Quiz Your Readers: Our New WordPress Plugin To Create Simple Quizzes

Today we're excited to announce a new embeddable interactive quiz tool built using Mother Jones' handy quiz tool but adapted specifically for the Largo platform and available now for any WordPress site.

[quiz key="0AvfAWkLLRik_dGtjRVNUamJwbE1wRWxtVVRURG1UU0E" layout="sidebar" answerstyle="alpha" align="alignright" title="Take the Quiz!" description="Think you've got what it takes?" source="Wikipedia" byline="Will Haynes/INN"]

Built on top of Mother Jones’ NewsQuiz.js library, this WordPress plugin allows you to build a quiz in Google Drive and embed it with a shortcode into a WordPress post. This could be used to test readers’ understanding of material, or just to expose them to the questions in an interactive way.

Grading of questions happens inline, at the bottom of the widget. Settings exist to control both the size and flow of the plugin, as documented in the project readme.

Try out the example quiz embedded in this post, or check out how INN member Youth Today is using it to support a piece exploring how the income gap affects scoring on college entrance exams.

To see how to build a quiz of your own using this plugin, how to format your Google spreadsheet, etc. please see Mother Jones’ documentation for the original quiz library.

We’re hoping to build more interactive features for Largo in the future.

So if you have an idea for what we should build next or suggestions for how to improve this tool, let us know in the comments or email us anytime at nerds@inn.org.

A Simple Tool To Create Responsive Tables Directly In Your Browser

Note: This tool is not maintained, and has been deprecated since February 2018. It does not handle Google's API limits. 

This note was added December 4, 2018.

We released a responsive table creation command-line tool last month. After installation, it took a Google spreadsheet and some configuration in a JSON file, and returned a collection of files to be uploaded to your webserver and embedded on your page. Sounds complicated, right?

Today we're launching a responsive table creation webapp. Feed it the URL of a Google spreadsheet and it will help you create a collection of files that need to be uploaded to your webserver and embedded on your page.

The difference between today's responsive table tool and last month's is that this one runs in your browser. It offers you a convenient user-friendly interface. It lets you preview what your table will look like. And, most importantly, the tool doesn't require you to install anything on your computer for it to work.

Give it a try!

How the webapp works

Once you've set up a spreadsheet in Google Drive, paste its URL into the URL field of the webapp. The page parses the URL to extract the spreadsheet key (44 characters of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and dashes), then feeds the key to Tabletop.js, which parses the spreadsheet. Tabletop.js and jQuery combine to render a list of columns in the webapp, allowing users to give each column a display name. Users can also add their Google Analytics ID to be included in the download.

The preview uses the same Tabletop.js + Tablesaw combination that the downloadable files use, but it gets the spreadsheet key and the column definition from URL parameters.

Other notes

The webapp doesn't change the actual responsive table code generated by the original app. The table breakpoint is still set to 60em/960px, and works best for tables with 5-7 columns.

You can see an example of a table rendered with our rig here: http://nerds.inn.org/wp-content/uploads/static/discounts/

And an example of that same table embedded via iframe: http://nerds.inn.org/discounts/

View the code in the INN/responsive-tables repository on GitHub (bug reports and pull requests welcome!): https://github.com/INN/responsive-tables/

20+ Free And Discounted Tech Tools And Services For Nonprofits

INN has recently compiled a list of tech tools and services that offer special deals to nonprofit organizations. Here are a few of the tools and services from the list that our team uses:

Balsamiq is a tool for creating mockups and wireframes for websites that has some really nice collaborative features to allow you to share your designs and get feedback from your team. They offer free desktop licenses for their software to nonprofit organizations and open source projects or you can get a free year of their cloud-based wireframing tool. Learn more.

Buffer is a tool for scheduling social media posts that is very handy if you want to load up a bunch of posts all at once but have them trickle out over the course of the day. They have a free basic plan but offer nonprofit organizations 50% off of their paid plans which have a number of more advanced features. Learn more.

GitHub is a popular place to share and collaborate on code that is widely used in the open source and journalism community. The service is free to use unless you need to keep repositories private but they also provide free bronze plans (up to 10 private repositories, normally $25/month) for use by non‑profit organizations and charities. To take advantage of this program you must provide proof of 501(c)(3) status. Learn more.

Google offers nonprofits free Google Apps for Business accounts (email, calendar and cloud storage) through their nonprofit program. They also offer a free monthly allowance of search ads (called AdWords) through their Google Grants program and special functionality tailored to nonprofits on YouTube. Learn more.

Hipchat is a simple, but very powerful group chat application that allows you to create private or public chatrooms and also video chat, audio chat and screen share with your team members. It also has a bunch of add-ons that allow you to connect other services to your chat and receive notifications (we like to use it to keep tabs on our github repos. They offer free licenses to charitable organizations. Learn more.

MailChimp is a popular email list management tool that INN and many of our members use for email newsletters. They have a pretty generous free tier (12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers monthly) but once you outgrow that they also offer nonprofits a 15% discount. Learn more.

Those are a few of our favorites, but be sure to check out the complete list and if you know of any others we should add, get in touch and let us know or drop a comment below with the details.

Introducing the INN Toolbox

If you've ever found yourself wishing for a list of reporting, data and visualization resources among INN members, today is your lucky day! We are happy to bring you the INN Toolbox, a collection of searchable databases, Github repos, APIs, embeddable widgets and more that can help with reporting and online presentation.

Use our searchable database to find tools such as:

  • Are these temperatures normal? Code available on Github from MinnPost that adds context to the temperature in your area by calculating how far above/below average your area is for the day, week, month and season. Updates every hour.
  • Barking Owl. A scalable web crawler intended to be used to find specific document types such as PDFs. From the Rochester Hacks and Hackers group that works closely with INN member Innovation Trail.
  • Influence Explorer. A collaboration among INN members Sunlight Foundation, National Institute for Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, Influence Explorer connects the dots of political contributions on the federal and state level allowing you to track influence by lawmaker, company or prominent individual.

The INN Toolbox will be continually updated, and we'd love for you to contribute. There is an online form to add resources from your newsroom or tools that you find helpful.

You can visit the INN Toolbox here.