I want to expand on another educational resource that I mentioned in TESOL Connections back in January called Kidblog. Although some might think of blogging as an activity for people with too much free time, it can also be integrated into your curriculum for students of almost any age.
Firstly, a little bit about Kidblog. Unlike some sites, Kidblog has no advertising, is completely free, and takes security very seriously. This makes it the ideal platform for working with students, especially those who are not yet adults and whose parents might be concerned about student exposure to certain material on the web. Once registered, it takes no time at all to set up a class. Kidblog provides a few different options for adding students and makes individual blogs for students as they are added to the class.
As the administrator, you can determine how much control students have over their blogs by changing the user settings and moderating posts. With one account you can create multiple classes and add up to 200 students per class which is pretty amazing for a free resource. The only limitation is upload space, which is capped at 500 MB. Kidblog is constantly improving and adding features; it also has free support in case you run into some problems along the way.
How you use Kidblog is totally up to you. I think it is a great way to have students share stories about themselves with classmates and create an online space all their own. Some students might have some experience with this but others might not. Learning how to represent yourself online is an important thing to learn, especially as hobbies, portfolios, and even dating are moving online.
Additionally, Kidblog is a great platform for writing assignments and peer editing. I use Kidblog in this way by having students write original posts and requiring students to respond to or edit two or three of the posts written by classmates. Usually peer-to-peer feedback is public, which is an excellent resource for the whole class, but I like the option of leaving students private posts with feedback and grades. Kidblog is so simple yet flexible enough that you can adapt it to whatever you choose.
There are also other sites for blogging that target educators, which I hope to check out soon. Mr. James Dunn commented on my TESOL Connections article that he likes Edmodo and has had success using it with his classes. I have also heard of Edublogs being used by teachers. So, if you have experience with either of these, Kidblog, or other blogging sites, please leave your comments on them so we can try them out.