Kidblog is thrilled to announce a massive update! We’ve listened to our users and made the world’s best student-publishing platform even better with a plethora of new features for teachers and students.
Here are the 14 features you’ll enjoy in the new version of Kidblog:
- Sign Up with Google - Have a Google account? Use it to sign up at Kidblog! This is huge for schools that have Google Apps for Education accounts for teachers and students. Now you can choose to create Kidblog classes and users with the login credentials you’re already using for Docs and Gmail. One less password to remember! (And as always, teachers can still create student accounts with no email addresses required.)
- Signup Codes - Our user-management tools have always been the best – and they just got better. Now students can join your Kidblog class with a registration code provided by the teacher. Students simply click the “Secret Code” button at Kidblog.org, and they’re ready to blog! Teachers still manage all aspects of student accounts, but now you don’t have to type names or upload a class list. (Pro tip: For multi-year portfolios, your students can log in to their previous Kidblog class, enter your new class code, and join your class while saving a record of their previous year’s work.) And we’ve added a link that displays a huge version of the code on the screen for classes with projectors so students can see it from anywhere in the room or lab
- Private Comments – Kidblog is the only blogging platform that lets teachers leave private comments for students on posts and comments. Only the original post author or commenter will be able to see your comment. This is a great way to provide discreet feedback to students in the context of a broader class discussion.
- “Comment for Me” - You asked and we listened. Students now have a comment feed that displays all comments left for them across your entire Kidblog class community. Comments appear in this list if a comment is left on the student’s blog, or when someone replies to the student’s comment on someone else’s blog. No more wondering where the conversation is happening!
- Top Navigation Bar – We’ve added a convenient navigation bar at the top of every page to help you move between publishing posts and reading posts, and to switch between your different classes. Your entire Kidblog ecosystem is always at your fingertips.
- iPad and Mobile Improvements - Can’t wait for the Kidblog app to come out in September? You don’t have to wait! The new version of Kidblog works seamlessly in your mobile browser (Safari, Chrome, Android). The rich text editor is now fully functional for a true WYSIWYG experience. For native publishing, you can always download the WordPress app.
- Media Uploads - Photo and Video uploading is easier than ever. The Flash Uploader has been replaced with a simple drag and drop window. Students also have better access to their upload library for a more rich publishing experience.
- Blogroll Widget - As requested by many users, including world-renowned expert on student blogging Lisa Parisi, we’ve included a blogroll sidebar widget that lets you add links to your class blog feed. Use blogroll links to connect with other Kidblog classes, link back to your regular classroom website, and aggregate other important URLs your students may need while blogging.
- Categories -I know, where were these all along…? Well, categories always existed, but they were managed in connections with a relatively complicated “Groups” feature. We’ve made it much simpler. Teachers now create categories that students can use to label their posts. Create categories for small groups, a unit theme, or a specific project. You’ll be able filter posts by category for easy organization of content.
- Privacy Settings- Kidblog’s privacy settings have always set the standard that other student blogging platforms have tried to emulate. Our sensible privacy options let teachers decide if blogs are totally private, open to the class, shared with classes of your choosing, or open to the public. You can connect directly with other Kidblog classes for “semi-private” blogs. Only the members of your class and your invited classes can read your students’ posts. As a convenience, when you connect with another class, their class URL is automatically added to your blogroll so students can navigate easily between connected classes. And no matter what settings you choose, students can always create private posts that only their own teacher can see. When it comes to privacy controls, no one else compares!
- Avatars- This feature came out at the end of the last school year, so we’re mentioning it in case you missed it. Students can now upload a small icon as a visual indicator of their blog persona. These images can be totally anonymous and students can choose from a list of predefined avatars or upload their own image. This feature truly adds a sense of ownership to students’ posts and comments.
- Student Dashboard – Students now have their own dashboard containing stats about their posts and comments, as well as information about their theme and custom blog title. This dashboard will soon contain other great statistics like visitor counts and other data to motivate your student to publish for an authentic audience.
- Easy Logins- Kidblog’s unique class login system has always been awesome. Simply navigate to your unique class URL and choose your name from the list. No complex usernames like “SarahG987663″ to memorize. As such, teachers should remember to bookmark or post their Kidblog class URL on their classroom homepage so students can log in effortlessly.
- Fresh New Look! – The publishing control panel has a modern new look, with responsive menus that work great on mobile devices. Our interface is still kid-friendly, but we’re now even more appealing to older students (middle & high school). Finally our Kidblog homepage has a new logo and paper airplane “mascot” – you’ve got to do something with all that paper now that your notebooks have gone digital!
Thanks for making Kidblog the world’s most popular student-blogging platform – please leave a comment below with any questions, feedback, or ideas for new features!
-The Kidblog Team