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Joomla? DrupalEd? Elgg? TTT46 03.28.07

This week, we’ve invited several National Writing Project (NWP) technology liaisons to join us to talk about how they manage Content Management Systems (CMS’s) for their local sites, schools, and classrooms. We’d like to discuss and the possibilities of using the DurpalEd profile that Bill Fitzgerald has recently been piloting, and is threatening to release within weeks.

This discussion, which can get pretty abstract at times, will be grounded in real decisions, and these decisions go beyond a consideration of the pluses and minuses of particular CMS’s. We will present a case study during this Wednesday’s webcast on EdTechTalk.com (6pm PDT / 9pm EDT / 1am GMT (global times). In order to model the CMS decision-making process, the teachers facilitating a summer institute for NWP teachers will make a decision. Before the end of the webcast we’ll decide which type of CMS to use in Tech Matters 2007. By listening in — and/or participating — perhaps you’ll get some insights into similar decisions about what tools to use with your educational network, school, or classroom. We’d love to hear about your decision-making process as well.

We will be discussing Tech Matters, a four-day “invitational institute [for] two-person teams from ten local writing project sites [that will be held July 17 – 22, 2007 in Chico, CA. In Tech Matters, we will] “explore the intersections of technology, teaching, and writing in support of their local site goals…. [By] “engaging with a variety of tools and forums, each team will have ample opportunity to consider strategies for using technology to facilitate the work of its site. Participants will engage in a process of inquiry as they consider these technologies both in relation to their local site and in connection with their personal teaching goals.(NWP – 2007 Technology Matters Institute).

In the four previous institutes we used a threaded discussion board, a MOO, a wiki, a blog, a CMS, a set of shared Google Documents, shared del.icio.us and flickr tags… all sorts of online spaces where we could all collaborate. We need such spaces again this year, and more. This year we intend for our online presence to have a dual purpose.

The Tech Matters 07 site will be for participants to use internally as they explore their thinking. In addition we will use this site as a platform upon which we can increase our public conversations with former Tech Matters participants, the Tech Liaison Network–as well as other networks–of the National Writing Project, and the ed-tech community in general. We intend this to be a read/write, multi-media space where we capture the experience of Tech Matters participants and share it with others, and where others contribute to our learning experiences during the summer and, perhaps, after.

Will Joomla work? Maybe we should use James Farmer’s EduBlogs or our own WordPress installation. How about using an elgg? Or will Bill Fitzgerald’s DrupalEd site be available? We want to use something that will work for us this summer, but we are also aware that the site might live on beyond the summer, and that it might be looked at as a model for tech liaisons in Writing Projects where leaders want to experiment with using a site during a Summer Institute and into the year. We want to use tools that the participants can take home to use with their local sites, schools, and classrooms.

It’s important to think of this decision as one that goes beyond choosing a particular software, although we do probably have to make a choice. (Or do we? Maybe we could have different versions on different platforms. That’s probably unmanageable.) We need to choose which development community we want to get more involved with. For example, Bill Fitzgerald is offering more than a DrupalEd profile. He’s also suggesting a way for developers like him to work with a small set of Writing Project tech liaisons who would be able to learn enough to begin managing a Drupal site for their local sites, networks, schools, and classrooms. It’s the vision of community and on-going support that we are making a decision about as much as it is the particular software being used at this time in that community.

On this webcast, we hope to bring together several National Writing Project tech liaisons with Bill Fitzgerald to talk about what we know we need, and even about what we don’t yet know we need to bring teachers and students at our local sites the tools they need to teach 21st Century literacies.

Join Bill Fitzgerald, Paul Allison, Lee Baber, Kevin Hodgson, Karen McComas, Will Banks, Eric Heofler, Troy Hicks, and Christina Cantrill… and many more, maybe you!… this Wednesday evening on EdTechTalk.com (6pm PDT / 9pm EDT / 1am GMT (global times).

See you then!