Basically, Kidblog lets you create a safe classroom blog for each of your students for free. It's super-easy to get started; I had signed up and created my first post in about five minutes. Great controls--it's clear that the folks behind this tool get it in terms of what teachers and students need:
- No student email addresses required--just a teacher email to create an account for your class.
- Ad-free, so you don't need to worry about offensive or questionable content.
- You can determine the level of privacy: public, just your class, or just the author and his/her teacher. (Student blogs are set to class-only by default.)
- You can determine who may leave comments (same options as above).
- Teachers can create password-protected parent or guest accounts to allow people outside the class access without making the blogs open to the whole world.
- Teachers can moderate posts and comments, if you want to set it that way.
- It's easy to create individual student accounts, or you can create them in bulk for a whole class at once.
- Individual students can be given permissions to customize the look of their blog to some degree.
If you are familiar with blog sites like Blogger or Wordpress, you'll find Kidblog very easy to use. If you aren't familiar with these kinds of sites, don't worry--I'm pretty sure you'll still find Kidblog easy to use.
Classroom blogging has lots of benefits, as I see it. It's a great way for students to get their ideas out there. Students can interact with each other's ideas easily. Teachers may find their reluctant writers more likely to get started in a digital format. Blogging provides a real reason for writing--beyond just writing for the teacher--and an authentic audience. And blogging can help teach your students some digital citizenship skills that are critical in the 21st Century.
If blogging is something you've thought about doing with your students, but you've been worried about the management or scared to get started, this might be just the tool to give you the nudge and get you going! If you do start blogging with your class, let me know--I'll comment on their work!