Fanschool, formerly Kidblog, is a combination of blogging and social media-style sharing. The end result is a place that students can be expressive with a level of privacy normal blogs may not offer.
Ownership is a big word used a lot when talking about Fanschool as this platform aims to give students a place to collect their work. As more and more digital tools flood schools and colleges, it can become overwhelming, with work sometimes lost across storage spaces.
Fanschool has a goal to help students learn and grow without losing their citizenship. As such, this offers a space to create and share projects without having the whole internet gain access.
Here's all you need to know about Fanschool.
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What is Fanschool?
Fanschool is primarily, at its most basic, a blog website. But thanks to an ability to create networks, follow others and share, it's also a place to build student citizenship and ownership of work.
Using profiles allows students to post blogs, or work if a teacher uses this space for assignments. They can have all their work in one place, refer to it later, and use that in future. Since the platform is socialized, it also means sharing with and gaining insight from others.
The idea is for students to write about their passions and share that with other students.
Fanschool was once a fantasy football league-style setup while Kidblog was for blogging. This now combines the two with blogging front and center while the fantasy data game side of things is under the Fanschool Games section.
How does Fanschool work?
Fanschool is easy for students to use as long as they have a Google or Microsoft account that they can use to sign in. They are then able to create a blog and post it whenever they choose.
That can mean a private blog just for themselves, sharing with a teacher specifically, within a class or group space, or to the public. Nothing goes live until a teacher has approved it – making for a safe space even on a wider scale.
Adults are the only ones able to create classroom or school accounts. They are then able to create class groups, called Spaces, which students can be given a code to join.
Students can follow others by becoming a Fan of them, and this also applies to parents who can Fan their child, allowing them to follow their blog posts. Privacy is paramount though and students are given control over each post, so they decide who will see it. Teachers have control over the group Spaces, in which privacy settings are chosen by them.
What are the best Fanschool features?
Fanschool allows for blog posting and commenting. This can be very useful as a way to offer feedback to others, but also to get insight on work posted to the groups or public. Since there are groups, it allows students to connect over shared interests, making it a great option for teenage students.
While students can post their work and have it kept in one place for future use, due to an ever-changing paywall, this might not be the best for long-term storage, which is a shame.
This platform not only caters to the written word but also supports posting of images and allows students to embed videos. This can make for a rich use of media that allows this to be used as a project creation and submission space for teachers.
Since each post allows the student to decide on privacy, this creates a useful environment to discuss privacy online. It can also help students to think about why they might share something publicly, however, in the case of others stories, only share privately. A useful tool in working on digital citizenship in a thoughtful way.
How much does Fanschool cost?
Fanschool offers a free 14-day trial in which teachers can create spaces for students to work and share blogs.
Teachers can get a paid-for account Individual membership at $99 per year, which allows them and all their students access for 12 months.
Go for the 2 Teacher plan and this will cost $198 per year.
3 Teachers is $297 per year.
4 Teachers is $396 per year.
5 Teachers is $495 per year.
Fanschool best tips and tricks
Have students create three blogs, one private, one for the class, and one for public. Reflect back on the differences between each and on why one may need to be private in certain cases and not others.
Set an open task that allows students to write about what they are passionate about. Monitor how they grow a following and help them become a reliable source for others on that subject.
Have students Fan someone new each week and bring to class why they followed that person, what they found interesting, and how that is new and different from their usual follows.