If you don’t want to use our WordPress Installation for your teacher site, the next best thing is to use Edublogs. This is a free site where teachers can create their own blogs. It’s using WordPress, and it’s relatively ad-free. They’re using a newer version of WordPress than we are, so there are a few neat things that we don’t have yet. At the same time, they don’t have all of the cool plugins that we have. So there are advantages and disadvantages to using it. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about or anything.
The neat part is the section of the site for students. Learnerblogs is a companion site to Edublogs that allows students to create their own blogs.These free blogs also do not have ads (except for a small banner for Learnerblogs itself). Students can create blogs easily, and communicate with the global audience.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this. It’s a great way to give students a global voice, and people don’t need to have accounts or passwords or anything to see the content the students are posting. At the same time, the students have to know how to behave safely online (see this post about that). The other problem is that you, as the teacher, lose control of the content. Free speech is always a double-edged sword.
If you’re concerned about these things, consider going to Moodle. Moodle is online courseware, but our teachers are (so far) primarily using it to do online discussions. Because the students have to have accounts to get it, the content is much more private. Also, since it’s hosted locally, the school has more control over the content.
Either way, the days when children were seen and not heard are over. Everyone can have a voice now.