Extending K12 Online Conference

K12 Online Aggregator WikiAlmost by definition, the K12 Online Conference will be extended.  It will be extensive.  As I was writing yesterday about extending conferences using new web tools, an article inspired by Alex Regone and Arvind Grover’s podcast, an idea occurred to me for seperating out tagged conversations about the individual presentations for the conference.

K12Online organizers have created a schedule of presentations covering the next three weeks.  It is displayed in a web table on their web site.  (BTW, my presentation is called Inventing the New Boundaries.)  For each presentation, they have established a tag, made up of the conference tag (k12online07), a code for the strand and incrementing numbers for presentations in that strand.  OK, it makes a lot of sense, but it is hard to remember.

Anyway, I was able to transfer the table’d data over to a wiki page with much less trouble than I’d anticipated.  Here is the page.  I’m using PMWiki for reasons I reveal in a few minutes.  For each presentation, I placed two beginning corner brackets ([[) in front of the session tag, and two ending corner brackets (]]) after the tag.  This made the tag a hyperlink, that created a new wiki page when clicked.

Then I decided what each page would say, creating a template of sorts.  Here is the template that I pasted into each session’s wiki page (comments are in italics) — this is a bit geeky:

Return to [[K 12 Online Conference Feeds]] {a link back to the main page}
—- {a horizontal rule or line}
Blogospheric conversations tagged with ”k12online07oo10”: {just text to be read}
(:table width=”200″ align=”right”:) {starts a right aligned table that holds Flickr photos tagged for the session}
””+Flickr Photos+”” {heading for Flickr Photos}
—- {creates a horizontal rule}
(:RSS http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=k12online07oo10 &lang=en-us&format=rss_200 long 100>:) {this is the magic — more below}\n
(:tableend:) {ending the table for the Flickr photos}
””+Blog Feeds+”” {heading for blogs tagged for the session}
—- {another horizontal rule}
(:RSS http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch_feeds?hl=en&um=1& amp;tab=wb&q=k12online07oo10&ie=utf-8&num=100& output=rss long 100>:) {more magic}

You can see the magic of this by going to the session page set up for the entire conference — here.  The page lists blog postings that have been written by Wes Fryer, Tom Net, Lenva Shearing, Stephanie Sandifer,  conference staff, and many more.  The photos, I took while working on my presentation — and there is a photo of the conference flier.  All of these blog articles and photos show up on this page because they are tagged with k12online07.

So here is the magic.  There is a line of code on this page that looks like this, without the values entered in:

(:RSS >:)

  1. Following the RSS, I entered a space and a URL that I captured when I conducted a Google Blog search for k12online07.  The search engine returned a list of blog posts that included k12online07. and a link, at the left, labeled RSS.  That’s where I got the URL, by right clicking on that link and copying the link location (shortcut) into my computer’s clipboard. 
  2. Pasting that URL in, I then typed a space and the word long.  This indicates that we want some of the blog article displayed as well as the title, and that we want enough of the photo codes included to display the photos.
  3. Finally, I added another space and the number 100.  This indicates that we want the latest 100 blog entries or photos from Flickr.

(:RSS http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch_feeds?hl=blahblahblah long 100>:)

Each time someone opens this page, it goes to Google and Flickr, each of which search for articles and photos tagged with k12online07.

To be fair, Wikispaces will do this as well.  The code for listing an RSS feed in this wiki tool that is very popular with educators is actually quite a bit more sophisticated than for PMWiki:

[[rss url=”feed URL” title=”Source title” number=”# of items” description=”true/false” date=”true/false” author=”true/false” length=”# of characters” ]]

You fill in:

  • The URL of the RSS feed
  • A title for the listing of blog entries or other syndicated items
  • The number of items you want displayed
  • Whether you want the text of the blog article to appear
  • Whether you want the data of the item to be listed,
  • Whether you want the author of the item listed, and
  • The number of characters in the article displayed

There are two reasons that I didn’t use Wikispaces for these pages.  One is that I still can not get Wikispaces to display photos from Flickr using its RSS feed routine.  And second, it will not display RSS feeds inside of a table, and I wanted to display the photos along side the blog entries.

So, sorry for the geekiness of this blog, and enjoy!

2¢ Worth!

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.