A little blue sky thinking, or borrowing some ideas from @davewiner & @mrkrndvs

I wonder if a WordPress plugin could ape pngWriter and create images for twitter cards with the text from the excerpt on the image used by twitter.
Like this, but with less fireworks.

I’ve been thinking about twitter again.

I think I’d have preferred twitter to be just text rather than being expanded to include all the media and ‘twitter cards’. I’d rather the reading flow would be twitter for short stuff and link to more visual or longer material out on your blog. That would perhaps make reading a little deeper and avoid the problem of folk just seeing the main point of an article and reacting to that 1.

But that cat left the bag a while ago. Now when I look at my twitter stream it is full of images. I occasionally use OneShot to grab and crop out interesting bits of text to share and surmount the 140 char limitation too.

I am not sure if this is a great idea

Recently I’ve watched Dave Winer experimenting with pngWriter (see the about page: About pngWriter). This creates images of blocks of text and sends them out in a tweet. It also creates an RSS feed of the text (pngWriter is not open for use at the moment).

This reminded me of how Aaron uses featured images in his blog: Creative Commons Starts with Making – A Reflection on Creating and Sharing – Read Write Respond

So I am kicking round a couple of ideas.

  1. If you used pngWriter you could pull the rss into your blog. You could do it in WordPress with the FeedWordPress plugin.
  2. A plugin could be made that would do the same sort of thing in WordPress, take the except text from a post and make an image for twitter from that.

Here is how I imagine that working

  1. Using an html5 canvas to automatically create an image of the post’s excerpt.
  2. Auto upload that to WordPress media library.
  3. Make it the featured image of the post

Alternatively (better?) make it the content of the twitter:image metatag for the post, that means that the featured image on the post would not have the text, visitors could read the post.

Or make a copy of the posts featured image, add the text and make that the twitter card image (I can imagine that might be different to get the text readable.).

For a couple of minutes I imagined that my babysteps php & JavaScript could put something like this together. Then reality kicked in. So I though I’d post it out here maybe someone else would think it would be a good idea.

    I’ve seen this linked a few times recently, finally clicked.

    – […] we may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram, and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs).

    from: A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of service for kids. Now you can understand all of the private data you and your teen are giving up to social media — Quartz

    I’ll be sharing this with my pupils soon.

      Over the years I’ve enjoyed being part of Teach Meet. This new site aims to help promote TeachMeets in Scotland TeachMeet.scot.

      From pretty much the start TeachMeets have been organised on the TeachMeet wiki. This can at times get a little messy. There has been various attempts to tidy it up, some breakaway sites. I even worked on an attempt inspired by Ewan to make an alternative international site. That last came to naught.

      Very much in my opinion the wiki site does not function well: the front page was huge, with large graphics, spam was getting out of hand too. A couple of years ago I’d spent some time deleting spam comment, and suggested a reduction in logo size on the front page. This didn’t have any impact and I am sure that many folk are quite happy with the wiki.

      The new teachmeet.scot site was inspired when talking to Feargual, Susan and Athole last year.

      They had set up tmscot.wordpress.com in an attempt to reboot TeachMeet and Scotland and make organising & publicising TeachMeets a little simpler in Scotland. I was interesting in making something a little bit more usable than the pbwiki site.

      TeachMeet.scot is the result. It was ‘soft’ launched last year and has been used to organise a few TeachMeets.

      It is a work in progress, the aim to be a simple, easy to navigate site. It is open to anyone to use. Currently you can add a TeachMeet in a couple of ways: you can fill in a form and someone will add it for you or you can request an account and add as many as you like. How you organise a meet is up to you, you could use a contact form on the post, an embedded google form, link to eventbright or whatever you like to get folk to sign up1.

      It could be used instead of or as well as the TeachMeet Wiki site. We are hoping it will be useful rather than exclusive. There is no axes being ground, no profits being made. I organise the hosting and own the domain, but I consider it held in trust for TeachMeet rather than owned.

