1.1 The rock-bottom assumptions
1.1.1 Main design viewpoints
1.1.2 What students can learn
1.1.3 User requirements
1.2 The Website@School teams
1.2.1 Core team
1.2.3 Code contributors
2.1 Civil liberties
2.2 Security features
2.3 Features for blind and visually
2.4 Usability features
3. Available modules and themes
4. Supported languages
4.1 Website@School program
4.2 Website@SChool Users'
5. Wish list
6. Useful links
9. To conclude
Website@School is a website
content management system (CMS) specially designed to both
learn and build websites for schools. It has special features
for blind and visually impaired users and web masters.
Website@School has a firm foundation, both
on the visible surface as well as 'under the hood'. Its piles
were forged with the help of Jürgen Habermas and Donald
Jürgen Habermas (1929- ), and
his 'Theory of Communicative Action'.
"Habermas is a philosopher and sociologist in the
tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. He is
best known for his work on the concept of the public sphere,
which he has based in his theory of communicative action."
Donald Knuth (1938- ), American
computer scientist and his 'The Art of Computer
"Donald Knuth is a renowned computer scientist and
Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. Author of the
seminal multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming
("TAOCP"), Knuth has been called the "father" of the analysis
of algorithms..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Knuth
Célestin Freinet (1896-1966),
and Paolo Freire (1921-1997).
A French pedagogue and educational reformer and a Brazilian
educator and influential theorist on education are our
indispensable guides when thinking about a website learning
tool for education. Almost a hundred years ago Freinet
already saw the possibilities of modern technologies in the
hands of students for real life learning and communication,
while Freires thoughts on reciprocity fit in the Open Source
celestin_freinet.jpg and paolo_freire.jpg
|Concepts of Freinet's pedagogy:
- Pedagogy of work (pédagogie du travail):
students are encouraged to learn by making products or
- Enquiry-based learning (tâtonnement
expérimental): group-based trial and error
- Cooperative learning (travail coopératif):
students co-operate in the production process.
- Centers of interest (complexes
d'intérèt): the children's interests and
natural curiosity are starting points for a learning
- The natural method (méthode naturelle):
authentic learning by using real experiences of
- Democracy: children learn to take responsibility for
their own work and for the whole community by using
democratic self government.
(excerpts from Wikipedia)
|[...] challenging is Freire's strong
aversion to the teacher-student dichotomy. This
dichotomy is admitted in Rousseau and constrained in
Dewey, but Freire comes close to insisting that it
should be completely abolished. This is hard to
imagine in absolute terms, since there must be some
enactment of the teacher-student relationship in the
parent-child relationship, but what Freire suggests
is that a deep reciprocity be inserted into our
notions of teacher and student. Freire wants us to
think in terms of teacher-student and
student-teacher; that is, a teacher who learns and a
learner who teaches, as the basic roles of classroom
(excerpts from Wikipedia)
On the shoulders of these giants, a
couple of dwarfs created something we hope is useful for
education and schools: Website@School.
Our practical experiences with the work of
Celestin Freinet and Paolo Freire inspired the design viewpoints
for a CMS for schools:
These viewpoints were shaped in the
main features. Please read 2. Features.
- A school CMS must be a place where
students can learn. Learn to create and publish texts, learn
management tasks and administrative skills, experience markup
languages, run and ruin their own style sheets and learn basics
of coding. On every level, from writing their first text to
writing code, a school CMS must be a learning tool for
- The website of a school needs
special qualities. It differs from the home site of the Jones
family and also it's certainly not the site of an enterprise or
a business. A school is not a company. These notions require
features that differ from most other (fine) CMS's.
- A school website is the place on
the Internet where students, teachers, faculty, parents, the
School Board, several committees and other parties can find a
place to express themselves and communicate with all kinds of
visitors. A school CMS must enable all these stakeholders to
use the CMS for their purposes. A school CMS must take care of
all their cultural differences and similarities in the way they
express themselves and communicate with their sometimes special
- Most schools are not that rich.
Websites of schools must be managed and maintained by many
persons. All of them have little or no experience as webmaster,
HTML expert or systems administrator. Often a school is mainly
managed by hard working female teachers who like to teach, and
not to manage some CMS. These circumstances call for a very
secure, robust and stable but KISS (Keep it Simple &
Straightforward) CMS for all those users. And last but not
least, also an exiting environment for wizkid students, eager
to investigate a CMS.
- A school CMS needs excellent
documentation. A comprehensive user manual with a flat learning
curve. Furthermore, extensive developer documentation targeted
at a technical audience. And last but not least, well
documented, well written code.
