Monday, January 28, 2008

Experimenting with Google Apps

For a long time I have tried to find the easy way to create individual blogs for my class. I tried Blogmeister but could never get any response from my emails. I looked at other blog sites to help me find a way to easily create student blogs where what they post is put on a centralized blog. Unfortunately, I could not find what I was looking for.

I decided to suck it up last weekend and go ahead and create blogs on Blogger for my students. I had to get each student an individual email account, but after around 8 addresses, gmail quit on me. It thought I was creating email addresses for spamming. It directed me to Google Apps. To make a long story shorter, I used my web address to create a Google Apps account. It allowed me to quickly and easily create email addresses for my students and therefor get Blogger accounts set up quickly. I will discuss our use of Google Apps as we continue to use them.

I then set up a real messy Rube Goldberg setup that emailed new posts from the students blogs to an email account which through a filter then forwarded them to a blog (Compendium) that I set up. It saves the posts as drafts and then I manually post each to the blog. (For peace of mind I also have all the comments moderated.

My students have been commenting on blog posts I made. The other two fifth grade classes I teach still communicate this way. I really want the students to be able to comment on each others posts. I think that this may force the students to think more critically knowing that their peers are going to be looking at what they say. I will continue discussing this as I learn more about how the students make the blogs their own.

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