This semester, teaching two sections of “Technology 4 Teachers” at the University of Central Oklahoma, I really wanted to use free blogging platforms with my students which they could readily utilize without hesitation when they have their own classrooms. Last semester teaching at the University of North Texas, I used a commercial blog on 21classes.com with mixed results. This semester, my 9 am class is using a WordPress blog hosted by EduBlogs, and my 11 am section is using KidBlog. Tonight, however, I was compelled to upgrade ($15 for 3 months) to a Pro EduBlogs account because of the automatic, unsolicited advertising hyperlinks which were being inserted into my students’ posts since I had a “free” account. This is what one of the posts looked like “before” I upgraded.
Afterwards, not only was the banner advertising removed, but also those extremely irritating and unwanted in-post hyperlinks.
Maybe this is something that EduBlogs has been doing for awhile on their free accounts, I’m not sure. I was prepared to put up with banner ads on a free account, but I absolutely couldn’t stand to have words hyperlinked on my students’ posts by the advertising scheme EduBlogs is running. Teaching my students to intentionally and judiciously hyperlink is one of the important skills I hope to help them develop this term. Having auto-inserted advertising links on their words struck me tonight as an affront. I know some of the readers of my blog are EduBlog fans, and I’m very appreciative of all the advocacy work EduBlogs does for the cause of educational blogging. I’m glad they’re finding a way to monetize their business model. I really object to this kind of in-line, in-post hyperlinked advertising, however… and on the basis of my aversion to that kind of advertising don’t plan to use a free EduBlogs site again for a class I teach.
Hopefully EduBlogs will consider removing this kind of intrusive advertising on free blogs. Does anyone else find this kind of linked advertising an affront? I guess the reason I feel so strongly about it is because I intentionally hyperlink with care when I write posts. It’s part of the “best practices” for effective blogging, IMHO. Having an automated advertising scheme make my words, or the words of my students, into ad hyperlinks feels much more like having an unpleasant vegetable force-fed down my throat than simply tolerating a sidebar, header, or footer banner ad. It’s more than I can take.
On the positive side, upgrading to an EduBlogs pro account did allow me access to their “premium” themes, so I was able to activate the Regulus WordPress theme. I like it better than my previous choice for several reasons, but a primary one is that it shows the post author with each post. That’s important on a class / team blog.
21classes has changed their pricing model since last fall. I was on a monthly paid plan, as I recall they didn’t have a free option. Now they do, and it’s ad free.
For resources and suggestions (including blog platform options) for class blogging, see the “text” page of TalkWithMedia.com. Those include the post from earlier this month, “Individual vs Team Blogs for PreService Edu Students (Comparing KidBlog & EduBlogs.)”
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On this day..
- Lessons Learned as a School Director of Technology - 2019
- Narrated Sketchnote on Mindfulness and Resiliency - 2016
- Classroom Creativity: The Longer Path to Success - 2016
- 5 Hours of Professional Development Podcasts from Yukon Today - 2013
- Student Storychasers Begin Work at Skyview Elementary in Yukon, Oklahoma - 2012
- Think Differently and Support AutismOklahoma.org - 2012
- Sometimes our toughest teachers prepare us the best - 2011
- Communication in the Digital Age (via ShareTabs) - 2010
- Embedding Video in a VoiceThread: Role Playing Annabeth Chase from The Lightning Thief (book) - 2010
- Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity and Transforming our Schools (ITSC 2009) - 2009