I’ve been fortunate to have been invited to lead quite a few blogging workshops over the last couple of years. In nearly all of those workshops there are a few widgets that I generally recommend adding to classroom blogs and websites.
SpeakPipe is a
service that allows visitors to your blog to leave you voice messages
without picking up a phone. With SpeakPipe installed on your blog anyone
can click on the “send voicemail” button and leave a message for you.
When a visitor clicks the “leave voicemail” button she will be prompted
to allow access to her computer. Then the visitor can start recording a
message for you. Visitors can, but don’t have to, enter their names and
email addresses for you. You can listen to and download the messages
left for you in your SpeakPipe inbox. SpeakPipe has
easy-to-install plugins for Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. It took me
about two minutes to install SpeakPipe on a Blogger blog. For use on
other blogging platforms SpeakPipe has a script that you can install
Google Voice is an alternative to SpeakPipe that I used in the past. You can read about that here.
DropItToMe is a service that integrates with Dropbox.com
to allow students to upload files to my Dropbox account without seeing
the contents of my account. DROPitTOme works by synchronizing with your Drop Box account. After connecting the two services DROPitTOme
provides a url that you can give to others to upload files to your Drop
Box account. You must specify a password that has to be entered before
an upload can take place. Give the url and password to those people you
want to be able to upload files to your Drop Box account.
Your classroom blog doesn’t have to be all business all the time. Consider adding a fun, educational game to your blog. Having a game on it could make your blog a little more appealing and
hopefully help your students get in the habit of visiting your blog on a regular basis. Novel Games
offers more than 200 games that you can embed into your blog, wiki, or
website for free. Most of the games are simple logic games, basic
mathematics games, geography games, and spelling games like hangman. Novel Games also offers Sudoku and Mahjongg games.
public Google Calendar and embed it into your blog to share all kinds
of helpful information. In my Google Calendars events I include links to public Google Documents that include outlines of
upcoming lesson plans.