      If you are organising a TeachMeet in Scotland please have a look and consider using the site. There are plenty of folk who will help you get started if you need a hand. How to use this site – TeachMeet.scot

      1. Longer term it is hope to have a booking system built into the sire as another alternative.

        Veering off into territories where I am out of my depth a bit of fun in the last days of the holiday.

        I’ve been playing with the new WordPress REST API using ideas from API Nirvana – Functional Details, then I remembered CogDog’s WordPress search javascript bookmarklet.

        Multi WP Blog search allows you to search across a few blogs.

        I doubt if this is actually a practical way to do things but it hints of ways of joining different blogs, small parts loosely joined?

          (This post has been sitting in a text file over the whole of the Christmas break)

          A while back a blogged about my classes brief experience of Google Expeditions one of the things I didn’t mention was the thought that it might be interesting for children to be creators of content.

          The other day I was reminded of Google Expeditions by Malcolm Wilson’s post Are we really there? Virtual Reality in the classroom which gives a great overview of VR & Google Expeditions. He also posted some links. I’ve not followed them all but one leads on to Cardboard Camera on the App Store. This is a google iOS app (there is an android one too) that can:

          Capture and share moments with virtual reality (VR) photos. VR photos let you experience scenery and sound in every direction and in 3D, making things near you look close and faraway things look far away.

          I’ve only had time to give it a couple of quick tests on my phone. The one I made in the class certainly seemed to impress the pupils when viewed in Google Cardboard.

          The app saves at an image with a .vr.jpg extension in the camera roll as well as the app. When imported to photos on a mac this turns out to be 10994 pixels by 1706 and weights in at 4.9 MB. You can see an exported & much reduced version below.

          As you view the image you can hear the sound recorded at the time. So You can either have atmosphere or a voice over.

          According to the app store:

          Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

          I wonder if it is worth having an iPod Touch in class. I have always been slightly surprised that iPod Touches disappeared from the education scene when the iPad came along. The fact that they should work in google cardboard or other VR viewers might bring them back?

          Featured image screenshot of the Cardboard Camera in action.

            In 2015 my blogging was dominated by Glow Blogs and WordPress. This year the picture was a little different. Here is a Wordle of my 2016 titles.

            Wordle 2016

            WordPress stays near the top and Glow Blogs featured quite often but not in the titles of the post. 23 Things, Open (including OER16) and Edutalk stand out.

            Most of my time in 2015 was taken up by Glow Blogs, 2016 brought big changes, before I’d got used to being back in my substantive post, supporting ICT in North Lanarkshire, I found myself being redeployed into a class teachers role. I’ve not blogged much about that, sticking to technology: some in the classroom, some more general.

            The post Questioning Glow got most reaction.

            A fair number of posts are under the 23 things banner and I’ve become even more interested in thinking about the the way that using software affects us. I think the questions I talked about at Always on (them): Digital and Social Media use in Education #DigitalUWS are important.

            Apart from my Radio Edutalk contributions, which slacked a bit this year I made several microcasts here. There are just short, unedited podcasts, in my case posted from my phone. I doubt that many were listening but I enjoy the format.

            My most popular post was An interesting mix: Chromebook and Raspberry pi. This was a passing interest as I no longer have access to a chromebook. I did blog a fair bit about my Pi(s) which continue to interest me.

            As I prepare for think about my 13th year blogging, this blog continues to meander through topics that take my fancy, often it feels like me alone. I often read about how to make your blog more popular, and continue to break most of that advice.

            Featured image: A quick gif made for #tdc1818 The End is Near! Make a GIF | The (new) Daily Create, I’ve not created as much as I would have liked for the daily create, but I still recommend it as a great exercise for playing with digital and your imagination.

              A couple of years ago I made a video of all my flickr videos in the style of the now dead pummelvision service.

              I dug out the script tidied it up a little, and made the above video with my 2016 photos.

              I uploaded the script in the unlikely event that someone else would want to do something like this. It is not a thing of beauty, I am well out of my depth and just type and test. The script need ffmpeg on your computer (I’d guess mac only as it used sips to resize images) and a Flickr API key.

