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.

Enabling WordPress themes on a blog-by-blog basis

A new discovery as a result of Monday’s research: WordPress themes can be enabled on a blog-by-blog basis, as well as site-wide. So what? This is significant because it means we can take an existing theme and customise it to meet the specific needs of an individual learner or school blog without those changes affecting anyone else.

Andreas themeFor example, if a school wanted to use a theme which includes its own header image, but wanted to replace the image with a picture of the school, that can be done – even if the theme’s options don’t provide for user customisation. The resulting modified theme can then be made available only to that school’s blog, or to all bloggers at the school.

There’s more to it than this, as it also means a whole range of design and layout possibilities become feasible with WPMU that I’d thought would be impractical.

(For any WPMU admins: the way it’s done is via Site Admin / Blogs / Edit – quite separate from Site Admin / Themes.)

First Exc-el Meeting of 2007

Update 10/1/07: Tess Watson was present too!

Here are notes from Monday’s meeting. Comments welcome. (Word doc: Notes of Exc-el Meeting No.1, 8.1.2007)

See also:

Exc-el Board Meeting



Notes of Exc-el Board Meeting No.1, held in John Muir House on Monday 8th January 2007
Continue reading First Exc-el Meeting of 2007