- Visually impaired and blind
persons not only have the right on accessible websites, they
also have rights on accessible CMS management.
Website@School is a CMS, not only for school websites but also to learn about
websites. It has a lot to offer for students, eager to learn
about content, ICT and management. A short summary:
- International cooperation. When
schools use Website@School each user can work with the CMS her
- Experiment in a safe environment
where it is possible to make mistakes -the basis of learning-
without harming the school CMS.
- All incoming materials are checked
for viruses (see requirements).
- Create and publish
- Do research with ICT
- Learn HTML markup language in the
plain HTML editor.
- Learn CSS with Bazaar Style Style
(BSS) that students can manage themselves.
- Gain hands on CMS management
experience in a safe environment.
- Learn to work in project teams.
Learn to collaborate.
- Visually impaired and blind
students can manage Website@School with braille terminal and/or
Website@School is not particularly difficult to
use but it does require a willingness to read and follow the
instructions. If you have a natural aversion to reading
instructions, and your approach to new software is to click on
every button you see until something resembles the desired
effect, then Website@School is probably not suitable for you
(Courtesy OmegaT User
Many people from
all over the world are making Website@School available for
students, teachers, parents and schools. Please contact us if
you feel your name should be mentioned here.
- Karin Abma (ICT coordinator of the Public
Primary School Rosa Boekdrukker in Amsterdam, the
- Peter Fokker (Ingenieursbureau PSD, main developer,
- Dirk Schouten (former teacher, manual writer, visually
Said Taki (Arabic), Boyan Kirchev (Bulgarian), Jing Fang Liu,
Danny Yen (Chinese), Christian Borum Loebner-Olesen (Danish),
Laura Råman (Finnish), Jean Peyratout, Marjolaine Audoux
(French), Piet Damsma (Friesian), Claudia Göhnert, S.
Stadoll, F. Kudzielka (German), Iakovos Christoforidis (Greek),
Erika Swiderski, Gergely Sipos (Hungarian), Fabio Zaffora
(Italian), Giovanni Thomas (Papiamento) A. Darvishi (Persian),
Waldemar Pankiw (Polish), Rita Valente Ribeiro da Silva, Keli
Tracz, Thais Rizzi (Portuguese), Anastassia Blechko (Russian),
Anouk Coumans, Margot Molier, Hannah Tulleken (Spanish), Hansje
Cozijnsen (Swedish), Ülku Gaga (Turkish), Nasira Parveen
(Urdu), Quynh Nguyen (Vietnamese).
(native English speaker who corrects our DutchEnglish)
Boyan Kirchev, Denitza Lambreva (Bulgarian) Rieks van Rooijen,
Karin Abma (Dutch), Jean Peyratout, Marjolaine Audoux (French),
Keli Tracz (Portugese), Anouk Coumans (Spanish), Hansje Cozijnsen
(Swedish), Nasira Parveen (Urdu).
Website@School also uses code contributions
created by other software developers. We thank them for their
projects and their desire to share their code. The following
contributions can be found in Website@School:
Yes! You can translate Website@School and help students, teachers
and parents in your country. It is easy to do with our specially
designed Translate Tool. If you have basic computer skills and
know your mother-tongue and another language, please use our
contact form on http://websiteatschool.eu.
- Frederico Caldeira Knabben and his
FCK- and CK editor. Frederico's site can be found at http://ckeditor.com/.
- Micky Faas, the Hague, the Netherlands (
Website@School logos), Pupils of grade 7 of the Barbaraschool
Amsterdam, the Netherlands (group pictures), Hans Vissers, VU
University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Botanical garden (cacao
tree picture), Greg Whitaker, Florida, USA (some icons), Lamco
School Buchanan in LIberia (group picutre) @Lamco: please
Website@School could never have seen the light of
day without the help of numerous organisations, schools and
individuals. - Stichting Internet Domeinnaamregistratie
Nederland (SIDN) (Foundation for Internet Domain Registration
in the Netherlands)
- Ger Versluis for his HV Menu which is used in the Rosalina
theme. We tried to get in touch with Ger to ask his kind
permission to use his code, but we received no reaction. @Ger:
please contact us.
- Europees Platform voor het Onderwijs (European Platform for
- Stichting KBA Nieuw West (Foundation Catholic Primary
- Openbare Basisschool Rosa Boekdrukker (Public Primary School
Rosa Boekdrukker, Amsterdam).
