Creating the Walled Garden: Setting Up Web 2.0 Apps on School District Servers

Original List Compiled by Miguel Guhlin


Note: Please feel free to contribute to this list!

Read the PHP only, no database version of this article

Quote to Ponder

  • We live in an era where people can publish at will. Relevance is and will increasingly be a function of digital accessibility. You want to be relevant? Give away your ideas. Want to become irrelevant? Create a walled garden that keeps out more people than it lets in. You'll be sure to limit your audience, and therefore reduce your relevance and potential impact on the world. Sharing ideas. It's what the Internet was founded for, and what it is still all about.

The following list is useful if you want to create a "walled garden" of safe Web 2.0 tools you can use within your school's intranet, or even Internet, but have complete control over. So, a quick review of the tools available for those who want to "lock" things down and eliminate social networking OUTSIDE of school environment during the school day:

Blogging Tools

Service Substitution: Blogmeister, Blogspot,, Learnerblogs


Service Substitution: Wikispaces, PBWorks
  • MediaWiki: Although I've looked at different wikis you can install on your own server, I keep coming back to MediaWiki for ease of use. It does not include GUI for editing.
  • TikiWiki: Powerful wiki with user admin rights, but lacks the "open-ness" (as far as I can tell) that MediaWiki enjoys. Nevertheless, it can be powerful.
  • DokuWiki: Simple wiki that uses flat files instead of a database, very efficient for smaller projects. Inludes a few templates, good documentation, easy to learn syntax.
  • WikkaWiki: "a flexible, standards-compliant and lightweight wiki engine written in PHP, which uses MySQL to store pages. Forked from WakkaWiki. Designed for speed, extensibility, and security."
  • See also WikiMatrix to compare various wiki engines.

Content Management Systems

Service Substitution: web page editors like Dreamweaver/Frontpage
Allow easy management, creation, and editing of web pages and sites by non-techie users.

Image Gallery with Tagging and RSS Publishing Enabled

Service Substitution: Flickr

Online Discussion Board

Service Substitution: Blackboard/WebCT

Frequently Asked Questions

Service Substitution: ???

Online Survey Tool

Service Substitution: SurveyMonkey

Online Radio

Calendar Management with RSS support

*Although PhotoCalendar isn't a Web 2.0 tool, I thought I'd link to it...lets you create those "kinko's like" calendars with photos using your web browser. Easy and output looked great.

Social Bookmarking Tools

Service Substitution:, Simpy, Blinklist

Social Networking

Service Substitution: Myspace, Xanga

Media Sharing

  • This has to be my favorite free audio/video hosting solution for educators.
  • Youtube: YouTube has quickly grown to be one of the most popular websites on the Internet. I personally use it for entertainment, although you can find a great deal of educational videos as well as create an account to upload your own videos for free. Students can research the site (may come across inappropriate content here and there) and even create projects with video and share them on the web.
  • Google Video: Similar to YouTube, Google Video allows users to search, upload, and share videos online for free. I’m a fan of YouTube, but Google comes on top when it comes to quality educational videos. Google Video even has an educational category providing hour long videos and caption/subtitled videos (new).
  • Flickr: Explore, upload, and share photos online. Includes commenting and neat note functionality where users can add blocks of notes on the photos themselves for others to see.
  • Eyespot**: Neat site where users can actually create video mixes online and share them with others. You can add up to 100 clips or photos to a movie as well as add transition effects and video effects. Reminds me of videos I had to create back in High School for Graphic Communications class. More on Eyespot.

Maintaining Email Lists

Service Substitution: YahooGroups, Gmail Groups
*Not sure about these...Bernie Dodge suggested them, but I'm open to suggestions.

Bulk Emailing Software

Service Substitution: None really, I just wanted this category for bulk emailing!

MySQL Backup Tools

Office tools