We’re seeing increasing numbers of educators use blogs as digital student portfolios, where students showcase their work and share their learning, throughout their school life.
- Studies have found that the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to pay more attention and learn more (Clive Thomspon).
- When students were asked to write for a real audience in another country, their essays had better organization and content than when they were writing for their teacher (Clive Thomspon).
- Digital student portfolios can be used for application to colleges, Universities or for applying for jobs.
- We all have increased motivation when we feel personal ownership. You see greater improvements in student learning and literacy skills when each student has their own student blog. Blogs allow students to easily transfer the digital student portfolio to their own personal space as all standard blogging platforms allow you to easily transfer content between platforms using export/import.
You can read more about the benefits of student blogging and digital student portfolios here!
Step 1 – Create a class blog
Every teacher should have a class website to keep students and parents up-to-date.
The class blog is the hub that connects the student blogs and helps you manage all your student blogs!
Step 2: Set up My Class
My Class is the ultimate tool for class and student blogging. It allows you to connect student blogs to your class blog where you can control the student blog privacy, comment moderation and post moderation on all student blogs with just one click.
My Class also allows you to transfer student blogs to management of a new teacher at the start of each school year; or remove from My Class, and transfer complete control of the blog to the student, when they leave school.
Here’s how to set up My Class:
1. Go to My Class > Create a Class.
2. Select “This is a class blog” (1), ”No – use if you want them to publish posts on their student blog” (2), choose if you want to moderate posts and comments on student blogs, your preferred privacy option and which users you want to manage your student blogs (3).
3. Click Save.
You can read more about the My Class setting options here.
Step 3: Create your student blogs
Once you’ve set up My Class there are two options for creating student blogs:
- You create the student blogs using My Class > Create Student blogs
- Students to create their own blogs using the Edublogs sign up page and then connect to your class blog using My Class > Join a Class.
Here’s how simple it is to create student blogs:
1. Go to My Class > Create Student blogs.
2. Add username, email address, password, blog URL and blog title.
- This creates their student blogs, adds them as a user to the class blog, adds you as a user to their student blog and connects their student blog with the class blog.
- You can create your student accounts with one email account if you don’t want students to use their own email account.
- Refer to these tips for choosing student usernames, blog URLs and blog titles.
We recommend you use the preset password option and record their username/password/blog URL in a spreadsheet as you create their blogs. Some teacher require students to informed them when passwords are changed so they have a record of the student’s latest password. This is handy for those students who forget password or provided the wrong email address.
3. Click Submit.
Step 4: Add Class blog widget to sidebar
The class blog widget provides a handy link to all student blogs attached to My Class. Students just need to click on the link to easily go to a class mates blog.
1. Go Appearance > Widgets.
2. Add the class blog widget to the desired sidebar.
- Make sure you get your students to add the class blog widget to their sidebar!
5. The widget will automatically open.
6. Select ’No’ under Public only if you are using private blogs (1), alphabetical (2), the number of blogs (3) and then click Save.
- Any time you add any more student blogs to My Class you update the Class blog list by opening up the Class blog widget and clicking Save.
Step 5: Check student posts and comments
Student posts and comments can be checked using My Class > Student blogs or Users > Reports.
My Class > Student blogs is where you’ll see all your student blogs listed. Here is where you can use the Dashboard link to access their blog; where you’ll see the number of published and pending posts / pages / comments on their blogs.
Clicking on pending under a student blog takes you to the pending post or pending comments page inside their student blog dashboard. Where you can edit, approve or publish the post or comment.
Reports, via Users > Reports, allows you to run a report on a specific student. It allows you to check comments they’ve submitted on any blog or posts they have published and choose the date range you want to check.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and feel free to share a link to your class and student blogs too!
For more handy tips check out our blogging with class and student series!