Thursday, June 08, 2006

Learnerblogs Are Good Things

Our summer blog is underway! As I mentioned before, we are using Thus far, I am liking the multi-user Wordpress blogs that James Farmer makes available for students for free. I had never used that platform before, but I am finding it easy to use and powerful.

Even this early on, I am impressed with how well it fits educational purposes. For example, although students need an email address to register, I was able to create all the student accounts using my own email address; many sites won't let you do that. I appreciate being able to choose whether or not people need to give an email address to be allowed to leave comments -- many children don't have email accounts and this would have prevented them from leaving comments. I love that I can choose to moderate comments before they are posted. And of course, I am able to set up my students as contributors which means their posts go through me before they are visible on the internet. One wish is a way to leave editorial comments for the blogger prior to approving the article for posting. Thus far, I've just typed a note in itallics at the top of the draft, but the student may not realize I've left them a comment; they may just think I haven't gotten around to approving it yet.

I like that the posts from all our users appear together on the main page, but that by clicking on the students' names in the category list on the side of the blog, you pull up a page of just that student's posts. This combination gives the students the feel of having their own blog, while still giving them the increased visibility that comes with a multi-user blog.

That brings up my biggest worry; since we are no longer in Blogmeister where other students are likely to find us, and since Learnerblogs doesn't have an index that makes it easy for others to find us, I worry that no one will visit our blog.

If you are interested, please visit our new blog and leave a few comments. The writing will be rougher than our previous blogs because I'm no longer editing with them, but the enthusiasm is high. If you still have students, please feel free to have them visit our blog as well. Please let us know where you are writing from if you leave a comment.