WordPress – creating a Blogroll list *from any WP blog* for import

This tip might help you if you’re ever involved in updating a batch of WPMU blogs with the same set of links.

Robert Whiteside at Haddington Infant School is now moving on to using blogs for peer assessment and peer feedback as I mentioned on the eduBuzz blog. We wanted to populate each of the 90+ student blogs with the same set of Blogroll links – one for each of the other P3 students in the school. Although this makes for a long list, we figured it was important at this stage to provide “one-click” access to one another’s blogs.

You might notice that under Blogroll, there’s an Import facility, but no export. This means, unless you know about creating OPML files, you can’t readily just create one “model” blogroll, export it to a file, then import that file into other blogs.

There is a work-around, though, and it’s even more powerful. For any WPMU blog, you can export the Blogroll as an OPML file by simply adding the script name wp-links-opml.php to the blog’s URL. It makes sense – why should you need to go the backend admin tools to get access to data which is publicly available?

An example using Andrew’s Blog:

Blog URL is https://www.edubuzz.org/hip3-8andrew

To export Blogroll as OPML file browse to https://www.edubuzz.org/hip3-8andrew/wp-links-opml.php

That URL should open the XML file in your browser, and you can then save that for future import.

Ellie’s going to be a P2 travel journalist

Ellie, a P2 girl at Haddington Infant school, is going to Western Australia for a period of 6 weeks. We’re going to set her up with her own blog, so she can keep her class up to date with her travels. I’m meeting Mum tomorrow to get her started with WordPress.

The plan is to have one that Ellie’s teacher and her class can write to as well, so they can in turn keep Ellie up to date with what they’re doing.

This way we’re hoping that the blog will help benefit Ellie and her class, and help minimise any adverse impact from the interruption to her normal classes. I find myself wondering if this is how travel journalists of the future are made?

Inter-authority web support for Curriculum for Excellence (ACfE)

Click to open a larger version of this image in your browser There’s now a prototype web site to support inter-authority work on A Curriculum for Excellence. We’d appreciate feedback on it.

This site, which is based on an Exc-el blog, is is the first step towards building web support tools to help Scottish Borders, Midlothian and East Lothian local education authorities collaborate on new curriculum development.

The basic idea is to develop that site as a “big picture” entry point which enables visitors to find out about, and engage with, ACfE developments at inter-authority level. It provides links and information to put the work into context and to provide an overview of what’s happening. Because comments are enabled on every Page and Post visitors can contribute their perspectives. There’s also an Event Calendar.

Visitors can then easily browse, click through to, and engage with more detailed information on individual pieces of the picture. An example you can look at just now is the Active Learning Partnerships project page from Preston Lodge High’s Althernative Curriculum project. There you’ll see summary paragraphs being fed from the main ALPs project blog.

Feedback on this site would be welcome. It’s currently operating in “Stealth mode“, so shouldn’t yet be picked up by search engines such as Google and Technorati, and isn’t appearing in the “Latest Post” lists on the eduBuzz blog.

“Making Your School Website Dynamic” is a popular course!

Today after-school I ran a 90-minute CPD session on creating dynamic school web sites using WordPress. Until I arrived, I was expecting around 5 people, and had prepared, just in case, for up to 10. In the event, there were 13 on the latest list, and everyone made it. There was great enthusiasm, and I went away convinced the group will be making full use of what they learned.

The course outline is here as a Word document:  It covered: ECS371 Making Your School Website Dynamic – outline Continue reading “Making Your School Website Dynamic” is a popular course!

Exc-el blogs – new WordPress themes available

Blue Moon screenshotExc-el bloggers now have more themes to choose from.

Choosing the blog theme is important to developing a sense of ownership, particularly among student bloggers. We’ve been on the lookout for some more themes that would be attractive to students, and these additions include some that will help, such as this one, Blue Moon, by Stephen Reinhardt.

Regulus in particular will probably be a popular choice.  As well as offering a choice of 8 header images, and 6 colour schemes, it permits bloggers to use their own header image. Even better, it includes instructions on how to make your image the right size.Regulus 2.2

The new themes added also include:

A theme pack from Farms is the basis of these additions. It contains a range of widget-friendly themes that have been modified to be suitable for WordPress Multi-User. Where a theme was already installed, no change has been made.

Keeping Bubbleshare-ised blogs loading quickly

Bubbleshare Albums, such as those on the Pencaitland Primary Blog, are a great way to illustrate blog posts. But the blog can become slow to load if there are lots of Bubbleshare albums visible on the front page.

[bubbleshare 118790.b2ad07edbb5]

(If you’ve not tried this, activate the Bubbleshare plugin, then add a pointer to the album to your blog Posts – or Pages – like this: [bubbleshare*118790.b2ad07edbb5] (replace the * with a space) where the code part is album’s ID, easily visible from the URL.)

The reason for the slowdown is that each album contains a number of images, which visitors can play in-situ using a slide-show. Continue reading Keeping Bubbleshare-ised blogs loading quickly

Let your (Post) feed subscribers see a comments count

If a visitor subscribes to the main RSS feed from an Exc-el WPMU blog, they’ll see the recent Posts, but not the corresponding Comments. To see if there are any comments on a given Post, they’ve got these choices:

  • subscribe to the Comments feed, and use that by:
    • going to the comments feed in their aggregator, then
    • browsing through the list of comments looking for matching titles
  • visit the blog itself, and look at the comments count there
  • click the Comments link for each post to actively look for Comments on a given Post

Any of these requires a bit of clicking around. Wouldn’t it be good to avoid that? Continue reading Let your (Post) feed subscribers see a comments count

firstRSS: In-Post RSS Aggregator

One of the biggest hurdles we’ve got in the edublogging community is bridging the RSS chasm.

  • If you’re an edublogger, chance are you’ve got at least a basic idea of what it’s all about. You’ll probably use an RSS reader, or aggregator, such as Bloglines, to keep track of the blogs you read. You maybe even use an RSS feed or two to provide some content for your blog, such as news headlines.
  • For most people in schools, though, RSS is just another bit of jargon. The potential benefits of RSS tools in education can’t be obtained. And because – if you’ll pardon the Rumsfeld-ism – they don’t know they don’t know it, let alone what the benefits might be, there’s no demand for training…

What has to happen for people to “get it”? In my experience, demonstrating a feed aggregator is a key step. I usually use Bloglines for this, as it has a good user interface. But if you want to try to explain RSS in your blog, as Tess does here, you’re at a disadvantage – you can’t so easily show a live feed in the context of your writing.

But what if you could put a little RSS feed reader right inside your blog post? Continue reading firstRSS: In-Post RSS Aggregator