Best of 2013 So Far…Picking The Best Platform For Your Classroom Blog

We’re half-way through 2013. Like I’ve done in years past, this week I’ll be featuring some of the best new tech tools of 2013 as well as some of the most popular posts of the year.

If you haven’t started a blog yet, choosing the right blogging platform can make a big difference in how effective your blog use is in the long run.

Before we answer the question of which blog platform to use we need to
understand some terminology commonly used when talking about blogs.
Understanding the terminology will help you make an informed decision
about which platform is best for your situation. I wish I had known some
of this when I started blogging.

Hosted Blog: A hosted blog is one whose software is maintained by
a company for its users. Services like Blogger,, and
Tumblr are examples of services on which you can create hosted blogs.
The advantage of using a hosted service is that you don’t have to worry
about installing software, software updates, server maintenance, or
bandwidth capacity. The disadvantage of using a hosted service is that
you don’t have access to the servers hosting your blog, the service may
limit some customization options ( in particular does
this), and if the service closes you will be looking for a new place to
blog (see the panic that ensued when Posterous announced its shutdown).

Self-hosted Blog: A self-hosted blog is one for which you own the
blogging software, you install it on a server or shared server, and you
are responsible for all technical maintenance and updates. The
advantage of having a self-hosted blog is that you can customize it to
your heart’s content, you have access to the server(s) hosting your
blog, and you can move your content from one hosting service to another
if you choose. The disadvantage of a self-hosted blog is that you do
have to feel somewhat comfortable installing the software on a server.
Fortunately, most hosting companies have good tutorials on installing
popular blogging software. Another disadvantage of self-hosting is that
you are responsible for performing all updates and other maintenance
tasks. This can be time consuming for new bloggers. Finally, to have a
self-hosted blog you will have to buy a domain and pay a monthly or
annual hosting fee for your blog. I pay roughly $200 annually to
for hosting and I have eight domains on my plan. If you decided to go
the self-hosted route, Media Temple is my recommendation for a hosting
service. They offer excellent 24/7 customer service and I’ve never
experienced any downtime since I started using them in April of 2012.

The best blog platforms for teachers.
Blogger: This
is Google’s free blogging service. It takes just a minute to start a
blog through Blogger. Blogger offers a nice selection of colorful themes
and templates to choose from. Customizing the layout of your blog is as
easy as dragging and dropping elements into place. You can add
additional authors to your blogs. There are mobile apps for Blogger
and you can post to your blog via email. If you have a Gmail account
you already have a Blogger account. Just sign into your Gmail account
and in the top menu select Blogger from the “more” drop-down menu.
Google Apps for Education users can have Blogger added to their domains
too. The drawback to Blogger is that the only customer support that
you’ll find for it comes in the form of Blogger product discussion
boards and some YouTube videos.

KidBlog is a free hosted blogging service designed for teachers to use
with students. Teachers can create accounts for their students to use to
write blog posts and to write comments on blog posts. Students do not
have to have email addresses in order to use KidBlog. And a great
feature for those times when students forget their passwords is teachers
can reset their students’ passwords. KidBlog blogs are run using
WordPress software, but it’s a limited version of WordPress so you won’t
have the full customization options that you would have if you used the
WordPress software on your own on your own paid hosting service.

Edublogs has been around for quite a while and is well known in the
educational technology community for offering good customer support. The
free version of Edublogs is rather limited in that you cannot include
videos, use custom HTML to embed items into posts, or manage your
students’ accounts. You really need to purchase the “Pro” version of
Edublogs for $39.95/year in order get the features that most teachers

Self-hosting a blog with WordPress: WordPress is free blogging software that you can install on a server. You can get the software at
As mentioned in the “self-hosted” section above, you will have to
purchase a domain and a hosting plan to create and maintain your blog.
Once you have your blog set-up you can do whatever you like with it
including creating and administering accounts for your students to use
to write blog entries and comments on your blog.

Just as a point of clarification, people sometimes confuse the WordPress
software available to download at with is a free hosted blogging service that uses the WordPress
software, but like KidBlog and Edublogs it limits your customization
options because you don’t actually control the software.
will also insert advertising on your blog unless you upgrade to a paid
account for $30 annually.


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!