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Re: [school-discuss] SchoolForge website direction (wrote a book here)

I am going to leave the entire mail at the end here, I know this is not
"white space" protocol, however... a Google spider will pick it up.

I think SchoolForge one of the most fantastic, useful, intelligent...
sites/groups/better than UN..., shall I go on? I think you know what I

When you stand back and look at what this group has achieved... well
try it. Come to your own conclusions.

It educates the educators, and you can't ask more than that.

I start a new project... 


It's only  few hours old, so don't expect a lot


... was where it started


...and look closely... you will see the logo....

 the source code is here:



--- Justin Riddiough <jriddiough@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> First, I'd like to welcome a couple of people to SchoolForge that
> have
> indicated an interest in volunteering efforts towards some of these
> tasks, June Greever and BJ Bjostad.  June will be helping out to
> define the categories for site organization, and BJ will be assisting
> in coding efforts towards bringing the case studies system online
> within the new website.  They are both very talented & creative
> people
> and we are thrilled to welcome them on board. :-D
> From discussions here and talking with people that have an interest
> in
> working with different tasks, I've been able to put together
> something
> that provides a draft overview of the goals of SF and how we believe
> they can be achieved through a structured approach.  These are
> discussion points that can be developed further, and priorities are
> still open to being adjusted - tasks will probably have to be broken
> down further to give more specific objectives - but I think this will
> go a long way towards getting there.  I hope that this reflects a
> progression of the website ideas that we started with as a result of
> discussion that has taken place here.
> What we are looking for is input regarding any key elements that may
> have been overlooked, and feedback towards establishing the different
> elements in ways that can be picked up by those who wish to volunteer
> efforts.
> Mission:  To promote communication between non-technical and
> technical
> users within the scope of education through the development of
> website
> resources that promote FLOSS principals and projects
> Goals
> * Set development standards
> * Clean up SF resources (Case studies, discussion lists, app index)
> * Evaluate, and rebuild these resources into new SF site
> * Implement system for the sharing of open educational resources
> * Start a project towards the development of a standards database
> I Pre-development
>   In this area, development standards will be set.  There is no
> standard too rigid to follow given that it provides a valuable long
> term benefit.  The more standards to follow, the more work there is
> up
> front - however, quality depends on this.  So, the goal of
> pre-development is to create a list/resource that development efforts
> can be compared to
> 1) Accessibility standards & criteria -  development efforts should
> follow a set of defined accessibility standards.
>   a) Hearing & Vision impaired users
>   b) Translations and global availability.. are there wiki-methods of
> allowing pages to be translated
> 2) Security standards - ongoing examination of software environment
> to
> ensure best practices are applied towards security in the development
> and application of features through the entire software environment.
> Some things I've considered in this are things like making sure that
> javascript can't be posted via form submissions that would become
> site
> content.  Checking for patches and updates for all applied
> technologies.  Reviews of folder permissions, etc.
> 3) Defining and categorization of target users - in this, we will
> evaluate what resources and efforts are ongoing out there, and use
> that to develop an understanding of who will be visiting the website,
> this information will be used to provide effectively organized
> content
> towards the different users of the website.  With a sort of category
> matrix, as we work on the other aspects of the website we will be
> able
> to ask, for example "How does X user interface with Y project" - How
> does a teacher use the case studies compared to how an administrator
> uses case studies?  Being able to ask these questions with an end
> user
> based structure seems like the way to go.
> 4) Modularity standards & criteria - This is setting criteria to make
> sure that best practices are applied when it comes to how each aspect
> of the site is implemented towards being modular to a point that (as
> much as possible) presentation and data are separate entities.  This
> will ensure that projects and efforts can evolve at a much quicker
> pace and have a structural foundation.
> II Development - Get CMS operational and bring established SF
> projects
> into the CMS
> 1) Case studies - the case studies will be integrated into the SF
> website.  Before this happens, Tyson is going to reach out to those
> who have created case studies and find out what sort of feedback they
> can provide and to verify that they are active and can respond to
> emails/inquiries on their case study.  Once this is completed and the
> case studies have been cleaned up, the feedback will be reviewed and
> we will have a discussion on how the case studies should be
> implemented in SF.  Some of the things I have in mind would be..
>   * Guide users through input, find out what hardware and software
> environment they start with, and what environment they end with.
>   * Major steps taken, efforts, and what people need to know before
> trying to do this
>   * Cost savings details when possible
>   *  Ability to export as .pdf with a professional 'white paper' type
> type design
> 2) Application Index / Project Index - I feel that the application
> index will be reborn as a 'project index' This would provide a place
