Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2014
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Blogger

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Sparse features offer limited access to a strong blogging platform

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
5-12
Common Sense says (See details)
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Pros: Convenient navigation and clear design make for easy posting on the fly.

Cons: Posting features are extremely limited, and posts randomly appear and disappear.

Bottom Line: Students are better off accessing Blogger-based blogs through their devices’ browsers rather than through this app.

Teachers can use the Blogger app as a dedicated way for students to submit short, simple posts to a class blog. Teachers might also encourage students to post to their own blogs using the app, focusing on helping them compose thoughtful, well-reasoned text rather than multiple links to others’ content. 

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Blogger is the Google app suite’s blogging platform. With a single Google login, users can create blogs and join as contributors on blogs others have created. The Blogger app brings that experience to a simple mobile interface. Users can view all their Blogger blogs at a glance and easily browse each blog’s list of posts. Creating a post is easy. Users can choose to tag their current location, post a saved photo, or take and upload a new photo. Creating a post with the Blogger app feels like the same experience as in other social media: Users can compose text, insert a photo from the camera roll, take a new picture, and tag a location from which the post was made.

Unfortunately, most of the Blogger website’s most useful features are not available through the Blogger app. The Web-based version of Blogger offers flexible features for posting and editing text, including options for inserting block quotes, embedded videos, and links. The inability to add links seems like the clearest oversight, as one of the strengths of blogging is the chance to enter into dialogues with others’ posts and other media.

Indeed, the most convenient way to use the Blogger app reliably is to compose posts in other apps on the device and then cut and paste them into the app itself. This multi-step process is cumbersome. A better solution seems to be to access Blogger through the device’s built-in browser rather than through this dedicated app. 

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The Blogger app isn’t explicitly designed for learning, and it doesn’t seem like an especially reliable choice for education. With this app, users can’t select frequently used tags for their posts or include links, making it tough to create content that connects to other information on the blog or on the Internet as a whole. For an extremely simple blogging experience that demands thoughtful but simple entries from students, Blogger could be a fine choice. For anything more demanding, the app has stability issues, and drafts and posts seem to save inconsistently.

It’s a shame this app is as uneven as it is. Blogger is a reliable, flexible blogging platform, and this dedicated app provides surprisingly limited access to many of the features that make the platform a great choice for teachers. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Posting features echo other social media interfaces and are helpfully intuitive. Predicting when an entry will post properly or when it might disappear is difficult, however, making this a tough app to commit to regular use.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Without the ability to include links or to select from a list of frequently used tags for posts, the Blogger app limits users' ability to maximize use of the platform.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The at-a-glance index of blog posts makes this an especially readable way to track and assess a blog’s contents.


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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