Rolling Along with Drupal

We worked on Drupal most of the week.  Actually, I started the week before with a simple Drupal installation on my bluehost.com account.  This week, we built a proper Redhad Linux server and installed Drupal to start building it as a production server.

Our goal is a pilot project for the rest of the year with three or four middle school classrooms.  They are looking for better ways for students to post writing and other creative work and media online to each other, and to allow commenting on it.  Our Moodle system can do some of that, but it’s not great with the commenting and broader sharing with students outside of the class groups.  (Moodle could be enhanced to be better at this, but it’s our main homework delivery and listing system for dozens of classes, so we are very hesitant to start trying out add-in modules in the middle of a school year.)

So far, we’ve been following Bill Fitzgerald’s book (noted in last post) and trying to upgrade the file management system.  We had one scare when we lost all admin access, but we found the solution the next day.  Now that we have over a dozen modules installed, we’re finding the system to be a bit fragile.  (Views module can crash repeatedly and need to be reinstalled, etc.)

However, we are excited about getting Organic Groups working, so that teachers can create their own class groups as desired (instead of us locking everything down with student information class list exports).  We also like the idea of the portfolios having many publication options (private, teacher only, class only, grade level only, division only, school only, and possibly public in the future).

It’s good work, and we’ll continue next week with a hopeful launch the following week (once students are back from February break).  We are also building an open air lab in the MS/HS library next week, and I really like the idea of students using paper and digital resources at the same time.

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