LATEST NEWS Free technology for teachers: a comparison of 6 blog...

Free technology for teachers: a comparison of 6 blog services for teachers and students

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About five years ago I compiled a series of graphs that compared the functions of ed tech tools with similar purposes. Some of the graphs I made were video tools, animation tools, timeline tools, digital portfolios, and blogs. To start 2020, I review those charts and update them to better reflect the current functions and availability of various tools. The first graph I updated is the one that compares and ranks six popular blog services.

Comparison of six teachers’ blog services outlines the management options, design options, domain mapping options, and TOS conditions, along with other important functions to look for when choosing a blog service for use in your classroom. You can get a copy of Google Docs from the chart here and a PDF version here.

While exploring blog tools, view these ten blog activities for K-12 students.

Here is my ranking of the blog services in the graph:

My rankings of these services:

1. Blogger – it’s free and easy to set up. It can be integrated into your Google Apps for Education account, which means that you and your students can use the same usernames and passwords that
use them in all other Google tools. You can make your blog private (up to 100 members invited by e-mail). The disadvantage of this is that many school filters mark it as ‘social media’ and block it on those grounds.

1a. Edublogs – Probably the best option for use in primary and secondary school. Blogs and individual blog posts can be made private, password protected or public. You can create and manage your students’ accounts. Excellent customer service!

2. Weebly for Education – it is free to have a maximum of 40 students in your account. You can manage your students’ accounts. You can contribute to a group blog and let them manage their own individual blogs.

3. SeeSaw.me – SeeSaw was originally launched as a digital portfolio tool. The addition of a blog component was made in January 2016. The SeeSaw blog component allows you to import and view your students’ digital artifacts publicly or privately. You cannot do much with SeeSaw in terms of layout and color scheme adjustment.

4. WordPress.org – If you have the technical insight or have the time to learn it (it’s not that hard), self-hosting a blog running on WordPress software gives you the ultimate control and flexibility. You can create and manage student accounts, have an almost infinite variety of customization options, and you can move your blog from server to server whenever you want. That said, you have to pay for hosting (or convince your school to give you server space) and you are responsible for maintaining security updates and backing up your blog.

5. WordPress.com – It’s easy to use and is free, but with some serious limitations on the free level. The free version shows ads on your blog that you cannot serve. The free version also does not allow the embedding of content from many third-party sites.

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