Drupal Multi-Site for School Communications

I’m working on setting up a Drupal Multi-Site Configuration to create sites that allow division specific blogging and password protecting of certain sites in the multisite configuration. Here’s the configuration I’m looking at:

1. Three column theme custom made for collegiate with site navigation on the left and organic group navigation on the right. Stories in the center. This will allow for group specific pages on the right hand navigation.
2. Image upload/gallery support
3. Tabs with the different group pages for the site on the top navigation. As I create the organic groups, this can be part of the configuration.
4. LDAP enabled so all usernames and passwords are based on my school’s active directory — and teachers and students don’t have to remember another login.

So by going with the Multi-Site configuration I can have different sites but manage only one Drupal codebase. We’re already running DrupalEd. This ill be a separate site, but the base site will be collegiatecreate.org.

We will then create:

http://www.collegiatecreate.org – for course pages in DrupalEd
ls.collegiatecreate.org – for Lower School class pages
clubs.collegiatecreate.org – for school club pages

Some other ideas:

departments.collegiatecreate.org for department specific pages.
people.collegiatecreate.org for personal blogs. Or we can continue to use our wordpress my site at blogs.collegiateschool.org.

So I have a couple of questions.

1. What do I gain with Drupal over WordPress MU? My quick answer is tabbed pages so they are easy to tab through and navigate. New posts aggregated onto one front page. You loose the beautiful WordPress interface.

2. Do I use Organic Groups or just filter pages by tags as we do at EdTechTalk? I think I want to use organic groups (og) because that will allow me to have specific og blocks on the group pages, allowing for special link and download blogs, right?

Some other ideas include:

Aggregate specific feeds onto specific sites. NYTimes on to club pages, Kids news onto the lower school page.

I’m also going to need a custom theme. I may just decide to tweak one, but this sounds like a good place to outsource. I’ve had some issues with IE and Firefox with the Default DrupalEd theme. Hopefully we’ll be able to fix that.

This has been a rambling post. Lots to think about here.

Having fun creating this site. Will hopefully be even more fun as we get going.

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NYSAIS EdTech 2006

The momentum is here — arvind and I have been discussing how to extend the 2006 NYSAIS Conference for Managers of Technology on our webcast this fall. I’m on the planning committee, and arvind is the blog manager (or blog master as I like to call him:D). With the help of our NYCIST FreeBSD Guru and a donated server, we’ve put up this Drupal site: http://www.nycist.net.

We’re pretty excited as we’re going to live webcast the main sessions of the conference and allow folks to chime in the chat room. We’re also asking that participants use del.icio.us and flickr to post links and photos with the NYSAISEdTech2006 tag. Folks can also blog using the Conference tag (NYSIASEdTech2006) and getting aggregated to our site (right navbar) or New York State area Educators and register and blog at the NYCIST.net web site. How’s that for the read/write web extended conference?

A year ago, I couldn’t webcast and didn’t know what del.icio.us was. Hopefully we’ll bring some of the other folks at this conference along for the ride. Then they can go back and bring their schools along. Very, very exciting.

We’ll be doing our final planning session tomorrow at 1:30pm EST at EdTechTalk.

Have a story you want to share? Something that will help our conference participants learn these new technologies? We’re already using some of the K-12 Online Conference posts to help folks along.

Let the conversation begin continue.

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Blogged with Flock

Testing Flock!

Here we go — Just testing out the new version (0.7.1) of Flock. It’s pretty nice and the blogging features are amazing — I’m writing this in a pop up window in the browser — I can save it and then publish to my wordpress blog from the browser. Nice!

Hope everyone is good. I’ll be back to blogging soon. I’m having a great time webcasting at www.edtechtalk.com. I’ve been doing some serious GTD work over the past few days. Also spent some time at the beach with my family.

Happy Summer.

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