I just made a fabulous discovery!

Earlier this year I discovered the power of linked accounts in G-mail for elementary students. Today I learned how I can leverage that shortcut into individual contributing authors for our Grade 3 BlogPals blog on Edublogs. Here’s what I found out:

I would like:

  • One class blog – not individual student blogs.
  • The teacher or administrator to approve all postings.
  • The students to be able to write whenever they want – not just in class, but I want all posts moderated by the teacher before they are published.
  • Not to have to deal with individual student e-mail addresses.
  • The students to have to log in so I can track who posts what, so students can’t “impersonate” each other, and so students can learn about usernames, passwords and responsibility.

So, here’s what I did:

  • Created a class blog on Edublogs (in retrospect, it would have made more sense to use Learnerblogs, since this blog will mostly be authored by students. Ah well, live and learn, right?).
  • Created a class e-mail account on G-mail that I have access to, as well as the class teacher.
  • Created an Edublogs account for each student using the linked G-mail account feature. For each Edublogs account, I chose “Just a username, Please.”
  • Logged into the main blog as the admin user and went to the Users tab.
  • Added each student as a Contributor to the blog with their new “e-mail address” (which is really just the one class e-mail address using the “+StudentName” linked account option) under the “Add a User” function.

Now we have:

  • Individual student log ins WITHOUT individual e-mail accounts.
  • Individual student contributors to the blog WITHOUT their own blog.
  • All posts approved by the blog administrator before posting.

Perfect!

This seems like the natural next step in our BlogPals project – once students are comfortable adding comments and writing posts as a “center”-type activity, we will give them individual log-ins so they can manage their posts independently.

Tags: elementary, blogging, grade3, blogpals, edublogs, contributors, student, authors, gmail, linked, email, learnerblogs,

39 thoughts on “Students as Contributors on Edublogs: the Quick and Easy Way

  1. Very nicely done, Kim. I will be sharing this with my students for sure! These are always issues that have come up, and this is a great way to get beyond them. Thanks!

  2. That’s how I set up Room18’s class blog on learnerblogs (don’t you just love the + feature of gmail accounts!!) What I didn’t set up, and didn’t realise I could set up, was all posts moderated by the teacher before they are published and now thanks to your post I can! Thanks again Kim for your informative and extremely helpful sharing!

  3. Thank for this interesting post. I just set my students up today with blogs and wished I would have read this before I had done so. Oh well……, shall see how it all pans out. However, I will add myself on as an administrator. Just did not want all the work of checking constantly.

  4. Wow! This is great and so useful. I’m so glad you found out how to do this because this will save others so much time!

  5. Great post- I was looking for a way to deal with kids logging in without having one password/user. I will certainly put this to use this school year! Way to go Kim!

  6. Thanks for sharing these ideas.
    It will help many others.
    Kim, I appreciate your way of sharing knowledge. I have created a group of passionate teachers like you . Its URL is http://passsionateteachers.ning.com
    I believe in learning and sharing. I am impressed by the title of your blog…Always learning. I welcome you to join the group where many teachers have shared their work links and strategies.
    Regards

  7. Thanks for reminding me of the Gmail option.
    I often just have students comment and not create posts, but I think the creation gives them more ownership of a blog, and this is a safe way to move forward.
    Is there a limit on number of linked-gmail accounts you can create? (I see to remember it being said somewhere but memory fails me)
    Kevin

  8. Kim,
    Do you know if edublogs and learnerblogs and interconnected? Can you add a student as a user on your classblog on edublogs who has a user account on learnerblogs?

  9. Hi Kim,

    This is exactly how we have our 3rd grade BlogPals blog set up also. Thanks so much for the hint about the linked g-mail accounts. That made the process so much easier! We’ll be doing our intro lessons today and tomorrow and then we’ll be ready to start blogging!

    Thanks so much for sharing all your discoveries!

    Anne

  10. Hi Kim,

    I am looking forward to meeting and speaking with you this week in Qatar. I have been trying to set-up an easy blog for grade 3. It has not been as fast and as easy I thought. I might try your way.

    Thanks,

    Jill :)

  11. Thanks for the tip Kim. I have one inquiry. When the students log-in to the new class edublog with their username and password they will go to their specific dashboard and access to their edublog profile.
    At this point they have the ability to alter their email address, create a new blog, promote the class blog, add their personal details, change their password, etc.
    Is it possible to limit that access?
    Regards
    John

  12. Alec,

    Thanks! Glad this is helpful – I, for one, was overjoyed when I figured it out for myself!

    Chrissy,

    I knew you did something like this last year! I love the moderation feature – gives that extra bit of safety (or “control”) that we sometimes need.

    Murcha,

    Yes, I think this model saves a lot of hassle on the teacher end – but I had no idea I could do things this way until a tested it out. A very pleasant surprise!

    Pat,

    I hope so!

    Nigel,

    Glad I could help!

    RashKath,

    Thanks for the invite!

    Kevin,

    Good question – I’m not sure if there is a limit to the number of linked G-mail accounts you can create… I can tell you that I have set up at least 22 for one account, which is enough for one class. If I was teaching multiple classes (like at the MS/HS level) I would probably create one G-mail account for each class, just to be able to keep them straight in my own head! Would love to know if there’s a limit though!

