When I initially began my venture into the blogging world in July 2006, I started with Blogger. I liked it well enough–it was the perfect platform for a beginner or a person really rusty on html and clueless in rss creation. I created a presence for me (my professional reflection) and for my school library.
A blog at school
I used the school blog (at the time called @Northside Library) initially to write about the SC Book Award nominees I read for the upcoming school year, and then tried (in vain) to get 3rd-5th graders to respond to my thoughts n the books I wrote about. I did book lunches and they had to “comment” to get an invite. (At least that was one of 6 different ways a student could garner the coveted book lunch invite.) I think the blog itself floundered for a number of reasons, but mainly b/c the idea was so new, and I saw my students only once every 2 weeks. You know, out of site, out of mind…
The dreaded “next” blog
Upon returning to school though in August, I discovered it was not blocked, but the word around the district was that it would be blocked. The issue that seemed to cause concern was the banner along the top that would lead visitors to a randomly selected “next” blog. I clicked through one evening, becoming horrified at what my students could potentially be exposed to, and made the decision to move.
Move to Edublogs
I went to Edublogs from there for both blogs. I stayed there until I purchased and moved over to
my own domain. I have since changed jobs, and so ended the school library blog. My district now has a web program that provides a few 2.0 tools in a walled garden atmosphere, and so right now I am exploring that venue to give students exposure. But I also take my middle schoolers into my reader on a frequent basis when material I read strikes my fancy and I think would be of interest to them. They can then go back to their school blog to react-their personal space.
A place of my own
I stayed with Edublogs, but decided last December to get my own place, and so did just that. But both Blogger and Edublogs gave me invaluable experience. Yes I became frustrated at times with both. One frustration with blogger was the banner at the top. Another was that Blogger did not offer a feed for comments, and part of the delight of using a reader is the ability to visit blogs, and subscribe to both the feed for posts and the feed for comments. Then my reader becomes the place to follow blogosphere conversations, and I can enjoy them there (unless I want to jump in that conversation, in which case I would branch out from my reader to go to the blog and comment.)
Blogger frustrations fixed
Blogger has rectified the comments feed, and it is now meta data you can have placed on your blog so readers can subscribe to both the posts and comments. Others have come up with ways to remove the offending banner at the top. I saw the directions in the first edition of Will Richardson’s Book, but by the time I saw it I had abandoned Blogger. Funny you bring this up, because a friend just recently asked me if I knew how to get rid of the banner. She had Will’s second edition of the book, but the instructions were not working. I sent her to this link with the message “Check this out with its video tutorial. She reports that it works! And she has since removed the banner from her Blogger blog.
Edublogs Frustrations-very few
My issue with Edublogs was really just deciding I wanted my own space. I had used up almost all the free space they give, and so to continue I was either going to have to go into paying for it, or leaving it. So I opted to leave, but to go to my own space, which I do pay for through BlueHost.
Edublogs is catching more grief I hear, but I still have fond memories of using that service as well. I do not think I would be the blogger I am today w/o Blogger or Edublogs helping me along the way.
Thanks for asking, Paul.