After a bit of a rocky start with the skypecast host (that was me) demonstrating remarkable ineptitude in misidentifying muted participants, we had a lot of fun discussing the pros and cons of different educational blogging tools like Classblogmeister, learnerblogs, blogger, etc. We discussed issues of content control, both with student writing (how grammatically correct it should be or permitted NOT to be), how open commenting can positively affect student motivation to write and write well, what happens to classroom blogs at the end of the year, if teachers should introduce students to other social networking environments beyond a protected classroom blog, what blogging tool might be best to start with, and more. What a dramatic example of the flat world in which we live: A global skypecast involving educators at all different levels, from around the globe. In sum, we had about twenty-five different people participate in this skypecast. And the cost? Zero. It was all free! Speaking of free, please feel free to contribute to the blog tools wiki listed below and add suggestions of your own as comments to this skypecast post. The global conversations are just beginning, and hopefully we can do at least one of these per month! The best is yet to come as the conversations we have expand and grow even more diverse, interesting, and worthwhile.

Program Length: 1 hr, 35 min, 39 sec
File size: 21.9 MB

Podcast 11 July 2006(Click here to listen to this podcast)

Show notes for this podcast include:

  1. The post that inspired this skypecast: “The Case for Classblogmeister” by Mark Ahlness
  2. Skypecast Wiki: (please edit/add to this and leave your comments!)
  3. Screenshots from the skypecast tonight
  4. Original skypecast invitation and comments
  5. Additional links are included on the skypecast wiki, please contribute your own and comments as well! 🙂
  6. Guidelines for Participating in a Skypecast

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On this day..

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  • Hi Wes,

    Thanks for organising this… I had some really pressing questions answered. Still have questions but I guess that is what the Wiki is for? I have organised a skypecast for Thursday US time Friday my time. for more info….

    Thanks again,


  • Hi Wesley,
    just listening to your skypecast. Wish I had’ve been there. I’ve put up a link on the wiki for my year 8 class blog on learnerblogs. We have had a bit of a break but we’llbe back writing soon. It’d be great to get comments from some of the people who were in the skypecast in the next week or two. Great listening!

  • Sorry I missed the event. It was after 9:00 when I got back to my hotel room, and just plain tired. I’m listening to the podcast now and have already linked it, the blogs, and the wiki into the online handouts I’ll be using in today’s breakout session on Web 2.0.

    This really is amazing.

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  • I missed the live version…but this version was fantastic…I have contributed to the wiki. I’ll make the next one.

  • “Just plain amazing. Here’s a screenshot Wesley Fryer posted of his computer while hosting the Skypecast last night, Podcast72: Pros and Cons of Educational Blogging Options. How in the world he managed to do this while simultaneously turning mikes on and off, responding to instant messages and emails from several of us, deciding who should go next, guiding the conversation, and occasionally having a good idea of his own 🙂 – is beyond me….”

    Wesley, I assume you were also watching the All Star Game and tucking the kids in…. Thanks for hosting a great conversation! Enjoy your time away. – Mark

  • Mark, a thanks to you for starting the conversation! Yes, Wes, enjoy the family time. After all it is summer!

  • I listened to the podcast of the SkypeCast and appreciated everyone’s comments & thoughts. I felt pangs of regret for not joining in, but I thought Cheryl & Mark spoke very well of the ClassBlogmeister community for all of us!

    My lingering thoughts are the following:
    – It seems like James Farmer’s Edublogs (for students) and LearnerBlogs (for teachers) and David Warlick’s ClassBlogMeister tools are the way to go. They were set up with the k-12 students in mind from the get-go. They both seem to have the same levels of moderation and teachers can set them up thought the Internet without downloading and installing. This last point is important for a lot of teachers. I think the point will be moot in a few years when there a lot of really tech-savy ed-tech directors in schools (like Miguel!) but most teachers get lost within seconds unless the application can be easily accessible via the Internet.
    – The pros of edublogs for me right now is the ability to archive the entire blog from year-to-year. (Someone on the SkypeCast mentioned linking past year’s blogs to the present year’s blog.) ClassBlogmeister has the option to “orphan” past students. That is, their work is saved but does not appear on the live site. There are some ClassBlogMeister users that keep past students on the active roster but the list of students gets pretty long.
    – The second pro of edublogs for me is the ability to “hot link” text. That is, a student can key in text and highlight that text to link to an Internet site. When you use ClassBlogMeister you have to copy\paste the url which whacks out the layout a bit or copy\past the link into html that makes it “hot link.” This is cumbersome for my 5th graders and I often do the html for them before approving the post with the link. This feature alone has had me looking elsewhere for another blogging tool!
    – Lastly and most importantly, I think the community of users is what is most important. I have stayed with ClassBlogMeister simply for the community of users that have supported my use of blogs in the classroom (via the yahoo ClassBlogMeister group) and my students. As Cheryl mentioned in the SkypeCast, many of us simply post our class page to the Yahoo group and other teachers set their kids to commenting! The community of users has been crucial to the success of blogs!! Someone asked what would be a good strat to using blogs? Safety issues is important, but you need to set up an audience for the kids’ postings. An audience that is not just their teachers and their classmates but an audience from around the world. ClassBlogMeister has that community. Not sure if Edublogs does. (And from what I heard briefly from that has a vibrant community too but I want to have comments come in from anywhere — as long as they’re moderated!)

    The COMMUNITY of users trumps the features for me!

  • Gordon, Well done!

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