              The script also leave you with up to 500 images in a folder. Before I deleted them I made a montage and averaged them using imageMagick

              montage -mode concatenate -tile 25x *.jpg out.jpg which is the featured image on this post.

              and

              convert *.jpg -average aver.jpeg

              aver

              I guess all that the average proves is that most of my photos are landscapes, given the hit of a sky…

                I am looking from help on this one. Perhaps from one of the many #MSIEExpert folk on twitter.

                Now Sorted, Sort of…

                This post has been updated several times since posted. We didn’t get a complete fix, but have stopped the errors, documented further down.

                I’ve a small class of pupils, with 1-2-1 iPad Airs 1s.

                After having syncing problems with using the Word iOS app I switched to using a OneNote Class notebook for some distribution and collection of ‘work’.

                Most of it has been very lightweight, text in the main.

                I work on a Desktop iMac using OS 10.11 the OS and OneNote app are kept up to date. The pupils iOs version of OneNote is kept updated too.

                The workflow is I create a page, in the teachers only or content library and use the Class Notebook distribute page facility to send the pages to pupils. The pupils can add text, occasionally edit inserted documents and I should be able to see the changes on my mac or iPad.

                This mostly works, but first one then another pupil began to get sync errors. Despite repeated attempts to sync, logging on and off again these error persist. I’ve now got 2 out of 13 pupils where the workflow fails.

                The error messages do not all seem to make much sense:

                It looks like this isn’t a valid OneNote section file. It could be a different file type thats been renamed with a .one extension. (Error code: OxEOOOOOCE)

                Since we don’t have access to the files either on the mac or the iPads this seem particularly unlikely.

                Can’t sync section: _Content Library,’Literacy Worksheets We can’t sync this section because it’s read-only or because access to the file is denied. [Error code: OxE000004A)

                I am left wondering what do to? Should I remove the pupils and add them again? Should I delete the problematic sections? (I’ve emailed onenoteedu@microsoft.com but only had a robot response so far.)

                For such a basic piece of classroom practise, worksheet distribution and jotter work, I can’t really have something that fails so frequently (like losing a couple of pupils jotters).

                Any ideas gratefully accepted, drop them in the comments.

                Update: getting a fair number of suggestions and me toos on twitter. These from Sarah clark (@Sfm36)

                I am finding lots of sync errors with iPad at the moment. Can copy the page and delete corrupted section (1/2)

                (2/2) then can try closing notebook and opening again

                have you deleted history?

                Michael Sinclair Suggested:

                One thing that stopped sync for me was moving the folder from its initial place in the OneDrive

                I’ve not done that. I’ve not strayed from standard use at all.

                The twitter thread is getting to be a bit of a mess with other problems crossing in so:

                More Updates 2016-12-18

                : Michael Sinclair Suggested:

                One thing that stopped sync for me was moving the folder from its initial place in the OneDrive

                I’ve not done that. And note that I created the notebook through Glow in the Class Notebook app. Since then I’ve mostly edited on mac.

                Mark McShane (@mmcshane) has lots of OneNote & OneDrive problems too.

                the business with Share-point sites/OneDrive/ondriveforbusiness is a mess. I think that, tied with Glow/SharePoint, is problem

                Mike Tholfsen suggested that I send an email to classnotebook@onenote.uservoice.com? I’ve done that and await any reply.

                At some point Sarah asked have you deleted history?

                After a bit of poking around I found history on the desktop OneNote app, but nothing to delete there.

                Michael Sinclair had

                Another possibility – you’re using a new computer / device and whole notebook hasn’t had time to sync.

                But I’ve been using this Class NoteBook on and off for weeks.

                Next Steps

                I am guessing that the best thing to do is to copy and then delete some of the problematic sections.

                My worry is that some of the sections are shared in the content Library and some are sections on Pupil’s sections. If I delete the Literacy sub-section 1 on the two pupils sections that are giving problems will I be able to distribute work to the new Literacy sections I create there? Are these sections just identified by name or something hidden, an id of some sort?