    Silvia,

    Edublogs and Learnerblogs are not interconnected – I had the same problem when I set this one up (which is why I now wish I set it up on Learnerblogs). If you want to add students as contributing authors to an Edublog, they have to have an Edublogs user name and vice versa.

    Anne,

    Happy to help!

    Lichtenwald,

    No prob!

    Tasteach,

    Don’t you just love when the answer is already out there for you – just a quick link is needed?

    Jill,

    It was such a pleasure to meet you in Doha! I hope this process is easier for you! Let me know if you need help!

    John,

    I’m not sure if you can limit those options – which is one of the reasons why I wish I had set all of this up on learnerblogs…. But, I do want my students to be able to change their password (just maybe not create a new blog). This way they can learn basic username and password responsibility. I recommend checking the Edublogs forum for this question – that’s how I figured out how to set this whole thing up in the first place!

  13. Hi Kim, I wish I had this info. set out so clearly before I tried to do it myself. Your explanation is so much clearer than the one I struggled with!

    I too wondered about the Edublog or Learnerblog choice, so have tried a few options in each, and now have been pondering about importing a wordpress blog to learnerblogs as an option. Not yet game to try it to see what the effects would be on a well-established blog. Maybe try on a newey?

    Another good thing to do when starting a class/students blog is to set up a spreadsheet to record details as you set up students’ blogs (names, passwords, etc.) so that can then be used to generate cards to hand out to students, and a list for later reference if things are forgotten!

  14. Your ideas are wonderful, but my district’s filter blocks all outside e-mails. I would not be able to have e-mail that my students would have access to. Eventually we will have Gaggle but not yet. Do the students need to have access to the e-mail accounts for this to work? I hope that is not a stupid questions. This blogging is all new to me.

  15. Lindajay,

    Yes! I always use a spreadsheet to record student data – even when I was teaching high school! I don’t want to have to waste any time fumbling around looking for usernames if the students ever forget – it’s a nice easy back-up. The one thing I have never done, though, is record student passwords. They’re on their own for that!

    wmathrules,

    For students to be contributors or authors on an Edublogs or Learnerblogs blog they will need an e-mail address. However, you may be able to use David Warlick’s Class Blogmeister without student e-mails, but I’m not sure. Check that one out too!

  16. Thank-you so much for this post, Kim. I had bookmarked it ages ago knowing that I’d need these instructions and I’m so glad I did.

  17. Thank you Kim!!! Thank you for addressing issues in schools and with technology uses in schools. At our school, students cannot use their own email accounts (okay, that’s a given) so your using gmail accounts answers that issue. For a class blog for collaboration in one site where teachers can MODERATE BEFORE (operative word – BEFORE) posting so that the educator can be responsible for what is being posted because, as you well know, the teacher will quickly have to answer for problems WHEN (if?) they arise. I can’t wait to use it. I’m also curious to see how it works with various projects that you will be doing and what the “issues” (if any – the time you spend on moderation?) will be with it – good luck!

  18. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and ideas with the world. I have a question though; in this article, you state:

    “Created a class blog on Edublogs (in retrospect, it would have made more sense to use Learnerblogs, since this blog will mostly be authored by students. Ah well, live and learn, right?). ”

    What do you mean when you say you should’ve used “Learnerblogs”? Is that a service, like edublogs? Or is that some design component built into edublogs?

  19. Thanks Kim for the post. Also, thanks for posting your projects and other thoughts. It is very helpful and inspiring.

    Just a thought: For young students, the linked gmail and teacher moderation is a good safety procedure. For students 13+, most are social networking on their own. Perhaps it is more suitable for older students to create their own gmail and edublog accounts. This seems like a good learning opportunity — fits well with ISTE’s NETS 2007

    igoogle and other tools are helpful for educational purposes.

    Richard P
    NIS Chiang Mai

  20. @Traci,

    Yes, moderation before posting is critical! We had a lot of success with the moderation – being able to go back and ask students to revise if grammar or writing quality was an issue. I would say the only “struggle” is making sure the posts are moderated quickly enough – once students want to post, they want to see it up on the blog right away. I like that we can emphasize the writing process and writing quality, while still giving the students the independence of their own log in and the ability to write when they feel the urge (not just during assigned writing time).

    @missgrandjean,

    Edublogs has since changed their services and now all blogs are hosted on an edublogs.org domain. But, when I was writing this post, I wanted to have the domain name reflect the fact that it was student authors, which is what learnerblogs was for (same company, different domain).

    @notinio,

    Yep, when I taught middle school all of my students had their own accounts. This was specifically set up for 3rd graders – most of whom don’t already have their own e-mail account.

  21. i am moving through your steps to get my 5thgraders on a blog to get them used to using this resource. i can’t wait to see what they share! However, my hold up has been in developing a permission letter for the parents to sign.

  22. Kim,

    This was very helpful as I am researching how to set up blogs. Our school board has reservations about our students blogging and this will help in presenting information to them. I have worked way to hard on creating a blog policy to stop now.

  23. Kim, I am starting a classroom blog and hoping to do the exact same things you describe in this post. I’ve got all the students linked on my gmail account according to the video link you share (thank you by the way!). However, I am stuck on creating an edublogs account for each student with just a username. Do you know if that is still an option? Thanks for any input you can give me! Really don’t want a separate blog for every student, just one classroom blog that they can all contribute toward.
    Beth

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