Working with Plugins

I’m enjoying my Edublogs blogging course. I’m on step 8, woot!  This step is all about working with plugins.

What are plugins? There’s like little apps you can activate for your blog that let you add functionality. Here are three to try.

Compfight – When working with students, it seems like no matter how much I encourage them to use our Britannica Image Quest subscription to locate images for their school projects, they just Google them. It doesn’t help that the Explore feature of the Google apps allows them to insert images without even leaving the application. I like Compfight because it provides that same ease with the assurance that the images have been cleared for use with a Creative Commons license.

Here’s an image. I entered computer in the search field, and found this beauty. I clicked on the size I wanted, and it popped up in this editor, with attribution to the creator.

It"s all about finding the right connectionCreative Commons License Matthias Ripp via Compfight

The downsides to the plugin is that the search results depend on the tags associated with the images. Entering the search term blogging for example, doesn’t return any results, and the search term blog, gives several Impressionistic digital images that are not associated in my mind with blogs at all, but obviously they do to someone.

Alignment doesn’t seem to work well either. You can see the attribution text to the right of the image, instead of being below it and centered. Still, for a quick boost of inspiration and illustration, it’s easy to use and provide credit.

Another plug in I’ve tried is the Visual Editor for widgets. With this plugin, we can easily create or edit widgets. If you look at the sidebar, you’ll see a widget I created showing the cover of the book I’m currently reading.

It’s easy enough to create an image using html, but having the Visual Editor makes it even easier to set size, alignment, alt text, and a link.

The third plugin is EasyTables, which I think I’m going to like a lot because it will make formatting my top ten lists easier.

I currently enter the image and the text separately. I tried wrapping the text around the image, but it doesn’t really work. Having a table with transparent borders takes care of the layout for me.

Here are my top 5 circulating books for the month of December 2018.

#5 – Booked, by Jason Alexander.

Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.

#4 – Ties That Bind, Ties That Break, by Lensey Namioka

Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.

#3 – Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, by Ying Chang Compestine

Starting in 1972 when she is nine years old, Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the communists’ Cultural Revolution, which empties stores of food, homes of appliances deemed “bourgeois,” and people of laughter.

#2 – Refugee, by Alan Gratz

Although separated by continents and decades, three refugees embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.

#1 – The War that Saved my Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Unfortunately, the tables resize themselves depending on their contents and at least on my preview, the two rows do not align correctly. Still, it allows me to post my top ten lists of books a lot faster than I was able to previously.

Turns out that one can set attributes for the table, by selecting it and clicking on the EasyTables icon on the editor bar. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to fix my alignment problem. Hmmm. More work needed!


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