Running a successful school website is a difficult job. For many schools its a task that often ends up passed to someone as an extra duty. Few schools have the resources to have a full time "webmaster." The result is often a school website that is under-utilized and not often updated.
Open source technology, especially content management systems like Joomla, have gone much of the way to help school realize powerful, feature rich websites. With tools such as teacher-maintained pages, email newsletters and document downloads, previously unaffordable benefits are available to all schools.
I actually started my Internet career as a teacher and the technology coordinator for a small school in Vermont almost ten years ago. One of the things I was responsible for, of course, was the school website. When I think of the time and effort that could have been saved had a CMS like Joomla been available back then, it makes me realize how lucky schools are today. I wonder how many realize that such an astonishingly powerful tool to build a website is available virtually for free.
A school perhaps is the perfect organization suited for having a comprehensive website. As I have mentioned elsewhere, twentieth-century websites were about one-way communication between the website and the readers. In the twenty-first-century Web 2.0 world, websites need to be about interaction and two-way communication. What makes a school website interesting is that there are very clearly defined stakeholder groups, each with their own needs with respect to this communication, students, teachers and parents.
At the same time, we developed a special package for schools, it was a complete site built with Joomla that could be deployed on a school web server and used as a foundation. We called it a School Shackpack, and its been very popular, with hundreds of schools downloading it. It was created using Joomla 1.0 and we have been unable to make a version for Joomla 1.5.
Since I wrote that introduction, I have found that there is still part of the jigsaw missing for schools and websites. Even with books and complete school website packages, its still hard for schools to get online with a successful site. Talking with technology coordinators and administrators, three things have got in the way:
- Schools don't have the time to keep up to date with all the open source software
- Server maintainance like security and backups are difficult
- They have no-one to ask when they get stuck or need help
I am very excited to announce that we are about to launch a new My Artisan Web package specifically for schools!
My Artisan Web provides turnkey Joomla 1.5 websites, instantly created and pre-populated with example content. We host your site and take care of all the updates and headaches, leaving you to focus on building that great school website. The monthly subscription includes:
- Turnkey hosting on our state-of-the-art servers
- A sophisticated website powered by an award winning content management system (Joomla 1.5)
- Pre-configured content to get you live quickly
- High quality templates to make your site look professional
- Install your own templates
- Use your own domain
- Easy to use training materials on all aspects of your website
- Expert support and help forum
- Core features/extensions
- WYSIWYGPro - Advanced editor ($54 value)
- Docman - Downloadable document management ($15 value)
- Flash Image Rotator - Slick flash effect images
- Disqus - User comments on any articl
- Mosets - Build complex directories ($100 value)
- Lifetime upgrades when new features/extensions are added
- SimplUpdate - flawless updates to Joomla and all extensions
- SimplSecurity - servers hardened specifically for Joomla and continual security monitoring
- SimplBackup - Sites are backed up every 15 minutes 24 hours a day
The My Artisan Web School Website package is now available. click on the image below to sign up for your no obligation free trial!