Why we’re thinking about leaving Bluehost and finding a new home for our Classroom Blogs

We run several classroom blogs and professional sites, including this blog on using educational technology in the classroom. Mostly we use WordPress, but lately we’ve been experimenting with bulleting boards (phpBB) for our online literature circles.

You can only go so far with free accounts, whether they’re with Blogger, WordPress.com, Edublogs, or Wikispaces. Eventually, you want to be able to do more. That’s when we looked into setting up a self-hosted WordPress account and looked into finding a web host.

Up until now, we’ve been quite happy with BlueHost. They use Simple Scripts to let you set up a variety of websites with the click of a button, including WordPress, phpBB, etc.

So, what changed?

Continue reading “Why we’re thinking about leaving Bluehost and finding a new home for our Classroom Blogs”

Make Money Online in the Classroom

If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve already been indoctrinated into the world of Making Money Online. Just do a search using one of the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft), and you’ll see ads beside your results.

When we were growing up, we made money as teens by mowing the lawn, babysitting the neighbour’s kids, or having a paper route. As we got older, we started to get our first job: working at summer camp, a fast food joint or the local supermarket. Finally, we went to college or university to earn a degree and get a “real” job.

So it can be hard for us to understand that kids want to (and can) make money online.

Here are two things to think about:

1. Make money online as a teacher to help offset the costs of your technology-integrated classroom.

2. Explore the topic of Making money online with your students (either as a media literacy unit or as an extra-curricular club.)

Continue reading “Make Money Online in the Classroom”

Still using WordPress for our Classroom Website

We’re just creating our new classroom website for the 2009-2010 year. We had it up and running in about 15 minutes by setting up WordPress 2.8.4 (3 minutes to create the site; 12 minutes to cut and paste the content from our Meet the Teacher newsletter.)

Continue reading “Still using WordPress for our Classroom Website”

Twitter in the Classroom

twitterAt the end of June, our Grade 8 Language Arts (English) class experimented with using Twitter in the classroom.

Continue reading “Twitter in the Classroom”

WordPress Plugins we use on our School Website

We haven’t posted recently because we’ve been busy experimenting with educational technology for the classroom, instead of simply writing about it.

It turns out that one of our colleagues has a kindergarten student who has his own free blog. Apparently, he reports on the classroom activities and uses exclamation marks quite liberally in his writing.

So, to honour the future bloggers of the world, we decided to do a quick post showcasing WordPress plugins that we use on our school website and classroom homework website.

(We run our classroom and school website using free WordPress software on our own self-hosted blog. What gives us the edge over someone who only has a free blog account is that when you run the WordPress software on your own computers, you have complete control over which plugins or themes you install, essentially making your classroom website infinetely expandable and customizable.)

Continue reading “WordPress Plugins we use on our School Website”

How to Hide Unmoderated Comments from Students in WordPress

Many teachers are blogging in the classroom. It’s authentic writing that hooks struggling readers and writers, especially boys.

However, there is one huge flaw with using WordPress or Edublogs in the classroom. Students can read unmoderated comments when they are logged into the edublog or class blog before the comments get moderated and published online. They can’t edit the comments, but they can still read them.

What does this mean? Continue reading “How to Hide Unmoderated Comments from Students in WordPress”

Social Networking with Web 2.0

Our Google pagerank has dropped to a rank of two and we’re not sure why.

Pagerank is Google’s opinion of how important a website is. The higher the pagerank, the more important Google (and apparently the world) thinks you are, and the higher you show up in a search listing.

In a nutshell, Google is a popularity contest. The more websites that link to your website, the more popular you and the better your pagerank. If a cool kid (i.e. a popular website) links to your website, then their vote counts for more (after all, they’re cool), and your pagerank improves even more.

So we’ve decided to socialize. Continue reading “Social Networking with Web 2.0”

Use Google Translate to Help Parents Understand What is Going On

Consider your own experiences with communicating with parents about your reading program. What are the key barriers to parent involvement in your teaching situation?

Personally, I’m big on integrating technology into my classroom practice.

However, I think the greatest barrier to parent involvement is the language barrier. Continue reading “Use Google Translate to Help Parents Understand What is Going On”

Edublogs that catch my eye

Travel across the blogosphere and you inevitably come across your fair share of blogs. Here are a few that caught our eye:

High School Teacher Blogs

Elementary Blogs

Teacher Blogs

Domain Names: Things Teachers Need To Know Before They Buy a Domain Name for their Classroom Blog or School Website

There are lots of good trusted companies that will register domain names for you. They range in price from a few dollars to fifty dollars per year.

But, be careful. Often times, the refund policy on a domain name ranges from no refund to a few days. Different companies have different special offers, but always read the fine print.

Teachers are not usually webmasters, so here are some things to know if you are thinking about buying a domain name for your school website or classroom blog:

  • You can buy a domain name separate from a web hosting package. (If you’re using a free service like WordPress.com or Edublogs.org to host your class blog, chances are, you’re only in the market for a website name.)
  • Sometimes a domain name registrar will sell domain names for $1.99 per year. Read the fine print: they might be for less popular domain extensions (i.e. .info), the price might be valid for only the first year, or you might need to buy a hosting package as well.
  • The typical .com or .ca registration costs around $10 per year. At this price, you should be able to point your domain name to any server in the world. (Be careful: If you use a free service like WordPress.com or Edublogs.org, you might have to pay a fee to have your new domain name show up on the address bar. For example, if I buy the domain name classroom-teacher.ca, I can point it to my wordpress blog (classroomteacher.wordpress.com). If I type in classroomteacher.ca, it will send me to my wordpress blog, but the address in my webbrowser will switch to classroomteacher.wordpress.com unless I pay a premium to WordPress.com).
  • The Canadian Internet Registration Authority publishes a list of accredited registrars that are allowed to sell .ca domain names. Make sure you shop around. Prices vary significantly. (Some places charge over $30 per year for a Canadian domain name.)
  • Make sure you get domain name privacy when you register your domain name. (Otherwise, students can look up your address, email, and telephone number). By default, the information you use to sign up for a domain name is publicly listed in the whois database, unless you get a privacy package included from your webhost. (For example, BlueHost offers free Privacy with their web hosting package. UPDATE: Why we’re thinking about leaving BlueHost.). All personal domain name registrations in Canada are automatically hidden from the whois database.
  • It can take up to 24-48 hours for your domain name to become live on the internet. (Your new domain name address needs to be sent to DNS servers around the world and sometimes this can take time.)

Where do we shop for domain names?

We currently have domain names registered with the following companies: