Gone are the days of students publishing writing so it can be posted on the wall of the classroom so an occasional visitor can take a peek at their writing. Kidblog.org has inspired student writing in my 4th grade classroom like nothing I have experienced before. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that my students now have an authentic purpose and meaning to publishing their writing. They now have a real audience who can read their posts and leave thoughtful comments. This year I have fallen in love with using Kidblog.org. I met the creators of Kidblog on accident at ISTE12. I was looking for a place to put my feet up and chat with someone new and I sat myself down at a table with two guys wearing matching royal blue Kidblog.com T-shirts. Low and behold that conversation inspired a change to my writing program that my students LOVE!
My students and I have been anxiously awaiting an iOS app from Kidblog.com where we can easily post and comment on blogs and it is finally here! The app works great for updating and adding new posts, commenting, adding photos, attachments, video, and has become a regular tool in my classroom to help as a workflow solution. Quite often my students begin their publishing on the Kidblog app on their iPod and we will finish the project in the computer lab. Also, we can then use the published text for other projects in the lab like Keynote, Pages, Wordle.net, Comic Life, etc.
If you haven’t been using Kidblog, I highly recommend creating an account for you and your class. Kidblog allows you (as the teacher) to control the security settings. For example, you can keep your class’ blogs secure so that only students in your class can read and comment on each other’s blog posts. Or you can open the blog site up to other Kidblog users. In addition, you can make it so your students’ posts and comments do not appear unless you have approved them. This may help relieve those of you who are nervous about opening your students up to potential cyber-bullying incidents. However, I started out with a lot of control; approving all posts and comments. I quickly realized that not only was it difficult to keep up with moderating, but also the valuable instant feedback from student to student was lost as students waited for me to “approve” their posts and comments. I decided to spend more time teaching valuable digital citizenship skills with my class. This was time well spent with my students as they will carry these skills home with them. All of my students know that when we are online, following the “Golden Rule” is always important. In addition, they know this phrase well, “Once on the internet; always on the internet.”
So if you are looking for a way to engage young writer’s explore Kidblog.org. This is where your students can share their voice, creativity, and learn how to effectively communicate with a real audience.
Link to AppStore: Kidblog App
iOS: iPod, iPhone, iPad