Friday, May 8, 2015

Kidblog tutorials

Kidblog has switched over to a new platform as of May 1. You can read more about their announcement and watch a demo on their blog. I love the new look and functionality. They claim that it is easier to use and more student centered. I have to agree - there is much to like about the new layout and features.

Student Centered

My favorite new feature is the student centered approach to blogging. Students are now able to go through the writing process while creating their posts. In the upper right hand corner are new buttons: Draft, Review, and Publish. 

Draft saves a post as a work in progress that students can come back to another day. Review posts a version that only the teacher can see. The teacher can then offer comments to help the students improve their writing. Once the drafting and revising is done, students can Publish their final draft. Sound familiar? This is the writing process that teachers are always trying to teach, and now we have it in blogging!

Publishing can bring up another  new feature - an authentic audience. When publishing, students are presented with choices for their audience. They can choose to publish just for their teacher, classmates, connected classrooms or the public. Knowing who your audience is, is one of the important parts of writing. Now students can write for an audience of their choice!


My other favorite feature is the simplification of the privacy settings. As mentioned above, students can choose their audience, but only if the teacher allows those choices. In the newly redesigned and simplified Settings, teachers can turn certain audiences on or off.

For example, turning off Public in this screen means students will not be able to publish their posts for the public to see - it will be limited to only the other types of audiences.

With each audience, the teacher can still require approval and moderate the posts before they appear on the blog. These are great features for teachers who are concerned about privacy.


I have been teaching several online classes on blogging to classroom teachers and these changes confused many of them. The tutorials I had posted were based on the old version of Kidblog so they didn't match what the teachers were seeing. Not only that, but when teachers are signing up for Kidblog, it doesn't appear that they always get the new version - some were still getting the old.

So I put together some short video tutorials that show teachers how to setup and use the new Kidblog platform. I used a cool technique I learned from James Sanders to make YouTube videos interactive. Unfortunately embedded YouTube videos lose that interactivity. So if you want to see my video tutorials you'll have to watch my videos on YouTube.

If you haven't started blogging with your students, the new KidBlog platform makes it so much easier. Get started now!


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  2. Awesome! This blog is just what I need. Although, they made changes on the new look and functionality, this is still helpful. The step by step tutorial in setting up this blog platform, is very useful for newbies like me. I just started using kidblog in our classroom, and your YouTube video link for series of steps in setting up this blog helped me understand the navigation part a lot better. I like that you highlighted the option for prefered audience in the privacy setting. This is very important. I’m still new in branching and incorporating this new way of communication inside the classroom. So, my knowledge about blogging is still limited. But, the different tips you are sharing in your blog is full of good information, and I couldn’t stop reading about it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I'm glad you find the tutorials helpful. The privacy settings seem to be the hardest thing for teachers to grasp. I hope these tutorials help clear up some of the potential confusion.