Build 21st Century Skills Through Blogging
I purchased the Pro account for my classes as I saw they had dozens more customization options among other features. It definitely took me some time to play around with things and get all of my students' blogs in "my class". There are many "help" articles on the site. I did email the company for support as I got frustrated at one point reading through all of the help articles, and someone responded immediately and with clear instruction. I love that my students' blogs all have their own style. Commenting so far has been smooth and easy. The posts look very professional, and I think my students take pride in that. Writing for a public audience has also been a very valuable experience for the kids. There are many privacy options, so I think teachers could find a way to make this site work well for their specific needs.
How I Use It
My students were blogging about special interest topics in our Spanish class. They had to create and customize their own blog pages and write a post. (We will probably continue to post as the year goes on.) Students had to follow guidelines and a rubric which provided some direction yet still flexibility and room for creativity. Students were required to include photos and/or videos and were encouraged to include hyperlinks. My students were not familiar with some of these concepts and had to play around with formatting, which I think was a valuable use of time. Students commented on each other's blogs (I did not set a strict amount of comments as I wanted the process to be natural and not too contrived.) I am currently searching for partner schools in Spanish-speaking countries to read and comment on our blogs, as well.