> for FLOSS Education project to be presented, with original SF members
> given recognition.  Educational applications would be a category of
> projects, however, the scope of projects will be greater to include
> the different categories.  We are still thinking this one over.
> 3) Editorial section development - I think something similar to
> opensourceschools, but integrated into the SF website.  There are a
> lot of directions this could go, but a strong news section which
> highlights and notes details - as far as SF internal -  automation
> could be provided for things such as creating news feeds based on
> events such as 'new case study - title' or 'major project updates.'
> News sections could also cover multiple aspects, such as major events
> relating to FLOSS and education and all that falls between.  - I also
> saw that for Drupal, there is active development towards Digg like
> interface but some of the modules it requires are still in
> development
> (maybe SF could find a way to promote those efforts?)
> 4) Discussion Forums - not a whole lot of description is needed on
> this one, maybe just keeping in mind that with the mix of people
> visiting the site, there are a lot of different topics that could be
> forum sections.  Places for teachers to talk with other teachers
> about
> implementing projects and answering questions, for teachers to talk
> to
> the developers, school administrative discussion, and on...
> 5) schoolforge-discuss and core lists -
>    I don't see a lot changing with the discuss list, but I'd like to
> keep it going as sort of a 'behind the scenes' resource (subscription
> options will still be available via the website.)  I think that the
> core list will be disbanded in favor of using the discuss list for
> gathering input, sharing ideas, project news.. pretty much how it is
> currently being utilized.  Discussion between SF developers and
> projects will probably take place in the forums.  I think the core
> list had its value in the initial stages of SF, where many people
> were
> working to bring many more people together - (I'd say that effort was
> very successful - I am constantly impressed by the efforts and
> projects being worked on that have been shared here, especially from
> those that are driven by teachers.. you know, with all the time they
> have available)
> III Building & development of shared open educational resource system
> (shared documents)
>     This will be developed along with the other features, however,
> the
> purpose of open edu resource materials development is to introduce
> others to the concepts of open source in a useful and productive way
> -
> so it seems that this should really be focused on more once the 
> ideas
> noted above are starting to come together, and the SF website is
> operational at a level that advances present functionality.
> 1) The presentation of a open educational resource
>    A) Perhaps a page that describes the resource via metadata,
>    B)  offers downloads via multiple file formats (with the standard
> being ODF and a promotion of OpenOffice)  Design it so that people
> can
> see what ODF offers - upload the document with the ODF format, and
> would it be possible then to automatically generate the other
> formats?
>  Formats such as .doc, .pdf, etc...
>   C) Offers the facility for commenting, something like a blog at the
> bottom of the page.  This would give people using the different
> resources a place to share feedback and helpful tips to one another
> (sort of like comments are included for each PHP function on the PHP
> site)
>   D) Facility for uploading & submitting different versions of the
> document (important updates..different languages..etc) and historical
> tracking
> 2) Promotion of content development and examination of where to get
> the ball rolling
>  The most interesting thing about this, is that almost each person
> I've talked to has had an idea for something that could be made
> available with something like this - and almost each idea has been
> completely different then what I had thought of (a very good thing, I
> think!).  Things like college prep exam materials and resources,
> teacher/administrative documents like behavioral charts..
> 3) Not something to do now, but maybe on the back burner -
> integration
> of web based ODF file editors so that people could update documents
> without having to install openoffice in situations where it's not
> possible to install it?  Just an idea to put on the table - I don't
> see this happening any time soon though.
> IV  Standards Database
>    I've checked out some of the different formats that are used to
> represent standards..  time will have to be put into creating an
> input
> standard for taking in the educational standards in a way that can be
> applied to providing meta data for the resource listings.  I'm pretty
> sure that standards that can be represented in outline format will be
> the best candidates initially.
>   The way I'm looking at this is that it's pretty much a project in
> itself, the standards database should be an open resource that others
> can use in the application of their own tools.  In my earlier post
> describing ideas on how to achieve this, presented a way to
> accomplish
> a lot of this through setting up a framework that would allow it to
> be
> implemented with as much as 1 states standards information, and to be
> able to grow as others are able to start projects towards inputting
> standards information.  It seems like that would be the way to go.
> Finally, I'd say that there are some benefits to focusing on steps
> and IV later rather then as initial development efforts. Working with
> and expanding established SF content resources will give us a
> familiarity level with Drupal towards sucessfully implementing the
> new
> resources.
> I'm going to give my fingers a rest now.  :)
> Justin

Making dyslexics and fumble fingers feel at hme.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first create the universe"
Carl Sagan
(on education...)


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