Day 9 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Making Posting Easier
Your class blog should be all about your students right? Sometimes it's difficult to get students doing the posting especially if they don't have their own accounts to work from. So here's a few ways to make that a little easier to achieve in your classroom.
Easy Blogger - iPad app
If you've got iPads I highly recommend purchasing the EasyBlogger app here's a link to it in the app store. It's really simple to use once setup and yes even 5 year olds can post to your blog using this app without too much prompting from you. They can choose to post a photo, text or video. They can also add voice to the photo and text if they want to.
The other great thing about this app is they can use content from the camera roll on the iPad, so if they've made a puppet pals video for example they can import that into a blog post using the EasyBlogger app.
There's also settings you can use so that the post goes into your blog as a draft and the teacher can then publish the post once it's been checked. Well worth ensuring this setting is enabled when you first start so students can play with the full power of the app without having to worry about it all ending up on the blog when it shouldn't be there. I'd remove this setting later on, once you're happy your students can successfully determine what is appropriate for your class blog.
Here's a help video that explains how to setup EasyBlogger using a classroom email account:
This video takes a closer look at the settings in EasyBlogger profiles.
Here's a quick tour of how to create a text post using EasyBlogger:
Remember if you have more than 20 iPads and your school is part of the apple volume purchasing programme you can get a substantial discount when purchasing 20 or more apps at once. Each iPad in a classroom situation should have it's own app licence to comply with Apple's App Store and each App Developers terms and conditions.
Posting Via Email
A great way to get photos of students work up to your blog by your students is to make use of the post via email function on your blog. Basically you setup a secret email address for your blog within the settings area. Students send photos and text in an email to the secret email and it is posted onto the blog.
Like the EasyBlogger app you can restrict these posts so that they show up as a draft first, before they're published to the blog.
With the great editing features available in Gmail now under a Google Apps for Education account these posts don't have to be boring. Students can change font colours, sizes, emphasis (bold etc.) as well as adding lists and changing the text alignment.
This Google Help File explains how to setup posting to email.
Always remember to type #end when you've finished typing what you want on your blog post in your email. This will avoid any 'the email is for the intended recipient only...' signatures being added to your blog post.
Blogger App - iPad/Android (FREE, note 12+ rating for both apps)
The blogger app works much the same way as posting via email, as with posting via email there isn't an option to post video. However it's still useful for getting celebrations up on your blog quickly and can be setup using a students own Google Apps for Education account rather than sharing the secret email address like you do when using the post via email function.
You'll need to make sure each email account that's using this feature has author access to your blog. There is no way to restrict these posts to draft posts they will be able to go directly onto your blog. You could always setup procedures with your students though to prevent this from happening if you're worried about it.
Using An Open Google Doc
Another way I thought might be useful is to give students a link to a shared google doc - one where you've made the sharing settings 'anyone with the link can edit'. They could then type their blog posts into an area of the doc and add their photos and links to youtube videos. You could then get 'expert' students to log these posts into blogger using the class account.
Your challenge today is to choose at least one way of making posting easier for your students and implement it. Plan 2-3 short sessions over the next few days and weeks to up-skill a few key students on posting using the way you've chosen.
Remember to add a comment, with your blog address in it, to this post, once you've given it a go so that we can check out your awesome work.