Once the software tools are determine (both in the public and private clouds), it is important to create a central location that collects those resources. The idea is to have a “one stop shop” place for students, staff, and parents.
For Oak Hills, that place is the portal.
Tips in Developing a Portal
A portal doesn’t need to be complicated. Its main purpose is collect web-based software applications. Some things to keep in mind:
- Push your most used applications to the main page. For Oak Hills, that meant gMail, Docs, Sites, and Calendar (as well as Moodle).
- Keep in mind aesthetics. A modern design helps.
- Also keep in mind that the portal will be accessed from smart phones and tablets. The design should look good on a tiny screen (or you can develop different designs based on different user agents).
- We use an embedded Twitter Widget to communicate technology related announcements. This allows us to post messages from any computer and/or phone without having to modify the website.
We have big dreams for the portal. Ideally we’d like it to be able to:
- Be customized based on the user. For example, a student would see applications based on their identification as a student.
- Have internally designed web applications running in our portal.
Needless to say, developing such a portal is complicated.