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My students now have a Prologue microblog that they are using actively. I thought that I would also set up a microblog as a companion to this regular blog site for my own use and that of others.

Unlike the student microblog, this one is open for public viewing and comment. In addition, I set it up so that anyonce can register and post as well. I’ll leave it this way unless there are any problems.

Take a minute to view the Prologue counter-part to this site. Feel free to register and post yourself, if you would like to get a feel for microblogging.

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I remain enthusiastic about using Prologue for school “twittering.” I was disappointed when it came to my attention that a regular self hosted version of WordPress did not have the option to keep the blog private by requiring a login to read. This is an important function for privacy of students in a school setting. I found a way to hack the wp-blog-header to make this possible. I tested it on a WP 2.3.2 installation and it works great. If you go to the blog’s url, you are presented with a login screen. Once a user has logged in, it brings them to their backend. While, I’d rather it bring them to the frontend, all they have to do is click the prominent “View Site” button. I’ll see if I can change that at a later time. Simply download the file, unzip it, and upload it via ftp to the blog’s main directory (public_html/wheveryourblogresides/

I also changed the Prologue user interface a little. The build I downloaded had a number and an “e” next to the title of the post. The Number reflects the number of responses. You have to click on the number to make a comment–not very obvious to my fifth grade users. I modified it so the word comment or comments appears next to the number. The “e” stand for edit. I simply changed the file to say edit instead. Download, unzip, and upload to public_html/wheveryourblogresides/wp-contents/themes/prologue. Make sure don’t put it in the main blog directory because it will overwrite the wrong file.

Another hack to create a more appropriate opening message was mentioned in the previous post.

Here’s a link to the files and the zipped Prologue. Just push the log in as guest button and the next screen will have links to the files.

Please let me know what you think. If there is interest, I’ll package the whole WordPress set of files up. I’ll also to continue to look for more ways to make this great theme work even better for those in a school setting.

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I got my students to try out the Prologue installation today. They really enjoyed it and took to it instantly. Conversation was wild and somewhat unfocused at first. Before I knew it, there were twenty odd posts. I directed them to feel free to socialize, but I’d want them to avoid totally frivolous posts that would be of little or no interest to the “community.”

As I see it, there are two ways to respond–either by creating a new post, or by creating a reply. They all started by just creating new posts until I pointed out that they could click the comments button to respond. Now that I reflect upon what has been done so far, I’m not sure what is best. By creating a new post, all information is right there on the page–more like twitter itself. By using comments, more “starting posts” are visible and you can click on comments if they interest you.

I look forward to seeing how much it is used after school and on weekends , and how the usage evolves over time. Of course, I will prod it in certain directions.

Here’s the promised zipped file of Prologue. It is the latest update. I will try to keep it reasonable current until it becomes generally available in this form.

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