Exc-el blogs: StripedPlus Theme available

School uniforms might be OK, but students definitely won’t want uniform weblogs. WordPress offers a wide range of themes, and these can be customised – if you’re hosting WordPress yourself.

With WordPress Multi-User (WPMU), things are a bit different. A range of themes can be made available, but changing any of these will affect all the blogs using that theme. So what’s the simplest way to give students the widest possible options for customising their blogs?

One solution is to provide themes which themselves include built-in, menu-driven, styling options. This blog, for example, is using the 3K2 theme. Users of this theme can choose a Style called Vader, which you can currently see here. Provision is made in that theme for addition of more options, but we’d need to make them up.

The StripedPlus theme, installed today, also offers a high degree of inbuilt user styling to WPMU users. For example, it provides for selection of header and background images, as well as fonts and colours. This one also supports sidebar widgets – in 4 sidebars ( top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) but it’s a single-column design. The “sidebars” appear at top and bottom of the blog, with the top two revealed by mousing over the Navigation link.

We’ll continue to look out for themes that offer this degree of individual styling to student bloggers.

2 thoughts on “Exc-el blogs: StripedPlus Theme available”

  1. Excellent stuff. Personalisation wil always be most important to kids, even if some teachers are more sceptical. I’ll be looking forward to seeing if more students personalise their blog. The argument behind Glow is that huge personalisation is less important than functionality. Can the two not co-exist? If most of our blogs look different from each other I think the message is really quite clear 😉

  2. Maybe there are two different things here? There’s personalising your working environment – such as your Windows desktop – and personalising the work you publish.

    Vendors recognise the importance of desktop customisation in design, and it’s certainly one of the first things people will change, if they can. From what I’ve seen of this, Glow recognises this by allowing some customisation.

    Personalising your work is different, and probably matters more if we’re working to create confident individuals. Somehow the imposition of standardised styles just seems completely inappropriate. Imagine on parents’ night the classroom walls were decorated with standardised posters throughout East Lothian…

    Good usability includes the fun factor, and this matters too. A quick Google to support this sweeping statement found this paper (6 pages, 80KB) which mentioned an particular benefit for education:

    Recent studies of Internet use or “surfing” show that when people are enjoying themselves, time passes unnoticed and they focus mainly on the current activity (Agarwal & Karahana, 2000).

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