Drupal: Content Management for the Web 2.0 World

I arrived a bit late as there was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge line waiting for the shuttle and I decided to hoof it instead. It was the first time I went out to the shuttle and there wasn't at least one already there. I am really excited about this session, as Jim Gates told me a bit about Drupal, so I wanted to learn more so I could (hopefully) get it at our school.

We begin by logging in to a sample class that Brett Hinton of Gilbert Public Schools (Arizona) has set up. We created usernames and passwords, and the first thing we did was take a poll on what our experiences with Drupal and CMS's are. Most of us have used a CMS before, but not Drupal.

This session is designed as a hands-on session, where we are encouraged to click around and check out the site. It's a great way to learn. However, with a large group, it is difficult to get questions, so he has set up a link where we can submit a question within the Drupal page. Neat function to be able to do that!

Next, Brett talks of the history of Drupal. Also, the 'handouts' for the session are online. Drupal was originated by Dries Buytart in 2000 to keep in touch with college buddies, ans has expanded to over 150,000 users.

The requirements are you need a web server (Brett recommends Apache), a database server (MySQL & PgSQL are most common), and php.

Brett then also gave us two links for Drupal providers:
Next, we look at the blog functionality of Drupal. We see how it gives the ability to name your blog, put a description with it, etc. Wiki pages are also part of the package. I will have to get a little more info on how they work in Drupal.

We also look at the podcasting function in Drupal. Brett plays a song that one of his colleagues created called "The Drupal Song." Very catchy. How do we add a podcast? Let's watch Brett show us! He explains how it is possible for both the teacher and students to create and post the podcasts. Hmm, you can only submit a podcast with the following formats: mps, wav, ogg, and mp4. That's something to keep in mind.

As I click through some of the examples, I noticed that one of the pages (CoreWEB) is using Drupal and moodle together. It's nice to see that there is a mixture of usage of the different tools out there. That is something that will need to be stressed with the non-tech teachers. I know there are a few in my district that would look at this as the only thing to use, when they should choose the tool that best fits what it is they want to do.

Brett shows us the calendar function on one of the sample pages. There is some functionality to it, but it doesn't do quite everything you would hope for from a calendar. There were a few questions that people were asking, and Brett did a great job of answering them. It doesn't quite check for conflicts, but there are other calendars that can do that. Brett talks about using the calendar to reserve a computer lab. I know we use AirSet in our district to reserve computer carts, though I don't worry about it too much as I have my own carts.

An observer mentions Bill Fizgerald and DrupalEd. It is a site designed to help people start up their own Drupal page. Brett then takes us into the Drupal admin demo pages. He talks about creating the page. You need to create a username and password, and it creates you as an admin. You can have more than one admin for a page. We are able to see how the admin functions appear. There is also talk of being able to test out the different open source CMS packages. It is unfortunate that there is only an hour allowable for this session. This has been an excellent session, and I would love to learn more. I hope I can talk our district into getting Drupal.

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