Google Forms Meets the Spaghetti Syndication Monster

Or – how I do things since I can’t program – but isn’t the first title much more fun?1 First off, thanks to Jim Groom for letting me bounce ideas off him, giving some technical assistance and for testing services rendered. Now to business. Here’s what I wanted- a web accessible form that would display the data as it rolled in right under the submission form. Just like comments for a post but we wanted multiple questions2 and we wanted to be able to divide the responses. So that, in and of itself, is pretty narrow and stupid but what this can do in the end is pretty cool and can have widespread power. Using Google forms and the selective publishing option you can embed all sorts of user inputted data w/o having a clue how to program- and I think that’s pretty neat. Obligatory Warning for WPMU users (WP single user should just work)- Some of the stuff I’m going to tell you to do is not a good idea if you’ve got other authors on your WPMU installation that you don’t trust. If it’s just you and people who won’t be doing crazy stuff then proceed under your own recognizance. To make this work in WordPress MU3 you’re going to need to install one plugin – Unfiltered-mu. This […]

Why use WPMU in K12?

I’ve been slowly migrating all of our individual WP installs into WPMU over the last few days. It’s going to really make life a lot easier around here while adding some real advantages. You’ve seen Jim showing a million reasons to use WPMU in the college environment and while most (maybe all) can be transferred over to K12 there are some advantages to using WPMU in K12 that are worth looking at a little more directly. Flexibility – WordPress can handle just about any web need I have in a school setting. I can of course use it to blog but it can just as easily be the backbone for my school’s website and act more like a CMS. And imagine a school website that was both current and easy for multiple users to updated without expensive software. The ability to quickly and easily change themes is attractive to users but it is also a key component in creating engaging web experiences for students. BlackBoard and other CMS options tend to pretend to give you control over how your particular page or site looks but real customization is not an option at the user level and it makes a difference. Being able to control all the aspects of the Richard III page made things far more professional and interesting to […]

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WPMU Easter Egg

So I’ve installed WPMU on one of our externally hosted servers and with Jim’s patient assistance have been trying to get it in shape. One of the things I needed was the theme editor. So I was going through the steps to get it installed and things are looking good when . . . I hit the theme editor tab and the video below happened1. In all honesty, the first time it happened it scared the hell out of me. I frantically thought of all the vague warnings I’d received, reconsidered what I’ve done with file permissions, wished I’d backed things up 2. I’ve since been wrestling with the .htaccess file and other fairly dreadful nerd stuff. Unfortunately, this server is running both PHP 4 and 5 and has some custom .htaccess stuff set up to password directories down the line. This has led to all kinds of hassle for me (and as a result hassle for Jim 🙂 who has insisted I blog about the easter egg so he can reblog it3). 1 and happened every single time I hit the theme editor tab 2 and then realized I already had 3 Isn’t the Internet a weird place

WordCamp ED in DC!

WordCamp Ed is a WordCamp focused entirely on educational uses of WordPress — in schools and universities. The inaugural WordCamp Ed will be held at George Mason University on Saturday, November 22nd featuring a morning of pre-planned speakers, and a barcamp-style afternoon breaking into smaller discussions and sessions. SIGN UP NOW! I’ll be there and I’m hoping to see some of you.

Creating a Safe Space: Hacking WP

60% of my teachers have been in our county for less than 3 years (and, most of these newcomers, have never worked with a 1 to 1 initiative). More than 40% of my teachers have put less than 3 years into this vocation. With this in mind, I have created a space, online, for teachers to discuss instruction, vocation, and solutions for our school. I hope it will be a community building experience that gives teachers as much time as they can to the process without having to commit to meetings. Following the lead of Alan Levine with Tom’s guidance, I started by sketching out my vision. I wanted a place that was password protected and required unique usernames for participation. This site would be a  safe place where teachers could speak their minds in a professional manner. At the same time, I wanted to foster open communication, so anonymous responses would not be an option. I didn’t want a traditional blog format. The U/I needed to be as intuitive as possible, and I wanted meta-data to be presented in a way that encourage conversation. I sketched up two different layouts and solicited some feedback from my faculty.    The overwhelming response was for the second layout. After sifting through themes that mirrored my sketch, I decided on Blue Earth. […]

WordPress Tutorial

This WordPress tutorial is aimed at teachers (or anyone else) who is just starting out with some server space and Fantastico support. It covers a lot of the basic installation questions and gets into how to add themes and plugins to the blog. Most everything is done in video format. I made it for our ITRTs who are mainly using LunarPages for their server space. It also covers the basic blog usage questions regarding activating plugins, changing themes and doing all the other normal stuff. We also get into some of the settings we use to make sure comments are moderated etc. There are also some tutorial on what plugins etc. I used to create different projects (like the Byrd Books audio blog) It’s a solid intro into the world of assisted WordPress installation and administration.