Monday, June 05, 2006

Once Again, What should we do with our Blogs?

Monday starts the last week of school. My students are asking questions about their journals and their blogs. I'm not certain what to do. The blogs are easiest to think about. I see a multi-tiered approach. I think I will send home a parent letter with the following options.
  1. Do nothing, or tick the "Remove Blog" option. - I will remove the blog at the end of the year. This is the easy option. I will remove it rather than just leave it there to free up server space and to keep visitors from writing comments that are never read by the blogger.
  2. Let Blogmeister blog remain in place, with parent agreeing to oversee content. I will continue to monitor comments and delete the inappropriate ones, but I will not continue to monitor quality before an article is published. That becomes the parent's job. This option has the advantage of letting the children continue to use a platform they are familiar with, and keeps me in touch with them.
  3. Move blog to a new platform, or start a new blog on a new platform. I am thinking of offering to help the children set up a blog at either Blogger or Learner Blogs. Blogger has the advantage of being easy to use, of having spell check, and of me knowing how to use it well. It has the problem of being out there on its own so no one may find their blog, and it has that darned button at the top that randomly takes them to another blog which may or may not be appropriate. I can take that button out, but if they change templates, it will be back again. Learner Blogs are more powerful, and may link them with other student bloggers, but none of us have used Wordpress, so there will be a learning curve for teacher and student just at a time when we are not going to be seeing each other. I personally plan to start an Edublogs blog so I can learn Wordpress. I may want to use it with teachers in Singapore, so I want to get up to speed.
In terms of the journals, I am at more of a loss. They can remain in Moodle, but since I can't get Moodle to notify me when something new is posted, I'll need to keep checking it manually. That seems like a set up for failure. I checked Nicenet, but it won't notify me either. I wish they just had email accounts; they would meet our needs beautifully. I could offer to give the students Gmail accounts, but it requires that families already have an email address, and my most avid journal writers don't have that. We can get around it using my .Mac aliases, but it all seems iffy. They just may have to write me letters! One final option may be I need to check it out to see if it will work for us. The registration period may take too long.