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Monday, December 26, 2011

Create an online journal with Penzu

Throughout the ages of educational ideas and philosophies teachers have been big fans of having their students keep a journal.  Journals are kept in language arts, foreign language classes, and I have seen them in science classes.  Students don't particularly like doing them unless they enjoy writing.  If given a choice between keeping a journal in their spiral notebook and keeping it online, I would wager that a majority of students in this digital age will prefer to keep it online.  So why not give them the choice and tool of

What is it?
  • allows anybody to keep an online journal for free.  Students can easily use this site as a means of recording daily information, science experiments, or even a journal of events that are occurring in the country for a journal in social studies.
What are some negative drawbacks of the site?
  • Penzu's free edition of online journaling is great.  However there are many tools that they offer to those who purchase the pro version that the free version doesn't give you.
  • You must be registered to use the site.  This really isn't a drawback simply because this allows for your work to be completely confidential, but many students still don't have email addresses.  I guess you could put a bogus email address in if a student absolutely had to.
What are some of the great features of Penzu?
  • Students can share their journal with their teachers.  
  • Teachers receive the journal via email.
  • You can insert images into your journal.
  • Penzu has pretty good formats for the text.
  • It has a realistic feel of being a journal.
  • Has an automatic save feature as you are writing.

Tutorial on how to use Penzu.

1.  Go to

2.  Click the "Create your Free Journal" button

3.  Fill in the correct information and then click the "Submit" button.

4.  Select the style of your avatar and then click next.

5.  Click next again unless you really want to "Tweet" about it.

6.  Click "Next" again.

7.  Choose your font style and then click the "Done" button.

8.  You have now created your Penzu journal.

  • Don't click the "New Journal" button.  That is a button that tries to get you to use their premium services.  Of course if you want all the bells and whistles then you should click the button.
9.  On the cover of your journal click the following icon.  It looks like a bookmark.

10.  At the very top of your journal you will see your tool bar.  Some of the icons are for premium services but most are for the free journal.  Click the "plus" icon to get started with your first entry.

11.  Now you can start writing in your journal.  A nice feature is the automatic save.  You don't need to worry about hitting the save button.
12.  When your students are ready to share their journal with you, they just need to click the "Envelope" icon on their tool bar.  This will open up the following dialogue box.  They just enter your email address and then hit the "Share" button.  In a few minutes you will get their journal entry.

That is all there is too creating a pretty cool online journal.

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