While web development is a complex subject to learn, let alone teach, it is not as exaggeratedly difficult as it has been made to be. As a teacher, if you have access to good educational resources and a little bit of passion for the craft, there is little that can hold you back from learning the fundamentals and effectively teaching others.
Just like many other learned talents, web development requires practice. For this purpose, beginners entering the realm of web development will often use the tools easiest to obtain – a quick free download and installation on your PC and you’re good to go, right? For example, installing WAMP on your own computer is a feasible option for programming for practice. You get to run PHP, you get MySQL and you get Apache. Unfortunately, that’s where the simplicity ends. It is quite easy to become confused with the extensive number of configurations possible; which PHP version do you need to use, do you want Apache 2.2 or 2.4, etc.
Below are a few more reasons why using WAMP locally may not be the right fit for your class:
- In theory WAMP is straightforward to install, but your school’s IT department may rightly question the impact on the school’s network and the security holes it opens. There are security flaws discovered all the time in outdated web software, and running WAMP on your PC opens you up to potentially serious security risks. It goes without saying, in many cases installing WAMP on school PC’s is not allowed.
- Even if you do convince your school’s IT department to have WAMP installed on your student’s computers, only your students will be able to run the websites they create. This is because their files likely reside on their computer directly, and even if their files are stored on a network drive, you may be forced into copying them over onto your computer’s WAMP web directory just to run them. Not to mention what happens when the student changes something in their code, you’ll have to go grab their files again to make sure you have everything.
- Furthering the point above, if you teach MySQL it will quickly become obvious that grabbing the student’s MySQL database is challenging, if not impossible due to the way MySQL database are stored.
- Do you have time to help students debug their WAMP installation while also trying to teach your class? Perhaps some files aren’t saving or Apache keeps crashing, or the student is unable to access their network drive due to an unexpected system outage. How will your class go on with the lesson that day?
There is a solution, however, which remedies all of these pitfall. No, it isn’t WAMP or some specific configuration that somehow mitigates all of these problems. Instead of using WAMP, consider the benefits of using EduBolt in your classroom. With EduBolt, your students work on a real web server, running in the Cloud, specifically Microsoft Azure. EduBolt takes it a step further, beyond just hosting files, and provides a means to manage your entire class – including your units, lessons, assignments and students. With our services running securely over HTTPS, your IT department doesn’t have to worry about WAMP installations posing logistic challenge or security holes. There is nothing extra to install on your student’s PCs.
If you teach MySQL, you may be surprised to hear that with EduBolt, you are able to view all of your student’s databases quickly and effortlessly. The same goes for your student’s files – you can navigate through your classes, locate specific assignments and open up and run any specific student’s files whenever you want. Let your students learn web development on a real web server, give EduBolt a shot today and see just how easy it is to streamline your curriculum and classroom.
Photo by San José Public Library