- Nederlandse Vereniging voor Blinden en Slechtzienden (Dutch
Association for Blind and Visually Impaired).
- Stichting Blinden-Penning, Foundation for activities for blind
and visually impaired.
- Stichting Mijn CO2Spoor (MyCO2Track Foundation).
- Volkshogeschool Eerbeek (Folk High School Eerbeek).
- Lemstra Techniek.
- Harm Hofstede.
- C. van Orlé.
- Steunpunt ICT.
- Openbare Montessori Basis School ZieZo.
- John F. Kennedyschool, Breda.
- M. Heeman.
- Foundation EDICT.
- Catholic Primary School 'De Hoeksteen', Bussum, The
- Stichting Blindenhulp. Foundation Help for the Blind
- Rotterdamse Stichting Blindenbelangen. Rotterdam Foundation
Interests of the Blind
- Landelijke Stichting voor Blinden en Slechtzienden, LSBS (Dutch
Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired.)
- Stichting tot Verbetering van het Lot der Blinden. (Foundation
for Improving the Lot of the Blind)
- Het Gewilde Westen, Amsterdam
- RoadVision Traffic, Wassenaar
- Many anonymous donors.
J.G.M. Meijer, Hans Wolters, Stefan Schurtz,
Rieks van Rooijen.
Carla Alma, Margret Kwantes, Paul Wiebes.
Detailed information on the features can be found
in the chapters that describe the various managers, the
available themes and -modules. Below a general description of
the Website@School features in no specific order.
- Open Standards, Open Source
Software under a General Public License. Freely available for
- Website@SChool complies with the
'Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications', also
known as the 'e-Privacy Directive' or the 'Cookie
- No cookies at all are placed on
computer of the visitor of a site or on other
- Focus on security, robustness and
stability. Please don't believe us, check it!
- Separation of program- and data
locations in the file system.
- Separation of markup- and
- Virus scanning on all incoming
materials (provided the server has a virus scanner). Clamscan
is automatically detected.
- Lists of permitted file-, image
file- and flash file extensions.
- Easy database backup.
- Extensive logging and status
reporting with cut & paste for error reporting via
- Well written, well documented,
- No frameworks
- Manageable with braille terminal
and/or screen reader.
- Manageable without a
- In sites management per user
available skins for visual impairments.
- No frames and almost no
And much, much more, please see the
chapters in the Table of Contents. Each chapter has it's
- Illustrated (over 500 screenshots)
comprehensive documentation targeted at the school users
ensures a flat learning curve.
- The User's Guide is a context
sensitive help function in the program.
- Mouseover texts. Short information
texts or pointers to keyboard shortcuts are almost
- Excellent developer documentation
created with phpDocumentor [*] from well documented, well
- Unlimited number of websites [**].
If needed every group or individual can have its own
- An Area or Section can hold an
unlimited number of identical modules, for example blogs,
- Several standard themes. Well
documented, easy adaptable with Bazaar Style Style.
- Easy creation of your own theme
which makes every lay-out possible.
- Sites can be split into new sites,
or merged. Sections and pages can be moved around to other
sites and sections. These features enable quick changes to any
new site structure or lay-out.
- Unlimited (!) number of password
- Unlimited depth in sections,
sub-sections, sub-sub-sections, et cetera.
- Sections and pages can be images,
thus permitting navigation and use for illiterate or young
- Easy installation (also for blind
users) with a well documented GUI (Graphical User Interface)
and additional Users' Guide documentation. No need to install
anything on a computer. Webiste@School is installed on a web
- Four editors: 1. CKEditor: WYSIWYG
editor, satisfies all 'Section 508' requirements and the 'WcAG
2.0 level A principles' for blind users. 2. FCKEditor: for
older browsers. 3. Plain HTML editor: to learn HTML. 4. CREW
(Collaborative Remote Educational Workshop): a collaborative
remote interactive real-time editor. Uses Websockets, HTML5 and
- Translate Tool: Easy translation
of the program to a new languages or adaption of text strings
by technically unexperienced translators.
- Demonstration data. Website@School
can be installed with demo data (demo sites, users and groups)
in every available language. Useful for experiments and
learning to manage Website@School. Easily
- Easy upgrading and maintenance
with the Update Manager.
- Proxy friendly URLs
(configurable), to save bandwidth. Interesting for schools
having no fast connection to the Internet.
- Full UTF-8, i.e. no problems with
diacritical marks as well as non-western
- Breadcrumb trails with some
intelligence (reduces mouse clicks).
