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The E-HELP website


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In three years time (and hopefully long before then!) our project will have produced a website intended for European history teachers. This website will contain materials of use to history teachers who wish to exploit the potential of ICT in their history teaching whether in a first or second language learning environment. I foresee this site as offering advice and support through a series articles, videos, case-studies etc. produced by ourselves and associates, in and around the focus points of our six meetings over the next three years. With the addition of an online forum to add interactivity, I envisage the website as the 'virtual' base of those who will attend our proposed series of courses starting in the summer of 2007. With the evolution of these courses, I'd like to think that the website (and forum) will continue to develop and adapt to the changing demands of ICT in the history classroom.

In addition to this 'core' E-HELP website, we are also committed to producing exemplary curriculum resources as outlined in another thread. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2015 Personally, for practical reasons, I think these curriculum areas should be separate websites linked to the E-HELP 'core' site with a certain aesthetic and functional consistency... but now the thorny question...

Assuming we can agree on the exciting, dynamic, 'important' content and aesthetic and functional consistency, what do we think this website will do? Are there any existing websites, which are a guide to good practice (in part or in entirety)? Or do we need to start from scratch? What have we learned from using history websites in our teaching over the last three years? Have our viewpoints about successful websites changed significantly in this time? What are the major trends (technical or otherwise), which we think will influence how we construct our websites in three years time?

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm going to state the obvious here, but every single resource produced needs to have extremely clear directions on how it can be or should be used. This includes getting the resource in the first place! :blink: Those of us who use ICT in our everyday lives often forget that if something looks difficult to do or doesn't work first time, most people will simply give up. It is for this reason that off-the-shelf (but preferably Open-Source) products such as Moodle are useful. They have already been tested, are easy to use for the end user, and can be adapted without too much fuss to most needs.

I'm experimenting on my website at the moment with an automated peer-to-peer program called Bittorrent to reduce the bandwidth implications of offering large video files for download. :) This has been made possible by a recent development of this protocol called Blog Torrent. As more and more people access certain files on the Internet this will be an increasingly effective method of delivering files. As it is, Bittorrent is already responsible 35% of the web's traffic. Although I haven't enabled the function at the moment on my website, there is the ability for anyone with a valid user name and password to post their own 'torrents' which would be 'seeded' from their own computer. :)

It's developments like this which really harness the power of technology, in my opinion. Once the structures are in place, the E-HELP website should be a dynamic community of expertise and collaboration. This would be made possible by different people or teams being responsible for certain areas. Within these areas content should be both easy to push and pull from the site. Content management, already somewhat divorced from stylistic considerations, will be a separate issue in three years' time... B)

:plane Doug

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  • 3 weeks later...

One of the things that helps is if we can get a collection of good SIMPLE ideas which have 'high transference' potential. A problem here is copyright issues, even in terms of collections of images, newspaper articles archived on the web etc. Putting a hyperlink to the newspaper archive is one way round this problem, but even this represents a barrier or disincentive, so the examples and resources have to be really skilfully chosen so that there is a high 'hit-rate' of really good examples, rather than lots of mediocre/indifferent ones.

Terry

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  • 4 weeks later...

Further to my post above, a good way of allowing everyone to be part of the E-HELP website without requiring advanced ICT skills would be to use a 'Content Management System' (CMS). There's many to choose from, and you can play about with a lot of free versions at: opensourcecms.com.

:plane Doug

PS I'm using Siteframe for mrbelshaw.co.uk/share...

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Further to my post above, a good way of allowing everyone to be part of the E-HELP website without requiring advanced ICT skills would be to use a 'Content Management System' (CMS). There's many to choose from, and you can play about with a lot of free versions at: opensourcecms.com.

:) Doug

PS I'm using Siteframe for mrbelshaw.co.uk/share...

We already have something similar HERE but are yet to investigate its potential. However the look and feel of such pages is never really as professional as perhaps we should be looking for.

I believe the new site needs to be of a very high quality in terms of design and content. The Forum could be used for people to upload ideas, papers, documents and content. A smaller group of editors could perhaps decide the look and structure of the main site.

The forum has been deliberately left on the Invision server until such time as we have a discrete E-Help web site. Clearly a post Toulouse priority will be purchasing some web space and transfering the forum there - this could also be an opportunity to solve our recurrent bandwidth problems.

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We already have something similar HERE but are yet to investigate its potential. However the look and feel of such pages is never really as professional as perhaps we should be looking for.

I believe the new site needs to be of a very high quality in terms of design and content. The Forum could be used for people to upload ideas, papers, documents and content. A smaller group of editors could perhaps decide the look and structure of the main site.

To be fair, pages using a CMS will always be better than Joe Average can knock up. Only web designers can do better in my opinion, and we don't want to have to pay for those if we can avoid it! CMS's have come a long way, it would seem, since the one you refer to. In my opinion, we'd be best going with Mambo or Drupal - both almost infinitely configurable... :D

:) Doug

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To be fair, pages using a CMS will always be better than Joe Average can knock up. Only web designers can do better in my opinion, and we don't want to have to pay for those if we can avoid it! CMS's have come a long way, it would seem, since the one you refer to. In my opinion, we'd be best going with Mambo or Drupal - both almost infinitely configurable...  :D

:) Doug

This sounds very interesting. Perhaps you could make this part of your presentation in Toulouse?

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To be fair, pages using a CMS will always be better than Joe Average can knock up. Only web designers can do better in my opinion, and we don't want to have to pay for those if we can avoid it! CMS's have come a long way, it would seem, since the one you refer to. In my opinion, we'd be best going with Mambo or Drupal - both almost infinitely configurable...  :D

:plane Doug

This sounds very interesting. Perhaps you could make this part of your presentation in Toulouse?

Andy, you took the words right out of my mouth. Establishing a flexible, professional website that is relatively easy to manage has to be an early priority. Unfortunately, team members who have Virtual School experience with CMS will need some convincing.

I'm looking forward to being convinced.

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