CODE Portal is an ambitious project for UK Primary Schools and potentially Secondary Schools much later in the future. The core idea behind CODE Portal is something much like Open-Source, that is what makes it a great idea. There many free online solutions for teaching coding, but CODE Portal will be owned by Schools and will grow at the hand of School communities. Teachers and pupils will influence the development of CODE Portal, making it their own.

Prototype Phase

KaijuThemes on ThemeForestI’ve done days of research, I’m doing the blogging to share my fantastic idea, and now it’s time for a prototype. My first task was to decide how the portal will look. I discovered the Avenxo theme on ThemeForest.net and I’m convinced the theme suits our needs.

Avenxo is built ground up to be the most developer friendly theme in the marketplace. With multiple color schemes and layouts, Avenxo is clean, nimble and flexible. This flexibility comes with easy to use and clean code that can be picked up by anyone with minimal experience in Bootstrap, as we build upon the code base used by millions.

Avenxo uses a recent technology called AngularJS which allows for the development of highly interactive, fluid, and responsive (mobile/tablet) pages. This is exactly what a School needs. Add the “easy to use and clean code that can be picked up by anyone with minimum experience” and also the themes wide range of ready to use examples. Now we basically have a ‘hit the ground running’ solution that can grow quickly, with minimum development cost.

Low-Cost Prototype

We can get the prototype started for as little as $24.00 (I will not be paying this, the community must engage in crowdfunding) and I’ll put around 100 hours unpaid development into this. The prototype will be the foundation of the real thing, not just a rough example. It just won’t have as much content as the real thing and a lot of my time will be spent trying different layouts for different views. I’ll also spend a lot of time exploring ways to make the theme adapt to different users i.e. staff, pupils, advanced pupils, and those with specific support needs.

Avenxo Regular License

High-Cost Project License

Suddenly the costs of the project have increased greatly because I strongly feel we need the technology Avenxo offers. Originally I planned to create CODE Portal using a standard HTML portal layout with additional JavaScript added along the way, it would cost nothing. That approach is outdated though and if we’re to use the portal to teach we should build it using the latest techniques. The ThemeForest.com extended license for the Avenxo theme, which allows distribution to every School, is $1200!

Avenxo Extended License

In many ways, $1200 (£929.28) is not a lot of money and if you have some knowledge of I.T. projects you’ll know that already. If a crowd-funding attempt draws in enough Schools and parents then the contribution by any individual will be small. The risk for stakeholders is minimal.

Crowdfunding

The first selling point for a crowdfunding campaign will be that this project (with this theme) offers UK Primary Schools a massive opportunity to create an excellent teaching resource, they control. If a company was hired to create this solution from scratch, the costs would no-doubt spiral, including individual licenses per School, It would also be very restricted and future development would require paying thousands per year. With enough professional offers to develop the CODE Portal for free, we don’t need to pay out large amounts of money.

I want people, even pupils, to explore the code that powers CODE Portal. How we offer that safely is another discussion. What matters is my decision to deliver all or nothing and get these perks that wouldn’t exist in a project that needs to create profit for a company.

I still have plenty to prove and I have a few blog posts lined up to explain more about the project. But the cost of taking the next step is still low (Regular License $24).