We are currently using several open source web apps in our district website which might be of interest to you. Here is a look at what we have so far and what we plan to add. These programs provide many web 2.0 features and allow the district to maintain some level of instructional integrity and control. Here’s what we have:
- Joomla: This runs our district news portal as well as the PTSA website.
- PHPMotion: This is our D-Tube Video Sharing Website.
- Moodle: Online classrooms
- WordPress MU: Blogs for every teacher and staff member
- Sphider: Custom Search Engine (Our own google for our site)
- Gallery: Photo Sharing for every teacher. This is what we call SchoolShots.
- Feed2JS: Allows us to embed RSS feeds into regular web pages.
- Crafty Syntax: “Live” website help feature that allows a visitor to instantly ask questions.
- Conduit: Custom Browser Toolbar similar to the ones yahoo and google offer. We add custom features and links to various parts of our website putting school closings, district news, and links to all school websites and departments right at the users fingertips every time they open their browser.
- MooTools: Ajax used for all the cool effects and stuff.
Another program we are pursuing for use this fall is called Mahara. Mahara is an ePortfolio/community building app. Students who use Moodle will be able to create their own personal learning space, connect with friends, form study groups, and blog!
The biggest benefit to all this is the ability for the teacher to easily use the products. For most products, a district ID is all they need to gain access and begin using the software. For instance, if a teacher wants to create a blog for their classroom, they simply login to the main site and a blog is instantly created for them. No waiting, no secret passwords, no registration… just their district ID. If they login to moodle, teachers have instant access to create thier course. No waiting for a tech person to approve the course. If a teacher wants to add an event to the district calendar or publish a news article, they login to Joomla and just do it.
By providing these tools for teachers and students, we eliminate the hassle and trouble that can occur when using sites such as YouTube, EduBlogs, etc. Many of the web 2.0 sites are blocked by web filters because of the content on the site anyways. One of the biggest road blocks for teachers using technology is having to spend a day registering students! With our system they can just login.
One of the resources we are lacking is a good enterprise level wiki. I would like a system similar to wikispaces, but have not really found one in my searches. If you know of any, please let me know.