I have been using a free trial membership of Kidblog for a couple of weeks. It took me a bit longer than I expected to set up this classroom blogging platform but it was worth it.
What kids get: Kidblog provides a safe internet platform for writing to an authentic audience. The kid benefits increase exponentially when teachers purchase a subscription (see below). Either way, students can log in and blog without an email address. Even in the free version, there are many adorable/cool avatars from which to select and it’s easy to upload most images from their computer. Without the paid subscription, all images don’t fit neatly into the allotted space. With teacher approval, students may allow guests (“connections”) to access and comment on their posts. Kids’ posts will not appear by any logical grouping unless the teacher pays for it.
What teachers get: I’m using a free trial right now, but for only $36, a teacher may purchase a year’s subscription for unlimited classes and students. A school or district-wide membership is also available. A feature worth paying for is the ability to divide students into groups; right now, every post appears in single long chain. That subscription will also allow you to embed videos, connect with other classes using Kidblog, provide access to more personalized student posts, and create a connection to Google Drive. The paid subscription also gives teacher access to lesson plans and resources. Paid subscription or not, teachers can require approval before anything is posted and before sharing with others is permitted. Teachers create join codes so families and friends can log into Kidblog more easily. It will take time to review and approve all those student posts and the many comments that accompany them. Teachers may not only comment on student posts but create their own posts, too, which allows students easy access to online assignments and rubrics.
Bottom line: If you buy the yearly subscription, Kidblog is well worth the money.
My rating: 3 stars without the paid subscription, probably 5 with it!