Hi all.
I have posted before about 21classes, so I'm hoping there are some out there with answers.
I have been using it with my students this semester. Although it has glitches and navigating the administration part is sometimes infuriating because of its counter intuitive menus and submenus that duplicate each other and overlap too much, my students are loving its more effective and robust features. I have been able to live with the glitches and workarounds, but recently I noticed some things:

1. their support is weak. they respond inconsistently or not at all to email and phone message.
2. the blog they have on 21publish.com hasn't been updated in about a year.
3. as of yesterday, the site is down and there is nothing on their blog helping their users understand why it is down, what is being done, or when it might be back up.

Is anyone out there in 2.0 land using this site? It has been my least worst option for student blogging. I like that my students don't need email to use it. I like that I get to view and okay comments and entries. I like most of its functions. But I'm getting frustrated and I am starting to think that maybe this company is not being run very well behind the scenes. I don't want to believe that, but I don't want to be in denial either. I see a lot of positive feedback for edublogs online, but my trial with them disappointed.

I'm anxious for thoughts, comments, especially for those that have direct experience with 21classes, or teachers who can offer comparisons of 21classes with other student blogging sites they have used.

Thanks!

Robert
Los Angeles
Middle School 2.0 Enthusiast

Tags: 21classes, blogs, student

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Our class blog isn't working either. I contacted their support - I'll let you know if I hear anything. I have used 21 classes for over a year now and haven't had much problems - but there also hasn't been any changes/upgrades to it since I started using it. Wonder if the company had changed their focus???
Thanks Colette.
I'll let you know if I hear anything also.
Robert
If you can take the time (to overcome the learning curve) I cannot speak highly enough of Drupal. Since we adminster our classroom blog locally it can be set up exactly like you want it. Our classroom blog is served privately but I bet you could get a blog served for $5.00-$6.00 a month.
I've been considering hosting our own blog for some time now. I like your layout - simple and clean and easy to access everyone's blogs at the same time. Do you do any comment moderation?
Only people with an account can comment (parents, kids, and classroom teachers), I do not moderate the kids comments but I could. In almost three years I've only had to delete 2 posts---one because it was a diary-like entry "got up, ate breakfast etc" and the other because it was about Ed Gein, a serial killer who was also a cannibal!! I did have to delete a comment recently because the commenter was dissing the person--not their opinion. The kids know that this a is 'formal' writing experience, no txting or IM lingo--- I've written several posts on recent blogging frustrations on one of my teacher blogs.

Ps My blog is on the front page of A Really Different Place, I post to try to get the kids engaged but most of the time they do their own thing.
I use Gaggle.net. You don't need email accounts for students, it does however create generic ones that the students can use w/i Gaggle itself. They can blog -on your blog or they can create their own. They can chat, access message boards, and what is new is that it is going to be having a new interface and will have a HW drop box. What is great about this is that it is very user friendly, you can monitor everything the students to from when they log into, to how long they were on it, who they posted to or emailed. You can limit what they can get into and block features. This has been the only site for student blogging that I really like using. You can connect with other schools around the world too, which is nice. Def. a site worth checking out. And the service and response time is amazing. They are prompt and very nice.

There is a free account you can set up or pay a really small fee to get added features.

Hope that was helpful.

**Side note-I had started a discussion on Skype resources/sites that I am hoping to get some feedback on. ;-)
I will definitely check out Gaggle. And your discussion too. Thanks.
I have also been using 21classes for about a year and have liked it a lot. But like you, I have had trouble with them being responsive. I found you and this site by searching for questions I have about why 21classes is not working. I have been on break this past week and last looked on Monday. When did the problem start? I am nervous as there was a good deal of work posted on their server.

I am interested to see what the alternatives might be.
Hey. Good to know I'm not alone. I connected yesterday until around 9pm PST.
I'm currently looking at other options, including ClassChatterLive.com which is less sexy but more intuitive and useful for a teacher. I too have a lot of content on my 21classes, or, I should say, my students do, and I'm anxious to see it back up. I think I'll be looking elsewhere soon, however. Keep me posted on your status and I'll do the same. Thanks for finding me.
Robert
Spoke with them early this morning. They were apologetic. I look forward to participating in classroom 2.0 about blogging and social networking in the classroom.
I'm back on too. Message I received:
Thanks for your mail and please excuse the inconvenience.

Unfortunately we had a downtime of one of our servers, which has been solved
now. You can access your portal without any problems.

In case of further questions or if you need any assistance, please contact us.

Thanks and Best Regards,
The 21Classes Support Team - Cooperative Learning
http://www.21classes.com
Same for me. Back on. But students keep getting Proxy Server Error message.

I'm switching to ClassChatterLive.com. I'll let all know how it goes.
It's cheaper and it has unlimited student blogs and it has no advertising and promises to never have advertising. It's cleaner, better organized, less sexy, but more functional with easier ways to see quick views of student progress on an assignment by assignment basis.

Robert

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