BlogED Blogging Platform

By , Monday, 2nd August, 2010

I have recently started a class blog using the NSWDET blogging system BlogED. It is reasonably convenient, in that it is accessible via the Portal, though I am getting frustrated by some elements, and I guess this is because I’ve been blogging for some time now. As a result I am finding some parts of it limiting.

Having said that though, it seems to be particularly suitable for those teachers who are new to blogging and those not so confident with technology.

Also, for children, particularly young children, having access to it via their Student Portal means one less password to remember.

I plan to use this post to record the positives and negatives I come across for using the BlogED system.

If you too are using BlogED, feel free to leave a comment describing your experiences also.

Positives:

  • Accessible for staff and students through DET Portal
  • no need for children to remember another login and password
  • automatically sets children up with access to the blog – no need to manually add them as a member of the blog

Negatives:


  • Avatars – Only DET users can have an avatar (General users get a generic blank person). Users select from the ones given. No ability to upload your own avatar.
  • Read more – from the Home Page, if an image or embed code is used, you can view the first part of the post, then must click on Read more.
  • Widgets – can only select from the list provided. Wanted a Recent Comments widget, but there is not a default one. Have managed to have one by using the RSS feed for Comments, though it isn’t styled very nicely or user friendly.
  • Selection of Blog Theme – can only choose from a few (3??) theme styles.
  • No Pages feature. Can only have posts – Wanted to have a page for “Blogging Guidelines” – the rules for the blog so to speak (how to comment safely, etc – that type of thing).
  • the blog URL address is not particularly attractive, therefore nor is it easy to remember. Have used bit.ly to make an easy to remember URL
  • attempted to put a Voki in the sidebar. Can’t use javascript, had to use other method
  • am missing the ability to use an app (iphone) to manage and approve comments quickly. Logging into the portal is a pain.
  • Reliability of Portal – I was conducting a Parent INformation Session tonight (5/8/10) and the portal was down – 3 hours later and it is still down! In all the years I have been using wordpress, it has been a very rare occasion when it was unavailable.
  • CAn only use a Voki in the sidebar – can’t embed the code into a post (or am I missing something??) Was thinking of children using the Voki and embedding into posts – but if the only place I can put a Voki is in the sidebar, I don’t really want a sidebar which is miles long.
  • (12/8/10) – When comments are left, there is no indication in the Dashboard to tell which post the comment belongs to. I just had a student leave the same comment twice, and wondered why. I deleted one of the duplicates and approved the other. Then when looking back on the posts, I discovered why he had left the comment twice – the comment I approved was not related to the post it appeared on, so I am guessing that the one I deleted was where he had attempted to fix his mistake. I however was unable to tell and so had already deleted the comment.
  • (24/8/10) – Doesn’t support use of iframe HTML. Tried to embed a Google Docs document we’ve been working on, but it is not accepted. There was something else I tried embeddding a few weeks back but it didn’t work either (I suspect it might have been an iframe also??).
  • (27/8/10) – Just tried putting another widget in on weather – would have suited our unit of work really well. It contains JavaScript, so is not allowed. A shame that these widgets are not allowed. I’d love to know why they can’t be used??
  • (27/8/10) – BlogED System was down for maintenance in the afternoon (advertised). When it came back up I tried logging in, and received an error message telling me I “wasn’t authorised to access this application.”
  • (30/8/10) – Viewing previous posts with the class, only to discover a big warning triangle telling us that the media can’t be found, wherever there should have been an image we had uploaded
  • .
  • (31/8/10) – Uploaded a new widget for a student’s birthday, which for some reason messed up the sidebar.
  • (3/9/10) – PDF’s not allowed as an upload to Media Library. Have stored the Homework File on DropBox.
  • (3/9/10) – Code for embedding Wallwisher into posts didn’t work.

15 Responses to “BlogED Blogging Platform”

  1. Mrs Lockyer says:

    Positive
    *All staff in the school are using the same system.This helps by assisting less capable staff and providing examples for them. Students also become familiar with the system for different blogs they may be members of.
    *Easy access to other DET schools/blogs.

    Negative
    *As Mr Gray mentioned. The read more feature.
    It makes the blog look very boring and it takes a long time to go in and out of posts. This will make it harder for students as well.
    *Unable to change the colour design of the blog.
    *When embedding a widget and using the blog at school. A security message appears every time we go to the site.
    *When adding a feature and saving it that is not enough. We have to remember to go and update blog settings or it hasn’t actually been saved.

