Blogging can be a great tool for both teachers and students. Teachers can get a lot out of it both personally and professionally – collecting your thoughts, reflecting, sharing best practices, and building a network of connections can all happen through blogging.
Students can bolster their writing skills, connect with other students, and learn the concepts of digital citizenship through blogging. WordPress, Blogger, EduBlogs, and Kidblogs are some of the more popular options for classroom blogging platforms, but there are a number of other options out there – including many that are simple to use and visually minimalist, which can help you and your students to focus on the content, not on the hundreds of widgets and options that can weigh you down.
We’ve put together a list of four of our favorites that are free and easy to use. Do you have another that we haven’t included in our list? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Pen.io is a free service that allows you to create blog posts without signing up for an account. You can create a page that has a unique URL, but you don’t have to register a specific domain or pay for site hosting. It is super easy to use – you just type in the domain you want, select a password, and you get the following screen:
Super simple! If you wanted to make a class site with multiple pages, you can just use the “page” tag. Adding photos is a simple drag and drop process, and you can easily add in videos via the YouTube URL. Some folks might find the page address ending in pen.io to be a downside, but for a free and easy to use blogging platform, it doesn’t factor in negatively at all. Blogging literally doesn’t get any easier than that!
Wardrobe describes itself as a “minimal blogging application’ that attempts to simplify blogging by minimizing the back end ‘stuff’ so that you can focus on the meat and potatoes of blogging – the writing. You download the open source software from GitHub, install it, and go! It offers a number of convenience options such as tagging and scheduling posts.
Medium is a free blogging platform that allows you to blog with minimal “administrative” hoops to jump through. You sign in for an account via Twitter (Medium was started by the Twitter folks), click through the handy tutorial, and you can get started blogging. You’ll see the screen below, which is very self explanatory. Some would consider the requirement of signing in with Twitter to be the downside, but it doesn’t post to your account, so it seems to be very little downside.