Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chart - A Comparison of Educational Blogging Platforms

I'm often asked for advice about picking the best blogging service for classroom use. Every school's and classroom's situation is a little different so it's not easy to make a blanket statement like, "blog service X is best for all teachers." To help teachers decide which blogging platform could be best for them, I created the following chart. The chart compares eight key elements of five common blogging platforms.

You can download this chart as a PDF through this link or click here to see it as a Google Document.

The Week in Review - Celebrating Zero Degrees

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where yesterday we celebrated the temperature finally rising back up to 0F. This week someone asked me if my dogs like the cold and snow. My older dog, Morrison, can't get enough of the frigid, snowy weather. The colder it is, the more energy he seems to have. In fact, as soon as this week-in-review is written we'll be back outside for another romp in the woods. Wherever you are and whatever the weather is like, I hope that you have a great weekend.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. By Request - Ten Helpful Resources for Middle School and High School Math Teachers
2. Thinking Blocks - Model Math Problems on iPads, Interactive Whiteboards, and in Your Browser
3. 10 Tools to Help Students Keep Track of Tasks This Year
4. Updated - A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Backchannels & Informal Assessment
5. How to Create Simple Comic Strips With Storyboard That
6. 5 Ways to Add Interactive Elements to Your Videos
7. An Animated Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

In January I am again offering my series How To Use Google Drive In SchoolClick here for registration details and a discount code. 

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

How to Limit Access to Blogger, WordPress, Kidblog, and Edublogs Blog Posts

This post is a response to a question that I received on Twitter about restricting access to students' blog posts. 

While I prefer to guide teachers in the direction of teaching their elementary school students not to reveal personally identifying information on classroom blogs, I also recognize that sometimes the only way a teacher will try blogging is if they can restrict access to just students and their parents. The directions below cover the same steps you can take to restrict access to Blogger and WordPress blog posts. Edublogs and Kidblog run on the WordPress software so the directions for restricting access to posts on those services are the same as for and self-hosted WordPress blogs.

Restricting Access to Blogger Posts

If you cannot see the video, the screenshots below offer the same directions. 

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Restricting Access to WordPress Posts (and Kidblog and Edublogs)
(Click the images to view them full size). 

Step 1: Create a post or a page in your blog editor. Before pressing publish click the "edit" link next to the visibility setting just above the "publish" button for your post or page.

Step 2: Select "private" or "password protected."

Follow the two steps pictured below to edit the visibility setting on existing pages or posts.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Moredays - A Free Multimedia Planner for Your iPad

Moredays is an neat personal planner iPad app. Moredays offers all of the calendar and reminder options that we've come to expect from online personal planners. How Moredays tries to differentiate itself from the market is by offering the option to include images, videos, maps, and sketches as a part of your daily planner. I think it would be very handy when I plan a meeting with a new people to be able to include a pictures of those folks on that day in my calendar. Then when I look at my schedule I'm also practicing remembering those peoples' names before we ever meet in person. Watch the video below for a two minute overview of the all of the options Moredays offers.

MOREDAYS Screencast HD from MOREDAYS on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
The option to include images and videos into a personal planner could be a great option for students. If students are in the habit of using a personal planner to keep track of test dates they might want to drop in a diagram or video on to view when they view their test dates. That way they can get in a quick review while reviewing their other important dates.

How to Create Google Calendar Event Reminders

In yesterday's list of ten tools to help students keep track of tasks I included using Google Calendar events with reminders to keep track of long-term projects. A few people have emailed me asking how to create reminders in Google Calendar so I put together the following set of directions. (Click the images to view them in full size).

Step 1: Create your event and click "edit event."

Step 2: Scroll down to the "reminders" setting and choose the type of reminder that you want to receive.

Step 3: Add more reminders by clicking on "Add a reminder."

Step 4: After adding your reminders, click "save" at the top of screen.

Step 5: You can sync your Google Calendar to your mobile device. Directions are available here iOS and Android devices.