Wednesday, January 2, 2008


If you read my previous blog entry about privacy and embedding stuff onto a secure website, you understand my dilema.  Whatever the host, they have to be able to embed an object (for instance a video), on a webpage without it being available to the public. does this for slide shows.  I stumbled onto this site when I was looking for a way just to put a slideshow (PowerPoint in this case) into our staff website.   All the advice I could get from colleagues was the same - you have to convert each slide to a .jpg (digital picture) and then put it into a movie (using something like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker).  Then I could put it on YouTube

 Although it was for staff only, there was a concern that putting this slideshow on a off site website host (like YouTube) with staff member's names on it would enable people to find out information about our staff on the host site.  

Turns out, you can put slideshows on the 'net and embed them.  SlideShare will put their own little slideshow app,  just like YouTube does.  They also have the ability to embed a "private" slideshow.  Now it is safe on both ends (slideshow host site and password-protected staff website).  This means you could also create slides with pictures of students, save it as a private slideshow on, and then embed it into a secure website (like our SharePoint site).  Brilliant!


Shane Stevens said...

Although in a previous post you spoke about using SharePoint, I would like to share with you the way I tackled this problem.

My website is not on our school server, mainly due to a lack of proper settings and backend coding possibilities, so I am able to use many different types of solutions. I used to code my site in its entirety, but moved to using WordPress as a blogging and general content management system.

WordPress allows you to create private posts, and with the right plugins (podpress) also allows you to embed various media. Thus, only those registered users can see the post with the video, podcast, or audio embedded.

As part of WordPress there is a very user-friendly upload option, which is completely customizable as far as size limits, which permits the author to upload the media and embed that media all while typing the post itself.

Thus, if your school's private server has the ability to use php and mySQL, you could very easily solve this problem and have more control over the content of the sites being created. WordPress has a community version which would allow your students to have their own blog, but I am not familiar with the installation or usage of this code.

James Gill said...

I like the way you tackled your problem. I am not very familiar with WordPress, so I will give it a look. If I understand you correctly, I am able to embed my media into the page, without having it streamed from a third party. Is the audio/video/media then located on the school server?. Furthermore, if I understand you correctly, the WordPress website is a secure website like the SharePoint sites we use.

I don't have control over our school server, and I have been given very little control over workstations at my school. This is part of our contract agreement between teachers and ICT staff at the district level. I am not allowed to install software on the server, or to login to the server for that matter.

Thus, when we were given SharePoint, we were given a pretty good tool that didn't have too steep a learning curve. We get support from the district, and they are encouraging us to try it out, and find ways to use it in the class. I don't know what php is or mySQL, but I will look into this also. Thank you for your comments, and I hope you will continue to send me your ideas.

Shane Stevens said...

To answer your questions, yes the media would be located on the school's server, and the WordPress site itself would not be secure per se. It is possible to have it only accessible from your district's intranet if you so chose, but what I was referring to was making the post that had the media embedded itself secure. Thus, the person would have to have proper permissions to see it.

Also, technically speaking the person who does have control over the server could put the WordPress site up. It is not a program, merely a webpage using the php form of coding. Once the site was up, anyone the administrator wishes could login to the site, not the server, and post news, etc.

WordPress is a Content Management System, so the control the administrator has is almost endless. Through my experiences it is very secure, and would be even more so if it were only accessible within the buildings themselves and not the internet as a whole.