After a day of talking, discussing, listening, surfing, it seems that the two best possibilities (one of which I forgot to include in my previous post) are edublogs and KidBlog, with KidBlog being the frontrunner. (And to be honest, it would be the hands-down winner if it weren’t for the juvenile name that my seniors will likely hate.)

I created accounts on both so I could compare. edublog (the free version) doesn’t seem any different from the very WordPress account from which I’m typing this entry. I don’t quite know the difference between the two; the interface seems the same. In fact, it seems that edublog has fewer features than WordPress (e.g. embedding video is only part of the paid version of edublog). What edublog does tout is its only hosting educational content (not exactly sure what that means) and its ease of use (which, again, doesn’t seem that different from WordPress). My (perhaps cynical) impression is that edublog is lowballing its free features as an incentive to sign up for the pay features. I’m just not quite sure what advantages the pay features bring (beyond some moderation / oversight, though not enough) that other sites provide for free. So edublog seems to have a lot of potential, but only if you (or your school) is willing to pony up the money.

KidBlog seems great. There will be some annoyances at set up (teachers are in charge of setting up student usernames and passwords, and any account customization has to be done through the teacher account, e.g. a student can’t change her own avatar but it can be changed through the teacher account). Students access their blog through the course home page and their username appears as a pulldown menu choice, and they can post from there. The settings allow all new posts and comments to come through the teacher for approval (though the settings seem to suggest there will be some notification outside of the site (I assumed an email) but that seems not the case; at least, I’ve not received an email regarding the test posts I wrote). And I even found a theme I liked (read: wasn’t excessively juvenile; if only the same could be said about the name…). I’ve posted some pictures below.

This has potential. We’ll see.

First is the student dashboard. Second is the class home page (not logged in; see Log In at upper right); you can see the users at right. Third is the Post Settings (from the admin account). You can see how privacy and access can be customized. Fourth is the Comments Settings.