August 11, 2006

Elgg - another possibility

One of the biggest problems faced by Karen, David and me as we take another look at Exc-el is what platforms to employ for the complex array of services we wish to offer: student/teacher blogging, corporate one-click publishing, podcasting, showcasing, mutliple themed RSS feeds to pick up and add to one's own feed reader, then even which feed reader to use in the first place.

I've spent the last few days looking at RSS front pages from the likes of Newsgator - their PrivateLabel solution looks interesting in that we can brand and push content we want to, while offering individualised homepages with local, Authority and national feeds. It's a lot more sophisticated than Bloglines, but it's costly.

I've also been looking at using Ruby to bring in Bloglines-created OPMLs and Technorati / Google-news watchlists to provide themed information for students or teachers of subjects x, y and z.

212401118_9ab48f72d9_m Today, Steve O'Hear has published part 2 of an article on Web 2.0 solutions, particularly closing in on Elgg, an open-source solution which has taken on great impetus in the past 12 months. I am ashamedly ignorant of what this could offer East Lothian and hope that between David and me we can get some ideas. Above all, if you're an Elgg-er maybe we could offer some of our stuff in return for your expertise.

One thing I am sure about is that teachers and students in East Lothian are a varied bunch and require a varied set of 'homepages'. Using RSS to provide truly unique and user-created mixes of information looks, to me, a better solution to the old model of corporate homepages. There will always be a place for one page aggregating information, but this must work alongside individual choices, should indeed the individuals choose.

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Thanks for the information on Elgg.

Like you I am very busy trying to create educational solutions. Any new tool may make a huge difference in results.

I'll check it out

Miles Berry is a great proponent of elgg. It is also discussed in Coming of Age (click the link at the top of Ewan's page).
I must admit to being very interested in trying elgg, especially if the elgg/moodle link that Miles Berry talks about does come to pass.

Ha!
Elgg is pretty brilliant actually, and gets better all the time. My fairly basic write-up of our first term is indeed in CoA.
Elgg-Moodle integration is now in place, and there's some other cool stuff happening with turn-key hosted Elgg at elggspaces, and, wait for it, elgg-moodle-drupal-mediawiki (pause for a moment to contemplate what a meaningless string that would have been a few years ago) integration out of the box on its way from openacademic.org. Elgg's project manager, Dave Tosh, is just up the road from you in Edinburgh, and there's an informal conference/get together there on 4/9.
Do get in touch if you want a chat about this.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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