DrupalCon Portland 2013

Mejorando los colegios de Oregon mediante Drupal y otras herramientas de software libre

Lance Albertson, Rudy Grigar, Greg Lund-Chaix  · 


Extracto de la transcripción automática del vídeo realizada por YouTube.

so you notice there's four names on the here and there's only two people up here yeah the joys of being in operation so we had an operational issue so lance and Rudy are going to be off dealing with making sure the systems stay up rather than talking

to everybody but we've got other information then we know all the goodies so you probably won't even notice I just wanted to see didn't wanna confuse anybody on that Greg is at least three people I'm pretty sure to know Wow some people take

anything is well it's let's go ahead get started I don't want to keep you guys waiting on board good afternoon happy Thursday hope everybody had a good lunch my name is Greg lon chay um this is ken let over here hello i was up until recently part

of the open source lab team and I'm kind of the person who started this whole project and then handed off to can and the rest of the team lance and Rudy at the OSL so we're going to talk a bit about this project and tell you where we were where we

have we got started where we went and then kind of dive into the technology stack a little bit and then talk about where we're going or where they're going i should say i still think we have my project still I guess so before I really get started how

many folks here so I show of hands are involved in education in some way high road k12 right on I love it okay I my people are here this is good um second question is how many you are not from Oregon yeah oh good new people all right it's gonna be fun

um so just a quick outline um so at lance and Rudy are the two gentlemen that aren't here they're the operations team lance manages the open-source lab down at OS Oregon State University so he and I were the ones were kind of the leadership team of

the lab during my tenure there I handed everything off to him and he's doing a great job with it rudy is what is one of our system administrators down there ken heads up the software development side of the open-source lab so I just kind of give you a

scope on that and I was the program manager and founder of the virtual school district project that came in designed the initial system that these poor guys now I have to go clean up the mess that I made which we'll talk about later so actually before

I even get this far I just two guys give you all kind of some scope and scale here Oregon has roughly three million people in it we have 200 198 school districts about 1,200 schools in the state 550,000 students so we're not a big state heavily rural we

have you know very strong concentration of people here and put the Portland metro area and then lots and lots of very very small school districts so just can you give you an idea this is so it's an interesting mixture we have some large urban districts

and we have some very rural districts and so it's kind of an interesting challenge um so back in 2005 I keep stepping away from the mic I like to walk when I'm talking I wish I had a laugh so back in 2005 a study was done that made it up way its way

up into the legislature that ranked Oregon 46th in the nation for a technology adoption in the classroom now the study i think was flawed because they did things like they dinged the state for not having a central online virtual school when in fact they were

like nine of them around the state so you know I think the metrics were flawed but regardless these made it to the legislature and the legislature you know oh my god we can't have this happen and completely flipped out there we go so they did what legislators

like to do they pass the law um and you're welcome to look this up it's very simple it's actually really easy to read um basically just said the State Department of Education shall build a virtual learning online school infrastructure to improve

technology adoption in the classrooms interestingly enough that's all they did so this was very different this is kind of a surprise to us and that they didn't actually dictate to the department education how to do that they just said here's 2.2

million dollars for the next biennium go make some magic happen which I am eternally grateful for because this could have been a much very very different project if that had been the case so the department so this created the Oregon Virtual School District

now we were given that name by the legislature what's actually written into the law as I'll talk a little bit later 8 is neither a school nor a district but that's okay so turn vacation suddenly had this huge lump of money and you know the part

of education is primarily a regulatory and research agency you know they generate statistics they make sure you know statewide standards are up to date they manage testing systems things like that they don't do a lot of technology other than some data

warehousing you know and reporting and things like that so they're kind of scratching their heads a little bit gone okay we need to do this but we're not quite sure how unfortunately there was a visionary in the Department of Education a fellow named

Steve Nelson who unfortunately is a very uncommon name and good luck finding him but if you want to know why I know how to get ahold of him up happy didn't put you in touch was aware of the activities at the open-source lab he was aware of the strength

of open-source he had actually been working in state government and other groups dealing with open source stuff and realized wait a minute we need open source to do this and I think this is key because he came to the open source lab and said okay we have this

need can you guys help build it yay geeks to the rescue so he came to me he and I had had a previous relationship we knew each other we we'd work together in the past he said I need your help can you help me build this and I've been working with the

community colleges and the universities here in Oregon I'm working on some distance learning applications things like that and I said ooh this sounds like fun yeah let's build some fun stuff so let's get to a few definitions here first as I said

at the Oregon virtual school district as neither a school nor district doesn't employ any teachers doesn't grant any credit doesn't have any classrooms anywhere and they feeling the bricks and mortar sense and this is one thing I heard a lot when

