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John Simkin

Developing a School Website

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This website has been teaching people how to build websites of their own since 1996. If you intend to create a website, then this is the right place to visit. Information is organised under Authoring (HTML Basics, Tables, Frames, Browsers, Tools, Stylesheets, DHTML, XML); Design (Site Building, Graphics, Fonts); Multimedia (Audio/MP3, Shockwave/Flash, Video, Animation); Programming (JavaScript, Java, ASP, PHP, ColdFusion, Perl/CGI); Backend (Databases, Apache/XSSI, Unix, Security, Networks, Protocols, Jobs).

http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/index.html

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If anyone wants to learn the basics and lives within spitting distance of Bradford, I'm running workshops on creating a departmental / school website for the Historical Association on Monday evening. Any content can be dropped into the session. 7pm at Laisterdyke High School if anyone is interested. PM / E-mail me for directions etc...

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Module 3.3 at the ICT4LT site focuses on setting up a website. ICT4LT is aimed mainly at language teachers, but Module 3.3 has been written in a more general way by Fred Riley, who is webmaster of a number of sites, including the ICT4LT site itself and the EUROCALL website. See http://www.ict4lt.org

One has to consider not only the technological issues but, primarily, who the site is intended to serve and what it aims to do, e.g. are you setting up the site for advertising purposes, or are you using the site to store and distribute teaching/learning materials? Etc, etc...

An interesting paper was presented by Lesley Shield (Open University) at last week's EUROCALL conference, considering the special needs of MFL as a subject area, e.g. MFL websites need special consideration regarding the delivery of sound (essential) and video (desirable). And so far I have not yet seen an MFL site that is able to offer listen/respond/playback activities (essential), which are a feature of most multimedia CD-ROMs for language learners.

Other important considerations are:

(1) Colour - e.g. never place red text on a green background (or vice versa) as red/green is the commonest form of colour blindness. Blue/orange and maroon/yellow are also "illegal combinations". Don't combine the primary colours either, e.g. red/yellow, as they tend to "bleed". and some people see them flickering.

(2) Pay attention to SENDA (2001).

(3) Respect copyright - if you put something up on a website you are publishing it and it must be your own material or permission to publish must be sought if it is not your own material.

Copyright is a can of worms. I keep coming across copyright oddities, e.g. if you take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower in daylight you are free to publish it anywhere, but if you take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower at night you have to seek permission to publish it from the Eiffel Tower company. This has something to do with copyright on the lighting configuration. See:

http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/pratique/faq/index.html

Q. Is the publishing of a photo of the Eiffel Tower permitted?

A : There are no restrictions on publishing a picture of the Tower by day. Photos taken at night when the lights are aglow are subjected to copyright laws, and fees for the right to publish must be paid to the SNTE.

Two more caveats:

1. Don't publish pictures of children on the Web.

2. Be wary about publishing email addresses on the Web - my business email address has just been hijacked by spammers and totally wrecked. Use a contact form.

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