Kidblog.org – simplest, bestest elementary blog site ever?

Posted on Jan 4, 2010 by kjarrett 21 Comments

Good morning all,

Hope those of you who have been on break have enjoyed some time with family and friends this holiday season … it’s Monday, January 4th here and time for us in these parts to get back to work! Sorry for not blogging more since school let out, things have been a little hectic here, thanks to Mother Nature! But, I digress…

Came across a really neat site this morning thanks to new Twitter user Syd D. (thanks Syd!) – it’s called Kidblog.org and it’s by far the easiest blogging platform I’ve ever seen!

Setting up a classroom blog literally took seconds – here’s my test a classroom blog as a student would see it:

Here’s the blogging interface – what could be simpler? No email addresses are needed to create student accounts. Nice!

Hey, that looks like WordPress … and sure enough, it is! Note the absence of categories and the standard WordPress UI (which is pretty easy but this really takes the cake.) Spell Check is included, naturally. Enter your title and post and press publish! Here’s an example post (again, logged in as a student):

It appears you can have any theme you want as long as it’s this one (pleasing blues and oranges); there’s no way to know if the folks behind Kidblog have plans to add that feature, but I certainly wouldn’t mind if they didn’t.

I love the user interface (I’m already a huge fan of WordPress, this simplification just makes it even better). We have several elementary classes blogging with WordPress Multiuser, and although it’s pretty easy, this is even EASIER, and there’s minimal setup. Just create the blog, add students and get to work! Comment moderation is built in (and ON by default) and student users can have different roles (Guest, Student, Group Leader) which I’m sure correspond to the standard role hierarchy in WordPress. The administrative interface is also greatly simplified, meaning less work for teachers!
Kidblog.org is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in a fast, easy, straightforward blogging platform. My only caution: we don’t know much about the people behind the service, and while there’s no reason to doubt them or their offering, it would really stink if they went away all of a sudden … which in this economy is certainly a risk. There’s no advertising, no “premium” Kidblog offering, and hence, no revenue model (that I can see at least), leading me to wonder about the service’s long-term viability, especially if it gets popular. All that aside, it’s definitely still worth checking out!

Hope this helps!

-kj-

UPDATE: thanks to a tweet from Anne Carnevale I’ve done a little more digging into Kidblog, and have verified (via contact with Kidblog support) that teachers CAN in fact require that all student content (posts and comments) be approved before appearing on the live blog. It’s on the Class Settings tab:

I *KNOW* I looked at that tab yesterday, and I remember seeing the section for comment control, and distinctly recall *NOT* seeing the post control section (and found that very odd) Apparently, that’s what I get for blogging at zero-dark-thirty every day! :/

Once this box is checked, student blog post creation page has a “Submit for Review” button rather than “Publish.” Submitted posts wait in the teacher’s queue to be approved on the “Review Posts” section of the dashboard:

…as expected!

So there you have it! Thanks, Anne, for the impetus to clear this up!

-kj-

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