I initially was getting started on the project now I was out talking to teachers and schools I go out there and I say hey I'm Greg I'm working with the Oregon Virtual School District I've got all this great stuff for you what do you need and they

said oh great another unfunded mandate and I'm like what do million dollars what you talking about so no actually it is it's a funded unmanned eight it's here one of the things that was actually included in law the law said you may not charge the

schools for the services provided by these systems okay open source great no problem we got at so it has actually funded it still is funded so this though it was originally funded in 2006 it's still being funded today I'm about six months out of date

on the current budget status of it but I believe it's been funded for the next biennium to guess it has okay thank you again and so we realized okay we're geeks throw technology at it's going to work right no no no no no we these are teachers were

dealing with these are human beings as you know talking about the keynote this morning you know these these messy humans you know they mess everything up we knew that we couldn't just throw a bunch of technology at it and make it work so we also engaged

with the local education service districts to say we need a training team we need a help desk we need support we need content you know we can't just throw a throw a website up there and expect them to just use it um that's out of date there should

be six school years but it's grown just a little bit we started out with it's just a few and it's kind of exponentially virally expanded and I can kind of I'll talk a little bit later about how that happened and some of the things that worked

and didn't work and actually I think then hundred eighty thousand users is about six months old too so I think it's quite a bit higher than that now probably over 200,000 now no no these are user accounts there's some squish in those numbers these

are both staff and students we didn't eliminate between staff and students there and also there's a it's kind of a sliding window because students you know may come in for a corridor and then not being there four quarters so that's the aggregate

number of users so Ella Bache XKCD sorry I have to use it in all my stalks whether you guys like it or not so feel free to throw things at me um we did a lot of thinking actually the sandwich shop right over here I'm turned around on my question rhetorician

just a block from here so a friend of mine and I sat down and we actually sketched down on a napkin what we wanted to build so you know I got its start you know 100 yards from here I've and we started thinking about okay who are these people who are we

going to be talking to and who do we knew who are the key stakeholders we need to get on board with this to make this thing a success so that we can really make a fundamental difference with what's happening in these classrooms out there in the world so

we knew we had to get the administrators on board I mean without the administrative support the teachers are going to be able to do anything because they're they're not going to you know we had to get the teachers out there and we know teachers are

incredibly busy people we know that if I don't hand a teacher a tool that they can use in the classroom tomorrow they're going to go oh how nice and walk away you know it needs to be something that is instantaneously usable and intuitive enough that

they don't have to spend a lot of time learning how to use it and then we acknowledge that okay district IT especially in school districts are perennially horribly underfunded and we knew that if we did anything that made more work for them they were going

to come after us with torches and pitchforks so we knew that these are kind of our key stakeholders and the last bit here is in education especially six seven years ago open source was not particularly well known at the k-12 level so you know they had this

kind of him if they even knew of it at all it was some you know long haired bearded hippy and their coding Lee in their basement wait oh yeah they're right it's fine really so we needed to have a little bit of Education about what is this kind of fuzzy

wonky a weird hippie open-source thing that we're dealing with so this is what we used I love this slide its alphabet soup only yummier so most of these tools are pretty standard stuff you know Drupal is a major component of it we built of the central

portal on Drupal that linked out to everything else Moodle everything was built on originally on Apache Mahara which is a variant of Moodle that does eportfolio work wordpress PHP Linux that funny little blob in the middle later is good Eddie which I'll

talk about in a little bit and jenkins so that's kind of the stack we built it started very simple with just moodle and drupal its kind of accreted other things as requests have come in for this that and the other thing so I'm going to dive into some

of the technology details here first of all how many folks here are kind of you know technical administrator or you know in the IT department type people okay great so I wasn't sure what the audience was going to be so I wanted to have some tech details

and we can I have plenty of time for questions and things like that so we can dive down into the guts of it if you want to know how the gory details of how this was all built so I'll start kind of at the high level and then if we if we need to dive down

i can i'll be very happy to do so so since of the open-source lab at osu we specialize in hosting that's what we do we host virtual machines and physical hardware for open source projects this is not too different so we did what we knew you know we

fired up a virtualization cluster using ganeti if I fired up a few blade servers started out I should we start out with two physical servers which frightening Lee enough are still in service and still grinding away they're happy I'm not going to touch

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