Reposted Catriona Oates on Twitter (Twitter)

“It’s really encouraging to see the resourcefulness and support being shared by educators in #GlowBlogs on so many levels – if ever there was a time for #Glow, now is it! #SchoolClosureScotland #GetOnline #Glow”

Might be an interesting, unscientific survey of Scottish education by grabbing screenshots of all the LA home pages.

Replied to If only schools just provided students with by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry

If only schools just provided students with a website early on and they were used to documenting their learning from their own domain. I am hoping this build up a recognition to teach digital infrastructure #edtechchat

That was one of my main hopes for Glow Blogs. I don’t think it has happend in many places. It is a hard ask for educators to support something that might be beyond their experience. With younger children it is challenging  but rewarding.

Here are some tips for speeding up the process of making simple posts to a Glow Blog

Preparation 1. The Post Editor

One of the nice things about the WordPress Post Editor is you can customise the elements that you see on the screen.

Blogs Post Screen Options

To make my posting simpler in mobile I’ve removed some elements and dragged the Featured Image section to the top of the right hand column. This makes it appear right under the post content in the mobile view.
Blogs Post Featured
You can also collapse section of the editor you don’t need all the time, I’ve notice my pupils do this when using their e-Portfolios.

Preparation 2. Bookmark New Post

On my phone I’ve bookmarked the New Post Page on blogs I want to post to.

New Post Add To Homescreen

Im my case I’ve saved it to my home screen so I don’t even need to open my browser and go through my bookmarks.

This means that I can go straight to the new post page. If I am not logged onto Glow I am taken through the RM Unify password screen first. I use the save password facility on my phone to speed this up.

Featured Images

Editing a post with images and text can get a little messy, and therefore slow, on mobile. If I want to make a quick post, I don’t put the images in the editor, but use the featured image feature. This adds an image, typically, to the top of your post, and keeps it clear of the text.

Putting it All Together

Using my home screen icon, saved password, simplified new post page and a featured image means I can post a twitter sized post and picture in around 90 seconds.

Twitter too

In case you are missing the interaction and publicity of twitter you can of course auto post your blog to twitter using several free services, dlvr.it, IFTTT and Microsoft Flow (using your glow account.)

I gave presentation/workshop to a few groups at the UWS this morning about Glow Blogs. Rather than use a presentation I made a blog: Glow Blogs – An Introduction This goes over some of the basics about Blogging and a few tips. Far too much to cover in an hour.

It may be useful to you if you are learning or explaining about Glow Blogs.

Some of the pages are pretty sketchy, but it was made to be expanded on in person.

Bookmarked Art Direction and the New WordPress Editor by Mel ChoyceMel Choyce

This is the foundation of the new WordPress editor. Take atomic pieces, and combine them to make whole sections and layouts. Best yet, no fumbling with floats if you want to put some text next to an image!

A nice example of what Gutenberg can do. I am not using it here, the old editor suits me and supports all of the IndieWeb plugins.  It will answer some of the requests we have on Glow Blogs when it arrive there.

I am very pleased that I’ll be continuing my part time role as product owner for Glow Blogs. When my recent contract finished in June the job was opened for applications. I was successful and am just sorting out the paper work. I do this work over an above my class teacher role. I would have been gutted if I didn’t get the job.

This post was inspired by Andrew Canion’s Blogvember Prompt List. This arrived in micro.blog at he same time as #mbnov, microblogvember.

A test of snapthread which has been updated to version 2. When I tried the 1.8.1 version I rather liked it. It was then an app to stitch live photos into wee videos on iOS. Version 2 adds a lot more features. I still like it.

This video should not be used to judge the quality of the output, I used ‎CloudConvert to squash the 38MB 1440 × 1080 mp4 down to 4.5MB 1.

My class used the free version, limited to 30 seconds of video, last session a bit, we had a few crashes, but I think it is a promising app. Ease of use, limited time of the free version and lack of stickers, for now 2, are useful for the classroom. My class use iMovie and Clips too, but sometimes we might not want the greater complexity of iMovie or the wacky possibilities of clips.

Unfortunately CloudConvert doesn’t work for me on the school network, I’ve tried a few apps that convert and squash video but no really found a good one for pupils to use. I would like my pupils to be able to do that, to save space on their blogs and to speed up uploading. I am not sure on the official line on posting to silos in North Lanarkshire. Social media, especially twitter, is very popular. That is staff rather than pupil posting, I’d like my pupils to be involved in the uploading of video to their e-Portfolios and the class blog without my interference.

For Glow Blogs, I’d also like the app to change the file type to mp4 or m4v as .MOV files, that are apples favourite, don’t play nicely with all browsers. We made a change to standard WordPress functionality to accept .MOV files as video, but some browsers don’t play them. Strangely, just editing the file extension, from .MOV to .m4v works, at least for Chrome. I can’t find a way to change extensions on iOS but I’ve tested on the desktop.

FWIIW Snapthread’s videos are .MP4 when exported to the camera roll, so only need squashed for my needs.

  1. Thanks to Martin Coutts for the pointer to CloudConvert
  2. Snapthreads developer has a really interesting post about the development of the app: Journey to 2.0: Market Appeal | Becky Hansmeyer

Watched Jolly Brancher Demo from youtube.com

Following from this conversation
Tom Woodward whipped up a plugin to clone posts on a WordPress Multi-site blog to one of your own.

I think this could be a really useful way of giving pupils a template for e-Portfolio post. I’d be very interested in exploring getting this into Glow Blogs. I’ve been asked about this sort of functionality a few times.

The new WordPress editor is now official. It comes with a new editor Gutenberg. I’ve tested Gutenberg on and off for a while, mostly worrying about iOS in particular iPads. That has improved steadily.

My concern is pupils using Glow Blogs will find the new editor more complicated.

I am somewhat relived that pasting from Apple Notes on an iPad works fine in the blocks editor, paragraphs generating new blocks. Adding images above or below a particular block seems a little footery but nothing pupils will not handle 1.

Now WordPress 5 is out I need to think about my own use. I don’t usually write in the web editor, preferring to either cut and paste from a text editor or post via micro.blog or xml-rpc. TextMate has a lovely blogging bundle, and I use drafts and shortcuts on iOS.

I’ve installed WordPress 5 on a couple of other sites, and had a quick play. Posting from TextMate, via xml-rpc put the content in a classic block if Gutenberg is enabled.

I’ve also enabled the classic editor plugin on these sites and this one. The ability to toggle back and forward between editors seems like a good idea, but on the sites I’ve tried it has mostly failed 2. This would be a good way to introduce the editor to Glow Blogs users, start with the classic editor, add in the ability to toggle to Gutenberg. I do worry that having two editors will lead to folk having problems or getting confused. I am not looking forward to updating the Glow Blogs help. This is probably a bit in the future as we should wait and see how Gutenberg is going on multi-sites before upgrading.

My other personal worry is that at the moment the indieweb post_kinds plugin is not compatible with Gutenberg. This is compounded by the fact I can’t update that plugin on this site at the moment. I am presuming that things will get shaken out and improve over the next year or two.

My plan is now to upgrade this blog to WP 5 but use the classic editor, waiting to see how the indieweb plugins evolve. I’ll continue writing in TextMate, drafts and the like while I keep half an eye on developments.

  1. I was pleasantly surprised watching a pupil happily collapsing meta-boxes to get her e-portfolio tags the other day. I had at some point shown the class how to expand them after they accidentally collapsed them, but not talked about it in any depth. I suspect pupils will adapt to new interfaces easier that I will.
  2. I will test this a bit more and try to see if it is something I can report. Update version 1.2 of the classic Editor has fixed this for me.