                Concerns

                On the mac/iOS versions of OneNote there is a lot of smoke & mirrors. Ian Stuart, a OneNote expert, has explined to me that you can get direct access to OneNote files in the full windows version. This would explain and hint at a fix for the It looks like this isn’t a valid OneNote section file. It could be a different file type thats been renamed with a .one extension problems.

                There does seem to be a fair bit of this sort of problem about, I’ve heard elsewhere of problems with windows versions too, content being lost, syncs failing. The concept behind OneNote (as explained by Ian), would seem wonderful. In its original Windows version it seems to have been rock solid for years. The app gains features and updates very quickly indeed, but I wonder if this is at the expense of reliability and fixing existing bugs?

                My class has invested a fair bit of time in the system, it take youngsters a wee bit of time to get familiar with workflow and systems. I am now wondering if I should look at something else next session.

                Many thanks t othe folk who offered help on Twitter yesterday, ver much appreciated.

                More Updates 19-12-16

                I’ve had some suggestions from Mike Tholfsen, which involve getting problematic pupils to log out, force quit app and log in and sync again, (Leaving oneNote open, plugging device in and turning off screen lock overnight). We have done that with one app, adding a complete deletion of the app and reinstall. I await overnight results.

                I also got one of the pupils who is having trouble to use an iPad that has never had OneNote installed on it before.  The could load the Class NoteBook and it synced, apart from the contents that had not synced up from their own iPad.

                We can see a sync error there:

                sync-error-content-library

                Hoping to find some good news on the overnight sync tomorrow.

                Sort of Sorted 2016-12-21

                I’ve had a fair bit of help from Microsoft both from Raymond a OneNote Education Support Engineer and via Mike Tholfsen: Yan from OneNote team and Ivan from the Class Notebook team! This is pretty amazing support for one wee classroom from a big company (I’ve missed a few folk in the cc list who deserve thanks too).

                We had a variety of suggestions, mostly around trying to completely log off and restart, including leaving overnight to sync. Given the problem persisted when we move to a ‘lean’ iPad I was a bit doubtful. Both pupils continued to have sync fails after that.

                One avenue we explored first was to go though the browser to onenote.com. Both pupils saw no errors there, there were a few pages they had created missing, I guess because they never got off the iPad, but all looked ok.

                Finally I got the pupils to delete the app, re-install and log on again. After a short while syncing the Class NoteBook seems to be working, we tried creating a new page and that synced and I created a page on the desktop and that appeared.

                There were a few pages missing but we can live with that. I am somewhat surprised that it has worked after the test of a clean setup, I can only presume that in that case we had a new problem.

                We have not done much in the way of real life testing given that this is the last week of school before Christmas. Carols, nativity and parties have taken over, the only use of ICT has bee na little portfoloing and some Christmas Giffing.

                Next Steps Next Year

                This process has been a bit of a time sink, especially writing it up. I am not much further forward in understanding the problem and have nothing much more than hope that an update will sort things out.

                There does appear to be ongoing issues with syncing across devices and from the release notes in the iOS app store there are some logging on (or having to repeatedly log on) problems too.

                But the affordances of OneNote are worth giving it another shot (I don’t love the app, but the ease of distribution to pupils and review of pupil contribution is great). The main factor for me is the use of a Glow logon and the assurances of Education Scotland that security ad data checks have taken place. Setting up another system would involve a lot of work and no guarantee of success. The pupils would land on a different learning curve.

                I have now got some contact with the MS folk, the app is in very active development. Certainly worth a wee bit of perseverance. I will recommend that pupils take a copy of written work in their local Notes app, before syncing. I’ll also stop and sync before the last minutes of a lesson hopefully minimising failure. I would be less confident in using the iOS/OneNote class notebook set up in a secondary if the material was exam critical.

                Many thanks to all the folk who tweeted suggestions and help, most have been synced in in comments below. I appreciate the time it takes to put answers together.

                1. I am not sure I am using the right terminology, there seems to be sections within sections in a Class Notebook.