Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2016

Edublogs

Customizable classroom blogs get students writing and collaborating

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (15 Reviews)

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Pros: Teachers will find it easy to communicate with parents about the work students are doing.

Cons: The annual fee for Pro might be hard to meet for teachers in budget-strapped schools.

Bottom Line: This rich and safe blogging tool makes it easy for teachers and students to extend the classroom into a wider community.

Blogs can be surprisingly useful, and instant publication motivates kids to write. You can set up individual student accounts in a single blog, creating a community. You can also set up individual blogs for students, establishing a network. You could use the space to communicate with parents and administrators about what your class is doing and encourage your class to contribute collaboratively to a classroom newsletter.

Be careful when choosing privacy options, and use the platform as an opportunity to discuss online safety and privacy with students, as well as the digital footprint they may be creating.

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Blogging is a popular way to publish and write in many classrooms. What makes Edublogs stand out is the combination of easy setup and use, strong support services, flexible administrative options, and peace of mind around spam and privacy issues. The blog can be highly customized with sidebar content, menus, widgets, and themes. Edublogs is built on the WordPress platform and has a Chrome and an iOS app

There's a free version, but it has limits around media use. The Pro account comes with bells and whistles, including valuable server space for uploading and hosting photos, podcasts, and videos, and it also gives administrators fast access to technical support. There's a yearly cost. However, support is a key component, and if you've ever been in the middle of a lesson when things go haywire and you're scrambling for a fix, you know how valuable personal service can be.

Edublogs is good for keeping everyone in your class on the same page (literally). Also, creating a blog on the site is easy. Establish the name of your blogging space, the URL you want to use (which is attached to the edublogs.org address), and some personal information as the administrator, and your blog is up and running. What might take a little time is picking a design theme for your space, considering options around discussions (do you moderate comments or not?), creating a sidebar of links to connected sites, and more. But you and your students can be blogging within minutes of setup.

Edublogs is just the platform for student writing and digital creation. How good it is for learning depends on the types of meaningful experiences that teachers create for the students and the level of collaboration that takes place. If teachers can provide authentic experiences, allow students to interact in rigorous ways, and get students thinking about digital citizenship, then the potential for learning is there. 

Overall Rating

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

The potential for an authentic audience motivates students as writers and creators. Edublogs can be a fun place for students to play with tone and voice.

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

Teachers can integrate any subject area as part of a daily writing and publishing routine, either publicly or privately. The quality of meaningful learning that occurs is up to the teacher. 

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 vibrant support forum has plenty of tips for teachers and students. The Pro account comes with quick support services, and the intuitive design makes account setup relatively painless.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 15 reviews) (15 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Rachel M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, United States
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.
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