parents can see what’s posts.

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This is the site I’ve used in the past and will continue next year (back to ELA/SS! YAY!) http://readingroadtrip.edublogs.org/

If you want to try to join my site as an author to see what it looks like from the students’ point of view, here is a link: https://edublogs.org/?join-invite-code=153925-testcode

I’ve had students post on class blogs, writing club blogs, etc. You may have noticed I use WordPress for my personal teaching blog, and no longer Edublogs. The reasons are simple: it’s my professional work and I may choose to monetize it.

Students’ voice and choice are critical to their engagement and growth. There are few things more powerful than a student who chooses to write and share his thinking.

 

2 Comments »

  1. Your colleague might also want to look at Write About. I only used it briefly, but I liked a lot of the features it offered especially to help students find groups and writing ideas. I liked that I could add proofreading comments that only the student could see. I used both Edublogs and Kidblogs at different times. Of course, with all your Edublog years, your colleague would have an expert on the tool at her disposal. Ok, now I’ve got to get back to packing.

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