The comment was:
I am really interested in using a blog to help pupils benefit from peer assessment for critical written work in art during my next placement. Can you tell me what site would be the best to set up a blog with? and also im worried about any problems that might arise of asking pupils to go onto the internet at home as homework etc - how do i pitch it to the school and teachers? thanks.Can you tell me what site would be the best to set up a blog with?" Hmm! How long's a bit of string? (Twice the distance from the middle to one end as any fool know... but that's a different story.) In part the answer will depend on what you want to do with the blog. Are you writing the blog and inviting pupils to make comments? Do you want the pupils to set up their own individual blogs? Do you want a classroom blog with multiple pupil authors? Different blogging tools have different strengths and the use you envisage will help determine the choice. Also, you say it is for art classes, so do you want to be able to show images in the blog? Some tools make it easier than others to include images.
I use Blogger. This may not be the best choice for schools (see the MFLE's advice on Creating a weblog) but many schools make effective and appropriate use of it. I have found Blogger easy to use with a range of helpful features.
A brief summary of some blogging tools can be found at LTScotland's ICT in Education - Blogging pages, however, I would add Class Blogmeister, Elgg and Learnerblogs to their list of free blogging tools. These three tools are interesting since, unlike Blogger, they are intended for use in an education environment (although Elgg isn't specifically aimed at schools). My advice would be to create an account and then make a couple of posts in each to try them out. You should then get a feel for which will work best for the way you want to use it. For example, are the image sharing features of Elgg useful in an Art blog?
Secondly you ask, "im worried about any problems that might arise of asking pupils to go onto the internet at home as homework etc - how do i pitch it to the school and teachers?". Schools and Authorities are concerned about Internet safety, and rightly so. You should therefore take time to consider these issues so that you can help reassure the school that appropriate steps can be taken to minimise risks. As a first step, you should try to find the school's policy on Internet use. If you can show that what you are doing is covered by existing policy, it should be easier to get approval. Also, read the advice on the MFLE's Responsibility in blogging pages. You should also read Mike Hetherington's excellent advice on How to set up a student centred classroom blog. His guide covers Learnerblogs but also deals with some general issues such as the pre-moderation of pupil comments.
Finally, I suspect the thing that worries schools the most about blogs is comments. In my opinion, the possibility of getting comments from anyone and everyone is one of the things that makes blogs such a powerful educational tool. I would therefore fight tooth and nail to make sure that comments are allowed on any blog you create. I have no strong feelings about moderated verses unmoderated comments, but I suspect that, if a school is nervous, pre-moderated posts and comments will be an easier "pitch"!
That's my tuppence worth. I admit to having limited experience of any blogging tool other than Blogger, so it's over to the readers of this blog - all comments and suggestions for Anonymous will be gratefully received. Share your experience of other tools here. Also, a good way to convince schools of the value of blogging is to show them good examples of classroom blogs, so any comments pointing us to good school Art blogs would be very much appreciated.
And a reply from Anonymous revealing his or her secret identity would be good too!
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