  2. Mr Gray says:

    Mrs Lockyer – you are right regarding the positive of all staff using the same system. However, I know of some places which are using edublogs for the same reason – just to provide consistency. I also think that the kids will have no difficulty in transferring the skills across to another platform.

  3. Mrs Lockyer says:

    Yes i am sure the kids will but the teachers? Edublogs is looking like a good option.

    Positive- allowing staff members to be members of the blog is easy to do. staff are then more likely to look at the blog and comment on the blogs then to type in an address.

    Negative
    *The choice of widgets is limiting.
    *Unable to change the text size in the header.
    *The url address is hard to remember.

  4. Mr Gray says:

    Yes blogED is probably much easier for novice teachers to blogging.

    You’re right also with your positive – having the link in their Dashboard also makes it easier for them to access other blogs. I think this feature is also built into Edublogs.

    Re the negatives, I don’t think you can change text size for headers and the like on a hosted blogging system like Edublogs or WordPress as these are built into the theme templates. If you host your own blog, then you could modify the theme files, though you need to be confident in doing this – probably not the type of thing the average teacher would be doing.

    In terms of making the URL easier to remember, I used one of the URL shorteners to make an easy to remember URL. My class blog is now at bit.ly/2GBlog

  5. Mrs Lockyer says:

    Negative- On two occasions i have not been able to upload images to the media library. Very frustrating especially when trying to create a new post on the day of a school event.

  6. Mr Gray says:

    Yes, I have found the system to be a bit flaky at times – reminds me of our SBSR experience which doesn’t totally fill me with confidence.

  7. Mr Gray says:

    DET had advised that the system would be down for maintenance from 1:00pm – 5:00pm today. Right now it is 7:00pm and I have tried logging in. Unfortunately, I am getting a message: “Permission Denied. Unfortunately, you are not authorised to access the application.”
    Rechecked AMU and I still have the tick beside my name.
    Not giving me much confidence at the moment.

  8. Mr Johnson says:

    When was the last time WordPress or Gmail was down for the day for maintenance?

    One must ask – why has the DET created it’s own blogging software when there are so many mature and proven alternatives already available? Is the DET in the software business or the education business?

    As usual, the DET has provided a “Lowest Common Denominator” (LCD) solution – something which is limited in it’s facilities, and buggy in it’s operation. And about 10 years too late. (SBSR is a good example – it works great when tested in the holidays, but falls over when put under load at report-writing time.)

    Newbies (and inexperienced DET managers) will think BlogEd is OK, but teachers any with blogging experience will shake their heads and use more advanced and reliable alternatives for their class blogs.

    We don’t all have to be dragged down to the LCD.

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by wazmac, Paul Gray. Paul Gray said: @sandynay system seems flaky – not reliable. Other little things also. Am used to wordpress & ability 2 do what i want. http://bit.ly/9HbTv6 […]

  10. I’ve been able to insert Vokis into posts – see posts dated 27 May and 3 June.
    https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/blog/973425-anopenbook/

  11. Mr Gray says:

    @Mr Johnson – WordPress.com was down in June 2010 🙂 Though I must say it’s very rare to be down, I believe.

    I don’t know why they continue to work on software (SBSR, BlogED, the new finance package). At this stage I am thinking I’ll persevere with BlogED for the remainder of the year. If things don’t change dramatically though, I won’t be making the same mistake we did with SBSR though – won’t be holding on for a few years before finally releasing it.

  12. Mr Gray says:

    @Deirdre Ratcliffe – thanks for the posts – Happy to be corrected. Now to find out why I couldn’t do it before. The only place I could get it to work was in the sidebar. Any tips?

  13. Mrs Lockyer says:

    Another Negative: BlogED will be in Archive mode from Dec 20 – Jan 27. Very frustrating as I know that some of my students from this year would be wanting to comment on posts etc in the holidays. I was going to be designing my 2011 class blog in the holidays to be organised.

  14. Mr Gray says:

    Really? Where did you find that out?

  15. Mrs Lockyer says:

    Yammer of course:) It was in the connected classroom newsletter. I don’t like the idea at all.

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