The Blogging Kraken: How to Keep Up with All Your Students’ Blogs?

Blogging is about reading and about writing in digital spaces. We want students to make their learning and thinking visible. We are developing a platform and a blogging pedagogy for students to document, reflect, organize, manage their online learning records and using student work on blogs as a source for formative assessment. Timely feedback from their teachers, peers and a global audience is critical to the process.

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Once the “Blogging Kraken” has been released and the process is on its way, keeping up with:

  • reading all of students’ posts
  • giving timely feedback
  • using student work on blog posts as formative assessment
  • holding students accountable for observing copyright
  • connecting and disseminating your students work to a global audience
  • continually developing a workflow

can quickly turn into a nightmare for a teacher if they are not prepared and organized.

Below you will find one strategy to help with developing a workflow.

Since Google Reader was discontinued, I have been using Feedly as my RSS Reader. I keep two separate Feedly accounts, one for my own professional readings and one specifically for student blogs.

The initial set-up is tedious (if you have a lot of students to follow), but well worthwhile the effort. Each individual student’s blog URL needs to be added manually to Feedly.

feedly-add-content

It is a good idea to create separate folders/categories to house the blog feeds of individual classes, blocks or entire grade levels. Once a URL is added, Feedly will give you a choice to add it to an already existing category or to create a new one on the spot.

feedly-add-category

Once the categories are created and blog feeds are added it becomes much simpler to:

  • have an overview of students’ work
  • have one-stop access to their posts (no need to visit each student blog URL individually)
  • keep up with when students are posting or if they have posted
  • keep track of the posts you have already read and still need to read
  • search ALL blog posts in ALL your feeds (not just within one particular blog)
  • see any overall trend (How often students post- timely, quantity? Use of keywords and “quality” blog titles)

feedly-grade-level

Feedly allows you with the use of categories/groups to take a look at a list of latest blog post by looking at the entire category or by choosing individual student blogs.

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Feedly also supports the teacher’s workflow to:

  • save specific posts to be responded to later or saved to other platforms (Ex. Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper, etc.)
  • disseminate via email and several social network platforms (ex. Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, etc.)

feedly-save-disseminate

An important feature of Feedly is to be able to export and import all the categories and the feeds you added. Once you have created a school or grade level wide Feedly account, you can:

  • export all by creating an OMPL file of your account (make sure you are logged into the account to export before you click on the link) or click on your account name in the bottom left sidebar, then scroll down to the “Save as OPML” button to export your feeds and categories.

feedly-export

The file that you are downloading, can now be shared with a colleague with the same students or an administrator.

  1. Go to your Feedly account (again be logged in)
  2. Click on your name in the bottom left sidebar
  3. Then click on the Import OPML botton
  4. Browse for the OPML file that was previously shared
  5. Import the feeds

feedly-import

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 How are you organizing you workflow of keeping up with student blogs?