music tracks. This opened up discussion between some students and staff that had never existed before.
I later discovered excellent services such as the award-winning Radio Waves http://www.radiowaves.co.uk. This premium service allows your school to easily record and upload an mp3 audio file to a website and then access the file through a flash-based page-embedded player. The only issue with this site was that I had to pay for it!
Autumn came and the leaves started to turn once more and I took up post at a new school. I decided I needed to produce a low-budget internet-based radio station to raise both staff and student awareness of what you could achieve using ICT but also to act as a vehicle for communication between the school and students, parents and governors.
I have been researching for some time open source-based software products that allow you to create VLE and content-driven sites. It was during one of these research periods that I started to find out more about podcasting and cheaper alternatives to the premium services offered by some companies.
I run a Linux-based web server from home which is useful to me and acts as a development platform. This server has a database (MYSQL) and also a scripting language interpreter (PHP) fully installed. This sounds technical but in fact can be very easily achieved. I use a range of LINUX-based distribution packages and some come already bundled with both MySQL and PHP. I currently use SME server http://smeserver.sourceforge.net/HomePage.
Once you have a fully-working web server with MySQL and PHP installed you can use a host of free open source goodies. This type of server configuration is called LAMP ( Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). You can run a LAMP system on a windows based machine too: there is a range of systems available, but a good choice would be Xampp12.
I also use some premium web space which has MySQL and PHP facilities. Shop around but I use Bluehost13 services for around £50/$75 per year.
Whichever way you intend to run it, a LAMP system will allow you to run all sorts of open source scripts such as Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment), Joomla (Content Management System) WordPress (Blog) PHPbb(forum discussion board).
“A blog is website that contains written material, links or photos being posted all the time, usually by one individual, on a personal basis. The term is a shortened form of weblog, although the latter term has since fallen into disuse.”
http://www.Wikipedia.org [accessed November 2005]
Ok you can take a deep breath now the technical bit is over, but it really is not that difficult. A computer administrator or support staff could have this up and running in hours rather than days.