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Kidblog

By Charles G. Doe - Posted May 1, 2011
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Company: Kidblog.org, Minneapolis, Minn., http://kidblog.org/home.php; support@kidblog.org

Price: Kidblog is free.

Audience: Kidblog is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to give each student his or her own blog.

Format: Kidblog is a web-based blog creation and hosting resource.

System Requirements: A computer, browser, and internet access are all that is required. This site is basic enough that it may even work well with older computers.

Description: Kidblog’s simple tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs including giving final approval before student blogs are posted.

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:4 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: Since Kidblog is entirely internet-based, there is no installation beyond creating an account and entering student names. Setting up a free account is a matter of entering a very small amount of information and student names. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Kidblog is a bare-bones blog creation site, but “bare-bones” is good for use with elementary and middle school students. The site is clean and simple without a lot of detail and extras cluttering things up and has an attractive, kid-friendly interface.

Kidblog helps students focus on what’s important by keeping it simple. Login menus allow students to select their name from a list of students in the class. Clutter-free design means less time fussing with widgets and options, and a central blog directory with simple navigation links makes it easy for students to find classmates’ blogs.

Kidblog has excellent privacy features. Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and student accounts, and student blogs are private by default and can be seen only by classmates and the teacher. Parent access can be given by setting up guest accounts that require passwords. This kind of privacy blocks unsolicited comments from outside sources. There is no advertising of any kind, and student and teacher information is not collected.

Once the account is created, logging in takes the teacher to a Dashboard with six tabs at the top. The first tab gives some account information including how much of the 100MB of storage given to each account is used. Other tabs allow changing settings, writing or reviewing posts and making comments, and adding and managing users or creating new classes.

When students log in, they can then use the drop-down menu to look at their posts or comments or write new posts, using simple formatting tools. Digital photos, video, and audio can be included as well. The teacher approves student posts, adding comments that can be seen by everyone in the class or only the writer of the post. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Kidblog is extremely easy to use, partly because it is basic and partly because it has a very intuitive interface with clear instructions. A major feature that simplifies use for teachers is that students don’t need email accounts. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support is weak, consisting of only an email address (support@kid
blog.org). On the other hand, the site is very easy to use, with good instructions, so further support probably won’t be needed. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Kidblog is an excellent site, one of the easiest sites I’ve seen to set up a class with blogging. Every elementary and middle school should take advantage of it with all students who can keyboard well enough to post to the blog. Recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe (charliegd@sbcglobal.net) is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Hastings, Mich. For the past 12 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.


 
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