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.
- 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
- 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
- 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) – 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.