FYI: This will be my first year teaching. I am the new 8th and 9th grade computers teacher in a small rural school.

Q: What is the best way to publish student work?

My first thought was that I could post student work on my google site. Unfortunately google only allows 100mb per site and it does not take all file types. Then I thought students could create a google site and have them post their work to their own site. However, after thinking about it I am not so sure that would be best since the student can access and change it at anytime. If inappropriate things were posted then it would be on my hands.

So what are your suggestions? Should I ask the school to give me room on their website? How should I monitor student publishing?

Thank you very much in advance.


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To start out you could have one class blog and submit the student work. I use blogger for my own blog and it is a no brainer. You could use the student name and title, post the writing and other students could comment. Easy. I, personally, would not allow student to have their own blogs unless you are co-author and plan to watch everything they post--I think you'd be asking for trouble. Blogs are not really e-portfolios (a place to archive student work for posterity!)

Lots of things to think about---learn about each platforms options and decide what you want to do. The right answer will come to you. N.

I don't use ning, my kids are too young but I've heard that kids can easily access other nings, some of which have inappropriate and adult content.

Wikis are safe but not very attractive. Each kid could have his/her own page to submit work but there is no "comment" option without opening up the page to editing by others. Discussions and response is not the purpose of a wiki.
What about wetpaint? This is a wiki that has threaded discussions (which can be moderated) - although student emails are required. Have not used with students yet - still trying to get ADULTS to move out of their comfort zone and try it.
I'd recommend that you go out today and create a blog. There is absolutely nothing standing in your way. You might go and create a wiki too.

Giving them a run yourself will go a long way to helping you understand how they function and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.
I looked at some of your wikis. Good job! You have done a lot of work! Do you allow students to post and edit information or do you have them submit it to you first?
Thank you very much to all of you for the useful information!
My former superintendent went with an opt out upon request. but I am no longer comfortable with that. I had the parents for two years and we knew each other well. It is time to have an explicit policy--board approved.

What I am working on is a spectrum of options for each student and parent to consider outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each option. WordPressMU offers 5 options for access to content. I discussed these options and others in a recent blog post.

I agree with Anne that blogs are a great way to start. My experience is that the students like the ownership it provides. I also plan on working with elgg this year for a student managed digital portfolio and perhaps social network.
So WordPress MU is hosting software? I would still need a host such as the school network?

What blog providers do use or recommend?

Free is important to me.

Anyone can chime in on this one.
WordPressMU per se is free and open source software. It must be hosted on a server. If the school has the capacity, then it could be put on a school server. If it doesn't then server space can be rented very inexpensively.

Edublogs runs on WPMU.

I prefer self hosted because of privacy and data ownership. Nobody is aggregating and examining browsing trend and habits. That being said, there are hosted services that have better TOS than others. Many TOS exclude children under 13 because of COPPA. The TOS should be read closely and approved by the appropriate parties.
I will look into it more.
Do you recommend any hosted services offhand?

I might go with a hosted service the first year as a test run.

Then again I wanted privacy and ownership I could just use blackboard. However, it's just not the same and I am not even sure if students can have their own space.
For the last 5 hours I have read a lot about blogging and wikis. I want to do both now!

Here is my idea. After writing this post and reading so much about blogging and wikis that I thought since I am not an expert in computer science I could have students create blogs and wikis early on and the school year will consist of primarily learning new computer science material through the use of blogs and wikis. For example: to teach students about computer operations and hardware I could have the students create a wiki and assign them to different topics about hardware and basic operations. I know this is not new, but it's exciting to me!

What do you think? Any suggestions?
Sounds good, there are several glitchy things about wikis (I used wikispaces) that I found un-nerving at the time, for example-- adding pages to the navigation automatically adds a new page, so you don't need to use the add new page function. So, may I suggest you set up the first wiki with the pages/topics you want the kids to use--that'll make navigation easier. Also when we did wikis in 2007 and 2008 all the kids needed user names and passwords and with wikispaces that meant emailing the wikiguys with your class lists and they would send you usernames and passwords.

Another hint--I make a spread sheet of all computer related usernames and passwords in case kids forget and in some cases I need to access their accounts. Good Luck, N.
Thanks Nancy!

What did you do for usernames? Just first names with last name initial?

What did you use for a blog host?

I will have have about 100-120 kids this semester. I will for sure make a spread sheet.



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