Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rolling Over Individual Blogs

I have spoken a lot about the benefits for children when they have their own blog to use as a record of learning.  In the last few months I have presented workshops at two Google Apps Summits on how to manage a quantity of individual blogs. A question I was asked from at both GAFE Summits by teachers was, "Why go to all this effort managing the individual student blogs?". They would like to simplify matters by simply getting each student in the class to set up their own blog for the year and the teacher have no responsibility for what happens the following year.

There are three parts to my response:

  1. In our Manaiakalani schools the teachers take delight in supporting the children build their record of learning - an ePortfolio - and our original child bloggers are entering their 6th year of having a personal blog.  So we do need to be able to track the blogs and support the children as they transition from class to class.
  2. If we create the blogs with an accurate naming structure the posts and comments feed through to Teacher Dashboard - a fabulous way to monitor them for the teacher.
  3. We are able to ensure the settings are all completed in the way we have discovered gives us maximum accountability for the online supervision of minors. (More about that at this link)

As we enter a new academic year I have updated the workflow for a school managing the transition of a set of student blogs onto the next teacher(s).

I will headline the stages below, but the full process is available for anyone to use at this link.

Blog Rollover - Workflow

Step by step to transitioning the student individual blogs at the end of the academic year to their new class/teacher.

Stage One
Getting Organised
Get all the documentation sorted BEFORE starting the rollover process so it happens in a methodical fashion

Stage Two
Passing on a class set of blogs to the new teacher(s)
This really should be done by the teacher who taught the class in the PREVIOUS academic year.

Stage Three
Updating information on the new set of blogs
The classroom teacher has just been made Admin of a whole new set of student blogs. Now the header information, which displays publicly, needs to be updated.

Stage Four
Spreading the word about the children’s blogs is an important way of supporting their learning.

I do hope this is of use to others!


  1. Hello Dorothy,
    I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. My assignment for this class is to summarize my visits to your blog with a post on my personal blog, This will also be shared on our class blog, The information you have shared in your blogs is not only important to me as a future teacher but it is also useful to me as a parent. I have a child who is in the 9th grade and in 2012 our local high school distributed Macbooks to every student. Many parents and teachers still question why? Your blogs have answered that question as well as many others. I felt that your responses eliminate a lot of the fears people have about how the students will be supervised and held accountable for what they are doing online. There was one comment that really got my attention and that is "the teachers take delight in supporting the children build their record of learning." First, I love the idea that each student has an ePortfolio that will continue with them year to year. Second, I like the idea of seeing more students and teachers taking delight in education. Hopefully, as our high school transition into this new age of technology, our passion for learning will be reignited. Thank you for the step by step instructions on how to do a Blog Rollover.

  2. Hey Mrs. Dorthy,

    Like Tonya, I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to explore your blog and comment on your latest post. My personal blog is Also, feel free to visit our class blog at
    I truly enjoyed reading this post. I agree with you on the importance of students creating their own blogs to use as an ePortfolio, and at the end of the year allowing their teacher to roll over their student's blogs to the next grade level. Blogs as ePortfolios is an easier way to document any student's progress. It is smart and efficient.
    A question that I do have though is, if a student for example is in the fourth grade and has a blog and that student transfers to a different school, will that fourth grade teacher be able to roll over that students blog to their new fifth grade teacher at his/her new school?
    Thank you for laying out the steps on how to roll over students blogs. This post is very insightful. I am looking forward to your next post!

  3. Hello Mrs. Dorthy,
    My name is Chelsea Hadley and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I enjoyed reading your post. Your post are very helpful in many ways. I like the idea of rolling over students blogs to their next teacher. I love blogging and think it is important that students know how to blog. Thank you for laying out the steps on how to roll over students blogs. I enjoyed reading your post and plan ono reading many more!

  4. To Tonya, Jerica and Chelsea - thanks so much for engaging with this lengthy post! I realised today that I have been blogging with kids for 8 years now and I am a 'true believer' in the impact it can have on students' learning.
    @Jerica - we have indeed passed blogs from one school to the next when our students move schools. For older children who can legally set up their own GMail account it is easy - we pass it on to them. For younger children we have done a mix or passing it to the parent to Administer or contacted the teacher at the new school.

  5. Dorothy just a word of thanks for all the information about creating and administering individual student blogs. It is a good but real challenge to establish a system for the management of a community of blogs. Much appreciated.

  6. Hi Dorothy, I met you recently at the Sydney GAFE conference. I work at an iPad school and we are looking to use Blogger as the students 'digital exercise books' as you suggested. Can I please have your email address to discuss a couple of things like how you started and how your students shared their blogs with their teachers?

  7. My name is Haley Torries and I am enrolled in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I like all of your ideas on making student blogs more accessible for the teachers. I also like how students will be able to see their progress through the years because they use the same blog the whole way. I enjoyed reading all of your ideas and learning from them. One day I hope to use some of them in my classroom.

  8. Kia Ora Dorothy, I teach at Corinna School, which is one of the school's in the East Porirua cluster that you are currently supporting. We are keen to introduce students to blogging but have come up against a few issues... 1. We can no longer get blogger to show on the students Google sites. It just comes up with a blank screen and the only thing we can think of doing at this stage is to get students to turn their "shields" off. Is there another solution?? 2. Staff are also concerned about privacy/ safety issues. Do your school's/ students make their blogs public? What is your thinking around this? Thanks Ardelle

    1. Kia ora Ardelle, Firstly the Sites issue: This has been resolved by Google. It was a iFrame issue. I would suggest deleting the gadget and re-embedding.
      Second the privacy question: I think there is only one purpose for blogging - sharing with an audience. So I can't imagine why you would blog if it was not public. Even on this post you will see comments from around the globe. That is why we blog, to share with an authentic audience. I am all in favour of diaries and have a collection from my prolific ancestors going back into the 1700s. I love reading them but they were not read while they were alive. People who want privacy should get a gorgeous book and a pen that feels delightful to hold in the hand and go for it. Different purposes.

  9. Hi Mrs. Burt,

    This is Luana Madden again from the University of South Alabama's EDM310 course. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to read and comment on children's blogs. I believe blogs can be a great educational tool for young students, especially when they can be monitored by the teacher. Blogs can help students stay up to date with using technology on a daily basis. Students can practice use of proper grammar while perfecting their typing skills, both of which are highly wanted skills in the professional world.