Building a Network of Public School Websites on a Public School Budget

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There are countless examples of individual PreK-12 and Higher Education teachers and professors using WordPress for course websites, along with a long list of institutions that use it as a universal platform for their staff to share course information and resources. Some universities and districts have large IT and web development departments or may use outside developers. But can a school district or college with a lean IT/web department and even leaner budget still implement a reliable, professional, and effective WordPress infrastructure for course websites? In this session, we will look at guiding philosophies and specific ways in which educational technologists can use WordPress Multisite and a series of plugins and customizations to accomplish these goals.

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Building a Network of Public School Websites on a Public School Budget

  1. 1. BUILDING A NETWORK OF PUBLIC SCHOOL WEBSITES ON A PUBLIC SCHOOL BUDGET Jon Moss Avon Public Schools Avon, CT edvantaged.com
  2. 2. WHERE ARE WE NOW? Teacher websites in Avon Public Schools vary in Content/Features Design Structure Platform Accuracy
  3. 3. WORDPRESS
  4. 4. SCHOOL NOTES
  5. 5. GOOGLE SITES
  6. 6. FIRST CLASS
  7. 7. SINGLE PAGE
  8. 8. MULTIMEDIA
  9. 9. BLOGS
  10. 10. SOCIAL MEDIA
  11. 11. SKIES OF BLUE
  12. 12. SEAS OF GREEN
  13. 13. ALL PINK, ALL THE TIME!
  14. 14. OUT OF DATE
  15. 15. MISSING CONTENT
  16. 16. NON-EXISTANT!
  17. 17. CURRENT FEATURES ON PK-4 TEACHER WEBSITES Links Schedule Other Newsletter Welcome Contact Me About Me Resources Roster Files Policies Spelling Calendar Curriculum Homework Quotations Photos Conferences Program Info Math Facts Class Descriptions Volunteering 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
  18. 18. WHAT WE NEED A platform that...  Unifies teacher websites within one system  Promotes consistent design elements  Maintains certain minimum required features in teacher websites  Has the flexibility to meet dif ferent teachers’ needs  Social media, forums, file hosting, student work showcase, etc.  Low cost and ad-free
  19. 19. MOBILE VOICE TELEPHONY
  20. 20. PORTABLE COMPUTING
  21. 21. SITE-WIDE TELECOMMUNICATION
  22. 22. PERSONAL DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
  23. 23. DESKTOP COMPUTERS FOR CODING
  24. 24. WHAT WE NEED A platform that...  Unifies teacher websites within one system  Promotes consistent design elements  Maintains certain minimum required features in teacher websites  Has the flexibility to meet dif ferent teachers’ needs  Social media, forums, file hosting, student work showcase, etc.     Low Can Can Has cost and ad-free be deployed mostly by in -house IT and ET staf f be used by novice teachers with a minimum of training. the flexibility to meet future district needs.
  25. 25. Information Technology Educational Technology Web Developer and Designer
  26. 26. WHAT WE NEED A platform that...  Unifies teacher websites within one system  Promotes consistent design elements  Maintains certain minimum required features in teacher websites  Has the flexibility to meet dif ferent teachers’ needs  Social media, forums, file hosting, student work showcase, etc.     Low Can Can Has cost and ad-free be deployed mostly by in -house IT and ET staf f be used by novice teachers with a minimum of training. the flexibility to meet future district needs.
  27. 27. WHERE TO BEGIN  Make firm decisions about default options (comments, user permissions, etc.)  Rule by exception  Secure proper hosting and backup services.  Create Multisite installation (great support on Codex)  Use the User Role Editor plugin to establish custom roles and permissions.  What will be norm for granting permissions?  Give more permissions or give fewer permissions?  Select and configure your theme and settings.  Install and test plugins.
  28. 28. SETTING UP SITES  Create template site  Include required pages, components, sidebar widgets, etc.  Will you have a universal template site or individual template sites for each building?  Register users  Consider mass-registering users if you have a large number of accounts to create and configure.  Use the Blog Copier plugin to duplicate and customize your template sites.  Set up teacher accounts on each site.
  29. 29. USER MANAGEMENT  Start with a predefined set of permissions (usually “Editor”)  Add as necessary:        add_users create_users delete_users edit_users list_users remove_users edit_theme_options  Promote as necessary  Demote users as necessary or upon request
  30. 30. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY...  Provide organized, dif ferentiated training.  Avoid this:
  31. 31. AND... Give your users control, per mission, and skills to make their site what is right for them and their class!
  32. 32. SAMPLE NETWORK OF SITES Join us at www.edvantaged.com/msdemo
  33. 33. CHALLENGES  Fine-tuning user permissions  Will be resolved during the PILOT PROCESS (a must!)  Embedding HTML (based on permissions)  Hiding menu options for some user (perhaps based on permissions?)
  34. 34. ONGOING MANAGEMENT ADVANTAGES  Search by date of last update  Archive sites that are no longer active  Ease of access for troubleshooting
  35. 35. WHAT WE NEED A platform that...  Has the flexibility to meet dif ferent teachers’ needs  Social media, forums, file hosting, student work showcase, etc.  Can be deployed mostly by in -house IT and ET staf f  Can be used by novice teachers with a minimum of training.
  36. 36. THANK YOU! Jon Moss @JonMossEdTech jonmossedtech@edvantaged.com www.edvantaged.com Thank you Boston and Microsoft NERD Center!

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