Over the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about the ‘ups and downs’ of blogging. I should probably have put the Downs and Ups in the title section of this post, as the period in question began with the Downs!
This was due to some frustrations with edublogs. Things were extremely slow for a while, and this was very frustrating when trying to post about Kim and Gail’s visit. I also worried about all the teachers I’ve been helping recently to set up class blogs. I imagined their frustration at not being able to access edublogs so soon after being ‘converted’!
To top it all, some teachers who had set up class blogs, have begun noticing adverts appearing on their posts. One Headteacher also telephoned to say that a parent had complained about an advert on the Primary 2 class blog that he thought was particularly inappropriate for young children.
The only way to stop the ads is to become an edublogs supporter. This costs around £30 a year. This also allows you to disable ads on up to 30 other blogs (a class set?), although the extra blogs wouldn’t have any of the other supporter benefits – such as extra storage space or access to plugins.
Initially, this seemed like a good solution to the ads problem on pupils individual blogs. After some deliberation, however, I recalled the situation that arose last session when my class used learnerblogs, and the problems that arose then when ads began appearing on their posts.
At the time, I wrote:
Last weekend, I made the decision to move the class individual blogs away from learnerblogs over to edublogs. Recently there was an announcement in the edublogs support blog to say there would no longer be an option to sign up for learnerblogs accounts, but that any existing ones would remain active.
It may have been a coincidence, but around about the same time, adverts began appearing all over the pupils’ learnerblogs and they started receiving some spam comments. Last Friday, however, a comment appeared on the main class blog from a pupil to say that a very inappropriate comment was awaiting moderation. Normally I would have moderated the comment first, but it must have appeared on her blog as she was logged in to update it.
The conversations on the main class blog as she tried to seek advice can be viewed here.
I made a decision to close down the pupil’s blog (at least I copied and pasted all her posts before taking the ‘one way trip’!). I also erased another pupil’s blog where there had been a previous spam comment noticed. It was a rushed decision and the next morning I decided to create new edublogs for the pupils.
Last Monday, we spent our computer time exporting all information from the learnerblogs accounts and importing it into the new edublogs accounts. It was a simple process and the children managed to do this themselves. They left a short goodbye message on their old blogs and provided a link to their new blogs.
Our next job is to activate the ‘Akismet’ spam key required to deal with spam comments. I’ve had this installed in the class blog and have had over 1000 comments deleted as spam……. and I still need to replace links on the class blog.
I deliberately used bold for the last paragraph, because I believe now that the ‘Akismet’ spam key is necessary for pupil blogs so that there is a safeguard in place to help prevent the experience described here from re-occurring. Unfortunately, because the pupil blogs have no access to the Akismet spam plugin, that precautionary measure cannot be taken.
I’m now of the opinion that recommending edublogs for pupils is not feasible and I need to try to quickly find an alternative solution. Every day more and more teachers are asking for advice – and I’m suddenly confused about what that advice should be 🙁
I came across this 5th graders blog recently (just surfing!) and on it I found this wonderful summary of what blogging meant to Eddie at the time.
The image really cheered me up and I decided to keep on looking for safer ways for pupils to blog.
I was also delighted that Maryam ,who has now moved on to High School, is still reading the Carronshore Blog and took the time to comment on Mrs P’s recent visit to Carronshore Primary School. (last years P7 can’t access their own blogs any more because of an issue with having to renew edublogs passwords a while ago …. but that’s another story!).
Hello Primary 5!
It’s me Maryam! Sorry i haven’t wrote in ages, just been sooooo busy!
I have been looking at all the latest updates of your blog and i was really shocked at this video! When i was in primary 7 (last year) we talked to all stars and Mrs P and Mrs D from the AllStars! Lucky you guys for meeting them!
Anyway, I know it is a little bit late but..
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HeHe, i would have said it earlier but i have been quite busy. School is really good! Except my English teacher has left with was really sad, but now we have 3 English teachers which is very confusing.. very.
I have been getting quite alot of tests at school on sciences and i am really enjoying all of them and i cannot wait till i go on holiday to Pakistan on the 4th of February, i haven’t seen my mum’s side of the family for 4 years! I can’t wait!
I will write back soon.
The final ‘UP‘ happened last night on twitter when Andrew and Sinclair offered some great advice …. and I’ll be taking up the offer of further help from both Sinclair and David who say they’re willing to answer more questions I have about finding solutions to our Blogging problems. I’m very grateful that they’re willing to share their experise …. I need all the help I can get 🙂