Well it's high time I got this blog moving again and I'm grateful to Karen Schweitzer education writer and author for sending in this guest post to get me started. Here she presents 10 great tools ranging from the basics for getting your blog started to some really interesting tools for getting your blog noticed. Thanks Karen.
Teachers who are interested in starting their own blogs or creating and managing student blogs, can find a number of helpful tools online. There are free blogging platforms made specifically for educators, virtual classrooms for students, and tools to help make other people more aware of your blogging efforts. Here are 10 free tools that would be particularly useful to teachers.
Edublogs - Edublogs is a free blogging platform for students and teachers. The WordPress powered platform hosts hundreds of thousands of education-related blogs. Teachers use it to host their own blogs, to manage student blogs, and to supplement classroom learning. Edublogs offers a wide range of features (20 MB of free space, customizable themes, step-by-step support, and import/export capabilities) and allows for simple uploading of images, videos, and other files.
Ning - Ning is a free online service that can be used to create your own social network. Ning networks can be kept private or made public. Any member who joins a network also has the option of keeping their profile private. Some of the things that can be placed on a Ning network include blogs, photos, videos, member profile pages, messaging systems, and RSS support. More than one million networks have been launched with Ning in the last two years, so if you would prefer, you can also find an existing social network to join.
Teacher Lingo - Created by a retired middle school teacher, this teacher blog community is a great place for teachers to connect, share ideas, and find lesson plans online. Teachers can begin their own blog or feed a previously created blog to the site. Teacher Lingo also offers a forum for friendly discussion.
Tumblr - Tumblr is an excellent option for teachers who are just beginning to blog. This free online blogging platform is easy to use and fully customizable. Features include the ability to create private blogs or private posts, multiple posting options, built-in apps, and ad-free themes. Tumblr also tweets posts automatically (or selectively if you choose.)
21Classes - 21Classes is a cooperative learning and blogging platform for students and teachers. It can be used to launch a class homepage and create individual blogs for students. Each student receives 1 MB of space with the free edition. Teachers have access to a central console to manage student accounts and content. More space and additional features are available with paid accounts.
ClassChatter - ClassChatter is a safe, secure, and private blogging platform for students and teachers. It can be used to create individual student blogs, group blogs, and assignment blogs. Unlike some blogging platforms, ClassChatter is free of advertising and includes an email-like communication option.
Class Blogmeister - Developed specifically for classrooms, this blogging engine offers free accounts to teachers, professors, school leaders, librarians, and other education professionals. Accounts can be used to post assignments, student writing, and instructional activities. Students are not allowed to have their own blogs but they can participate within the account established by their teacher.
IntenseDebate - IntenseDebate is a free commenting system for blogs. The system is meant to encourage more comments and enhance commenting capability. Features include comment threading, email notifications, reply-by-email, Twitter integration, hardcore moderation, blacklisting, comment voting, and many other useful widgets and plugins.
AddThis - This free online service can be used to build social bookmarking and feed buttons for your blog. These buttons make it easier for blog readers to stay up-to-date and share your content with other people. AddThis supports more than 50 popular services including Delicious, Digg, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress.
Twitterfeed - Teachers who blog and use Twitter will love Twitterfeed. This free web-based app tweets blog posts automatically so that you can share blog content with your Twitter followers.
Guest post from education writer and author Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online classes for OnlineClasses.org.
How about you?
- What blogging tools are you using?
- Which of these 10 will you be checking out?