Showing posts with label online writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online writing. Show all posts

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Blogger Privacy Setting You Might Want to Use

Blogger can be a good choice for many classroom blogs. One of its selling points for schools that use G Suite for Education is that students can log-in by using their school-issued Google Accounts. Another great aspect of Blogger is that you can get a blog started in a manner of minutes. But with that ease of set-up comes some default settings that you might want to change. One of those settings being the privacy settings.

In Blogger you can change a couple of privacy settings. First, it is possible to request that your blog doesn't appear in Blogger's list of published blogs and not to appear in Google search results. Second, you can restrict your blog to viewing only by people who have been invited by email.

Applications for Education
If you use the option to restrict viewing to those who have been invited by email, you're excluding anyone whose email address you don't have. That's not a big problem unless your students have grandparents or other extended family with whom they would like to share their blog posts. A middle ground between having your blog restricted to those invited by email and having your blog completely public is to use the option to remove your blog from public listings and Google search results. This just means that anyone who has the direct URL for your blog can see it, but it won't pop-up in search results.

One last reminder about using Blogger or any other blogging platform with students, always activate comment moderation.

Learn more about blogging with students in my on-demand webinar, Winning Blog Strategies for Teachers

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Open Letter - A Simple Way to Share Letters to the World

Last month I wrote about five ways students can publish online in less than a minute. Today, I discovered another service that allows students to publish their thoughts online without the need to register for another online account.
My Open Letter is a simple service through which students can compose "open letters" and share them on the web. Content written in My Open Letter can include hyperlinks and images. My Open Letter assigns an unique url to each letter. Even after publishing students can revise their letters online. Users of My Open Letter have the option to allow or disallow commenting on their open letters. You can see my sample Open Letter here.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a quick and easy way for students to share their thoughts online, My Open Letter is worth giving a good look to. I like the service for two reasons. First, students do not have to register for an account thereby enabling them to spend more time on their writing. Second, I like that students have the option to allow or disallow commenting. If a student is looking for constructive feedback, he or she might allow commenting. But if a student doesn't want public feedback, he or she can could disallow commenting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pencamp - Quickly Publish Your Writing Online

Pencamp is a simple platform for quickly publishing your writing. To get started writing and publishing with Pencamp just enter a name for your page and enter specify a password for editing then start writing. Pencamp is not a blogging platform it's a platform for publishing an informational article or story about a specific topic. You can create as many Pencamp pages as you like for free. Commenting is not an option on Pencamp pages. Check out the Pencamp page that I started about my dog Morrison.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a service that will allow your students to publish their writing online without having to got through the process of creating a full-fledged blog, Pencamp could be just what you need. Because there is not a registration process you could have a whole class of students working online without losing much classroom time to walking students through a registration process.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - A Very Simple Blogging Platform is a simple blogging service that you can start using in a minute or less. To use just head to the site, name your page, and select a password for editing. Once you've done those things you can start blogging. To edit your page just click on any of the predefined text and start typing. To add more pages just type the the ":page" tag, to insert videos just type the ":video" tag. One short-coming that has is that it doesn't support images yet.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to get students blogging, might just be what you need. lacks fancy templates and layouts, but that could be a good thing as it will prevent students from worrying about aesthetics and turn their focus to writing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Easy Way to Make Online Booklets

There are some good services on the web that will turn PDFs into books and booklets and some services that will even allow you to create embeddable booklets online, yet few are quite as simple to use as Simple Booklet. Simple Booklet is a new service offering free online booklet creation and publishing.

To create a book using Simple Booklet just sign-up for a free account and click create. Select the layout template that suits your needs. To add content click anywhere on the blank canvas and a menu of options will appear. You can add text, images, audio files, videos, and links to each page of your booklet.

Each page of your Simple Booklet can have multiple elements on it. To include videos you can upload your own files or select from a variety of provides including SchoolTube, TeacherTube, YouTube, and others. To add audio to your pages you can upload your own files or again select from the online hosts, Sound Cloud, or Mix Cloud. When you're done building pages in your Simple Booklet you can share it online by embedding it into a webpage or you can share the unique link generated for your booklet. (In my testing, when embedding Simple Booklet you cannot resize it and have it still display correctly. You need to have a large online canvas like that found in Wikispaces to display your booklet correctly). You can see my short story here.

Thanks to Vicki Davis for the link.

Applications for Education
Simple Booklet could be a good tool for students to use to publish multimedia stories. Students could use Simple Booklet to create a small portfolio of their work using videos, images, sounds, and text. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about having students create more in-depth research analysis by combining critique of written and audio/visual content they find online. Simple Booklet could be used for that purpose.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Youblisher - Publish PDFs as Online Magazines
Booklet Creator - Turn Any PDF Into a Booklet
Yudu - Publish Your PDFs as Online Magazines

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Paste It - A Simple Way to Share Notes

JustPaste.It is a free, simple note sharing service. At its most basic Just Paste It provides an online word processor for writing notes and documents. You can also insert images and videos into your Just Paste It notes. Sharing notes online with Just Paste It is a simple matter of clicking the "publish" button. Clicking publish generates a unique url for your notes that can share with others. Check out my note here.

