More buzz at Snap Previews

We’ve just added a bit more buzz to the eduBuzz explore page. It’s a WordPress blog, and by switching on Snap Preview plug-in, we’ve got all its links now displaying a pop-up preview if you hover your mouse over them. As should the links on this page, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about…

Because many of the “Latest Post” links haven’t been Snap Previewed before, there’s a bit of “Queued for Capture – check back shortly” going on, as the Snap site learns what they look like. That will sort itself out over time – but the first to try to preview the “latest posts” links are always going to be caught that way.

Of course, if you’re an Exc-el/eduBuzz blogger you can do the same with your blog – instructions are here.
Does this help, or are things getting a bit too busy? Let us know what you think.

The C word and WordPress Multi-User

How much control do we have over what students can do on a WordPress Multi_user (WPMU) site? This is cropping up in a few conversations, so I thought it worth providing a summary (based on the WordPress documentation site) now that we’ve got some experience.

Our guiding principle here is that we will allow as much autonomy as possible to promote intrinsic motivation.

Continue reading The C word and WordPress Multi-User

Get overloaded – subscribe to all the Exc-el Post feeds

OverloadIf you really want to do this, just point your feed aggregator to the OPML file I’m using for Grazr and get importing. If your aggregator – like Bloglines – expects a local OPML file, you’ll need to right-click that link and use Save Link As… to save a local copy first.

There are 224 feeds to date, and this file includes ’em all, including some that aren’t yet showing much sign of life. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Link to OPML file:

Image by tajai.

Surf the Exc-el blog feeds with Grazr

Grazr demoWith Grazr we can let users surf the Exc-el blog feeds. I’ve made a mock-up, based on every blog in the Exc-el WPMU site. You can try it here.

Grazr usually appears as a little feedreader-like widget that can be embedded in a blog sidebar, and

  • can be expanded to full-window size, as in the photo
  • offers 3 views: a 3-panel display, as shown, a list or a slider
  • via a full range of code snippets, embedded into WordPress sidebars, posts – or other blogs

Visit the Grazr URL to get code snippets to use it yourself. You can post a badge like this, for example:Open Grazr

I’ve used this capability to create a Flake in PageFlakes. You can see the Flake in the explore all eduBuzz blogs page which Ewan and I have been trying out. (Click Edit on that Flake, and you can get the HTML snippet behind the Flake for use on your own blog or web page if you want)

update: PageFlakes page not working -sorry – not sure why

New Exc-el-wide Recent Posts widget

Any Exc-el blogger can now display the latest posts from the whole Exc-el blog system. All they need is a Sidebar Widget-friendly theme. (You can check themes for widget-friendliness here.)

It’s done with Skcsknathan001‘s WPMU-Recent-Posts widget.

You can currently see it working in the right sidebar of this eduBuzz pilot blog.

WPMU Site Admin / Blogs: you *can* sort the list

WordPress iconI continue to be surprised at wonderful features of WordPress multi-user that I’ve never noticed. Says something about my powers of observation, I suppose.

After months of clicking Next Blogs repeatedly to get to the end of the list of blogs (in Site Admin / Blogs), I’ve now noticed – after pressure from Robert Whiteside to find a better way – that the column headers in the list display are links. Continue reading WPMU Site Admin / Blogs: you *can* sort the list

WPMU Themes: When is a comment not a comment?

This is a gotcha for you if you’re following us down the host-your-own WPMU road, and have preconceived ideas about comments in program scripts.
If you’re with me so far, you’ve already seen that we can customise a theme, say to include a school photo in the header. Then we can limit use of our customised theme, say to individual bloggers in that school.

But how do we make that newly-customised theme appear under a customised name? Continue reading WPMU Themes: When is a comment not a comment?

P3 “Personal Learning Plan” bloggers migrating to Exc-el

Robert Whiteside at Haddington Infant School has around 80 P3 bloggers about to migrate to the Exc-el blog system. This work is investigating at exploring the potential of blogs in formative assessment. Aims include:

While we were still cranking the starting handle of the Exc-el blog system in August these blogs were set up on I met with Robert today to discuss migrating the blogs over. Continue reading P3 “Personal Learning Plan” bloggers migrating to Exc-el

Exc-el blogs: WordPress Flickr widget removed

This widget, from, has had to be removed as it hasn’t proved “user-proof”. If activated before the Sidebar Widgets Plugin is activated, we found that the blog would become unusable, displaying a blank screen.

System admins: The fix is to remove the plugin from the web server widgets directory /blogs/wp-content/plugins/widgets, then go to the now-accessible blog. This automatically de-activates the plugin for that blog. The plugin can then be put back – if you still want it. Because this requires FTP access to the web server, it’s not fixable by a student, or even a WordPress administrator – just what you don’t need in a classroom situation!

More details in the Education ICT News blog here.