This is the first in a series of forum posts asking for feedback on the software and services around the different categories of Classroom 2.0 programs. Today we start with blogging. What programs or services do you use? Blogger, Edublogs, Wordpress, ClassBlogmeister, 21Classes, or some other?

Which are your favorites and why?
What features are important to you?
(If you're feeling verbose) What are the pros and cons of the programs you've tried?

Hopefully, these discussions will provide an unparalleled reference for new users making choices about what tools to use.

Tags: blogging, reviews

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How to remove the top navbar in the new blogger templates. I took this css suggested here and added it to the template on a test blog of mine, so far it works:

#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none;
}
Susan -- Thanks for this bit of blogger technical advice!
I have initiated student blogging at the middle and elementary school level in two international schools in the last two years. Both schools have opted to use James Farmer's Edublogs service because of its educational focus and the frequent and consistent updates which allow users to keep up with technological advances (like embedded podcasts, video content, and slideshow presentations).

Learnerblogs is a great tool for students because the user interface is simple and they are using a service that is specifically designed for K-12 students (no worries about a new feature like Blogger's "image wall" which caused such a stir among the educational community last year).

I especially love Edublogs as a tool for teachers due to the social networking that has developed as the community of edubloggers using Edublogs grows and grows. For example: new and notable blogs are featured on the home page and all content is focused on educational issues.

The most important features for me are ease of use, simplicity of design, expanding features that we need in education, privacy and safety for users, and educational focus.
I use blogger voraciously for my classroom (lab) communication newsletter, my personal homepage (via redirect from scottmerrick.net) and numerous other topical blogs--all available from scottmerrick.net. Honestly, I like it because it was my first blogging tool: I liken my affinity to my preference for PCs over Macs--it's the way I learned. I do use Wordpress for my podcast shownotes, but only because Vanderbilt wanted to consolidate all blogs Vanderbilt onto their server. I've been lobbying unsuccessfully at my main job at USN to install Wordpress (which I greatly respect for the fact that it can be hosted inhouse and for its widgetty-extended, open-sourcie nature) on its server and shall continue to do so until I win out. Until then, I'm a blogger user (and recommender) because of its intuitive GUI and its maleability and reliability (this latter was once an issue but I've been very pleased with its reliability since Google took it over and stablized it...). I have also used edublogs with some success, but only for student comments and a low-profile student introduction to how blogging works--that of course is a Wordpress platform.

Looking forward to reading others' entries here! Thanks, Steve...
I have been using Blogger since December 2006 and find it very easy to set up, edit and share with others. There are so many widgets you can add to enhance your users experience. Because I can manage so many different blogs, I find the dashboard for Blogger easy to work with. It is my goal to try some other services this year and see what would work in our school environment. AFter reading the other posts, I feel fortunate that our Tech Director does not block blogger.
I use Blogger for my personal blogs http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com and http://averyoldplace.blogspot.com I've had not complaints. My only concern about using Bolgger for the students is the "Next Blog" button at the top. I've been able to access boobies and "Bob the Stud" in several clicks. There is a way to remove the header but it is not endorse by Blogger and seems to violate the Terms and Agreements. I will not say more here... :0

My student blog uses Drupal, and even though I didn't originally configure it, ( a student's dad volunteered to set it up and host it) I easily learned to do what I needed to do with it. It is virtually "spam proof". I find it able to do everything we can think of and I have no complaints.

I found Edublogs slow. That's all I have to say about that!
Interesting about "Next Blog" button. We just had a couple of parents upset that their honors english 9th grader clicked on it ...and saw something inappropriate. Now we are trying to put out fires.
So.....about the header. I will search around and see if I can figure it out. Would love to have more info.
ymattixft@olatheschools.com
Hi Yvonne - I added a reply to your previous post on this discussion, including the css to remove the navbar on blogger.
I use Blogger. This is partially just momentum since I started with Blogger years ago. However, there is one killer feature that I love. One-click blogging of pages that I'm viewing thanks to Google Toolbar. This really saves me a lot of time and makes life so much easier.

I also like that I can do a couple technical things with Blogger. The first is that it is driven by a CSS that is editable by me. In the past, this was very powerful. The new Blogger has a rather easy to use design interface that makes most CSS edits unnecessary. The other feature is that Google lets me host my site on my server. Google is the engine and my server is the storage. I really like that arrangement.

The thing that bothers me most about Google is the lack of RSS for comments. You can subscribe to comments for a single post, but not for the whole site. This would be so much easier. This is even in their specs, but I've never gotten it to appear.

Dan
Hi Dan you can subscribe to the rss for comments of the whole blog, if the blog has been set up for it through:
settings - site feed - advanced mode

the feed url would be

http://YOURBLOGNAME.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default

Where you would fill in the name of your blog instead of YOURBLOGNAME

As an example here's the feed from my widget sandbox blog
http://isandbox.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default
I didn't know about the Google toolbar (probably because of the time I spend in Linux!), but that's a nice feature, and I'm glad you mentioned it!
For use with teachers and classrooms, I've found that ClassBlogmeister works very well. Teachers like the ability to password the site if they want; students do not have to have an e-mail address of their own to post; pictures, slideshows and videos can be embedded; students can have their own blog page within the teacher's blog; all the entries are vetted by the teacher before posting. There are limitations, such as layout, number of backgrounds, etc., but the pluses outweigh these minuses to these teachers.
While many of us use other blog interfaces, like Blogger, for our own blog sites, the teachers who are working to integrate blogging into their classroom environments tell me that ClassBlogmeister is their favorite to use with classes (this from about 85 teachers across our service center area).

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