As a technology coordinator for an elementary school, I have found that it is very hard to get my teachers to create and consistently update websites. There will always be technophobes that are just resistant in general, but mainly the issue isn’t desire its ease of use and availability. Teachers are busy people, most work well beyond any traditional sense of school hours. The thought of one more task in the day is something akin to the straw that broke the camel’s back. My goal became to create a system that was easy to get to, easy to use, and something that my teachers would consider a valuable tool instead of an extra duty.
The best setup I found to accomplish this goal was with a blogging package called B2 Evolution. It is free and easy to install on most websites. For instance, I got approval to purchase a years hosting with Host Gator which was right around $100. With that I got the rights to set up unlimited websites (so multiple schools could share if needed) and no limit on space and bandwidth. It also provided me with the Fantastico script installers which meant that I could install B2 Evolution in about two minutes flat.
Now, why did I choose B2Evolution instead of the more popular WordPress? B2Evolution has the ability to have blogs within blogs and here is the key to the whole thing being valuable to your school. I created a main site using another software package called Joomla but you could just as easily use any site building software or even a WordPress blog for your front page. From there I created a separate blog installation for each grade level. Then, within each grade level blog I used the create new blog option to create blogs within blogs. This isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds but it allowed me to create a separate blog for each teacher.
Now, your going to need to download and install a few plug-ins to make things easier for you later. If you Google them and B2Evolution in the same search you should have no trouble finding them. They are:
* TinyMCE – Gives your teachers a Microsoft Word type environment to work with. * Widget Manager – Allows you to create the same page layout across all your blogs at the same time. * Sorted Public Blog List – Allows you to put the links on top of the page in alphabetical order and add a link back to your main site.
To install these you are going to have to download them, uncompress them using Windows or another progress such as Winrar, and then upload them to your website via ftp. This really isn’t that hard. You can get free ftp programs off the Internet quite easily. To log into the ftp if for instance your using Host Gator, you simply use your website as the domain, and your user-name and password for logging into cpanel when asked. … Read More