Just Paste It notes don't have to live entirely online. Notes can be started online or started offline in a MS Word document and imported to Just Paste It for editing and sharing. If you need to print your notes, Just Paste It notes can be downloaded as PDFs for printing.

Applications for Education
Just Paste It could be an easy way for students to quickly share notes with each other. Just Paste It also provides a way for you and your students to convert MS Word documents to a format that can be easily used online.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Titan Pad - An Ether Pad Clone
Primary Pad - An Ether Pad Alternative
Entri - Free, Registration-Free Document Collaboration

Monday, August 30, 2010

BlogBooker - Turn Your Blog into a PDF Book

Last month when I wrote about Anthologize which turns WordPress blogs into PDF books or ebooks, Blogger users felt left out. Today I have good news for Blogger users that want to turn the contents of their blogs into ebooks. BlogBooker is a free service that allows you to turn your the contents of your Blogger blog into a PDF. Using BlogBooker is a fairly straight-forward process.

BlogBooker walks you through each step of the process except for the very first step which might sound a little too "techy" for some Blogger users, but it's actually quite easy. The first step in using BlogBooker is to export the contents of your blog as an XML file. This is actually easy to do in Blogger. Step one is to open the "settings" menu of your Blogger blog. Step two is to select "export blog" under "basic" menu. Step three is to click "download." Don't worry, exporting the contents of your blog will not remove any content from your blog. After you've completed the export process, jump over to BlogBooker and follow their directions for completing the transition from XML file to PDF.

A quick note about the process on BlogBooker, you might want to consider turning off some the additional BlogBooker such as "ToC" and "Header/Footer" unless you want to save that data.

Here are screenshots of the process of exporting your Blogger blog.
Step 1 - Settings tab - basics - export blog. (Click image to enlarge)

Step 2 - Download.

BlogBooker also works for WordPress and Live Journal.

Applications for Education
BlogBooker could be a good resource at the end of a semester or at the end of a school year for creating a permanent, physical record of your students' online writing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let Your Students Blog!

Let Your Students Blog!

by Deborah C. White

Yesterday's Guest Blogger, Patrick Larkin - Principal Burlington High School (MA) , wrote about the need for administrators to blog regularly and often in order to draw attention to the positive activities of the school, to communicate within and beyond the school community, and to foster dialogue among the stakeholders about the applications of best practices in learning. I am also going to talk about online writing but with two differences:

1) Using student blogs to teach and practice literacy skills,
2) Using those applications with elementary school students - specifically second graders.

Blogs provide students with authentic writing experiences and teachers with powerful tools to help students improve writing skills. Elementary school students can effectively use blogs to improve their literacy skills. These tools facilitate the learning of:
writing concisely,
writing for an authentic purpose,
writing for an authentic audience.
responding to the written word,
and how to provide effective feedback.

Yes, these skills can be taught without using blogs but learning how to use blogs and other online writing applications is equally important for today's students. Providing multiple opportunities for learning and practicing literacy skills in multiple formats allows students to generalize those skills across settings. And the gravy, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, is that using online applications motivates and engages students. Motivated and engaged students will learn.

There are many blogging tools available for teachers to use with their students. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. My current favorite is I learned about Kidblog via my personal/professional Twitter account. It is an extraordinarily easy and free tool to use. I set up the class account and the sub-accounts for each member of my class during snack time. The privacy settings are optional and complete. The support via email is timely, explicit, and patient.

In the 'olden days', I would not have published any student work on a blog (or any other way) unless it was edited to perfection. I would have insisted that my students correct what they could, copy what they didn't know yet, and produce 'final products'. On a blog or other application, that meant that I spent a lot of time typing. Eventually I asked myself, "How does this improve student learning?" The answer is obvious - it doesn't. Now, I only edit the student blog entry if it is especially difficult to read. In those cases, I don't touch the student's work, I merely rewrite the entry in conventional form underneath the student passage and publish my part in italics. When students are working within Kidblog, the infamous squiggly red line shows up under perceived misspelled words. That reminds my students that they need to take another close look at what they typed. Is it a misspelling or is it a word the program doesn't recognize like the name of our town - Orono? That little squiggly red line reminds students to stop and think and it's much more powerful than my reminders because it is unfailingly consistent. Student blog entries encourage revision as readers comment and ask questions about each piece. Class discussions revolve around readers' responses. Students comment on each others work. Entries become more detailed as students respond to comments.
Since the entries are dated, students, teachers, and parents can look at writing development over time. The student blog becomes an assessment tool to measure written communication skills, comprehension across the curriculum, and appropriate online social skills.

Using online applications to practice literacy skills is an effective technology integration method.
Kidblog is easy enough that even digital immigrants (aka teachers) have no excuse not to try it with their students. Let your students blog! Let yourself blog, too!

Deborah C. White is amazed at her good fortune to have been chosen to be a guest blogger for this great resource.. She is currently a 2nd grade classroom teacher at the
Asa C. Adams School in Orono, Maine. She is also the 2009 ACTEM Educator of the Year, K-5 Tech Lead, and Student Council Advisor. Formerly, she was a 1st and 2nd grade looping teacher, multiage teacher, and Museum Educator. She is an advocate for the use of Open Source tools and wants folks to think about attending FOSSed 2010. Her Twitter name is: debwhite and she can be found online at: