Tools for your gated blog

General profile:
The Landmark Project provides this free space for teachers as part of their mission to “redefine literacy for the 21st Century.” The project is U.S.-based and run by David Warlick.

To set up an account, your school must obtain a passcode. If you are the first person from your school or district to use blogmeister, you can use the Email David link at the top of the page to request the code, then share it with fellow teachers. Mr. Warlick kindly gave TeachersFirst access to explore the tools. View a sample blog using this tool rom a teacher in Arizona. Please see the User Comments below from this teacher.

Class blogmeister allows you to make a class blog with sub-blogs for each student, and the student names show on the side of the page. The tools are generally user-friendly. One convenient feature is the Class Tool which allows you to have separate areas for each class (or subject) that you teach, so secondary teacher do not have an endless list of students down the side of the blog.

There is a Blogger’s Pledge (word document) available for download from within the blog, as well. Look for the small text link at the bottom left in Edit Mode.

Overall, a visually cluttered but useful tool.

Features available: Yes/no What they call it, and how to find it Reviewer comments
Password-protect entire blog
Class Panel> after you create the class, set the password under Basics (tiny text link at left) Separate passwords for each “class.”
Choices of blog appearance
“Templates” available at the top of the screen when you are logged into the admin portion of the blog 7 choices, all pretty bland. The art teacher would have a hay-day with a critique, but, hey, it’s a BLOG!
Customization of appearance with own graphics
Can upload a class photo or graphic from the Control Panel Displays in the top corner
Teacher-managed registration options
Class Panel> Select class>Class roster No self-registration that we can find. Note: you do NOT need to enter an email address for students. This is optional, even though the space is there.
Teacher-managed posting options
Class Panel> select class> publish security Student posts show under their own names
Teacher-managed commenting options
Class Panel> select class> comment security Simple, understandable options
Teacher-approval of posts and comments
Class Panel> select class> publish and comment security Simple, understandable options
Teacher-managed control over what different members can “see”
Class panel> select class> Publish security and Comment security give the option to limit viewing to those who know the password Simple, understandable options
RSS Feeds
Rss feeds of articles (posts) and comments from class settings for each class and from main control panel for teacher posts  
Help available
A support wiki (collaborative help from other users) is available from Documentation at top right of the blog The wiki may or may not have what you need.

User comments:
From Ben Goodman, a technology teacher at Cimarron Springs Elementary School (blogging in Gr 4-8) in Surprise, Arizona. His blog.

  • Useful features of Blogmeister: “The email notification of pending blog comments by students made Blogmeister very user friendly and easy to use. That ensured that student comments and articles got posted right away.”
  • Ease of use when first using Blogmeister: “Blogmeister was pretty easy to learn to use. Any teacher that set their mind to it should be able to be up and running in fifteen minutes, at least for their personal blog.”

There is an invitation to converse with other teachers using this tool: ”discuss with other educator users about how they are helping students learn by making them webloggers” and instructions for where to email (at the top of the Edit Mode page once you are logged into your blog).