- Fine grained Role Based Access
Control (RBAC). Each site, section or page can have its own
admin(s) with permissions from 'none' to
- BSS (Bazaar Style Style, our
educational implementation of CSS) permitting unlimited
differences in styles by user editable style sheets in sites,
sections and pages.
- Pages have meta-data and can be
visible, hidden, read-only, under embargo- and expiry dates and
can directly link to URL's.
- Alerts on 'everything' for
- Groups of users with different
group permissions (Unix style). This enables collaboration and
project based work.
[**] Yes, we know and agree with
Jacob Kaplan-Moss in chapter Viewpoints, paragraph Links we like the article Teach, Don't Tell, but... see for
[*] Websites on a Website@SChool CMS are called
We are now
(2016) developing the educational in 'modules'. Modules are
separate building blocks that perform special tasks.
Themes define the lay-out of a website. Themes resemble stencils
Skins define the lay-out of the management part of
Website@SChool. They are developed for webmasters with visual
Skins For an
overview of available skins, please see the , paragraph 5. Skins. Please help us by developing
more modules, themes and skins. For an overview of necessary
modules, please see latest updates on modules.
- Aggregator: aggregate pages and
snapshots. The aggregator collects pages and images an puts
them on one page.
- Althing (weblog): A weblog with
educational features like harvesing and reports.
- Confab (chat): A chat with educational
features like reports and braille interface.
- Plain HTML editor: No frills HTML
- Mailpage: send mail to departments or
individuals. No unreadable CAPTCHA's, developed for blind
- My Page:
login, logout and modify profile
- Newsletter: create and publish
newsletters, on-line or via e-mail
- Redirect: to create a page that
redirects to another site.
- Search: search the site for keywords
- Sitemaps: for all sites, one site or
links to other sites.
- Snapshots: picture albums with
thumbnails, manua- Mededelingenl viewing of images, full
screen slideshow for shows on TV sets.
- Workshop (CREW): Collaborative Remote
Educational Workshop. Remote real-time editing.
- Editors:WYSIWYG (What you see is what
you get ) editors: CKEditor and FCKEditor in different
- Arabic (ar): ready
- Bulgarian (bu): 0.90.6
- Chinese (zh):
- Danish (da): ready
- Dutch (nl): ready
- English (en): ready
- Finnish (su): ready
- French (fr): ready
- Frisian (fry): 0.90.6
- German (de): ready
- Greek (el): ready
- Hungarian (hu): ready
- Italian (it): 0.90.6
- Papiamento (pap):
- Persian (fa): ready
- Polish (pl): ready
- Portugese (pt): ready
- Romanian (ro): under construction,
- Russian (ru): ready
- Spanish (es): ready
- Swedish (sv): ready
- Turkish (tr): unfinished,
- Urdu (ur): 0.90.6.
- Vietnamese (vi):
- English (complete)
- Dutch (under construction)
- Spanish (under construction)
- French (under construction)
- Bulgarian (under construction)
- Russian (under construction)
Latest versions (nightly builds) can be found on http://wyxs.net/web/was/
Check our http://websiteatschool.eu site to see if
new languages are available that are not yet incorporated in
You can help schools in your country
by translating Website@School. The system provides an easy
Tanslate Tool for 'on the fly' translating the program. Any
teacher can do it.
- Please help other schools by
translating Website@School in your language. We have a special
Translate Tool that enables online translations. Creating a new
language version is a piece of cake.
- Help us with feature
- Help schools with developing and
coding for Website@School.
- Please donate to the project. Your
school can help to keep your school site sustainable. We
welcome financial support of the project. See Donate to Website@School
- E-mail us the URL of your site.
You can use the E-mail link at the bottom of the Home Welcome
page in Website@School Start Center.
- Wishes? Please mail
Main project site:
Further reading, if you like. A lot can be found
on the Internet.
Website@School, born in 2006, is the successor of Site@School,
born in 2002. The history can best be summarised in this cartoon
Site@School is no longer supported:
due to its rapid expansion it became unmanageable,
unmaintainable, insecure and by grown knowledge, it used low
standards in code quality. However, there was little need to
change it's basic requirements. In that way Site@School was an
excellent prototype. We only had to add long needed
educational features that were impossible to incorporate
in old Site@School.
: Courtesy Mr. Randall Munroe of xkcd.com who permits using his comics for this
use. Source: http://m.xkcd.com/844/.
Nuff said, back to work.
Author: Dirk Schouten <dirk (at) websiteatschool (dot) eu>
Last updated: 2015-02-16