With the proliferation of 1-to-1 device adoptions and the expansion of high-speed wireless networks on school campuses, online instructional and learning resources are more beneficial – and essential – than ever. As barriers to access continue to crumble, the value of high-quality digital content for classrooms becomes increasingly apparent – as does the need to vet, organize, and distribute this content to devices in a pedagogically thoughtful way.
Many school districts and educational institutions throughout San Luis Obispo County are addressing these needs, in part, through the use of the ETC Portal (www.etcportal.org). As an aggregator of licensed and free educational resources, the ETC Portal provides 24/7 access to cross-curricular K-12 digital content for students, teachers, and parents. The resources have been evaluated and selected by teachers, librarians, and school administrators from across the county, and include research databases, instructional multimedia collections, e-books, and online courseware.
In early March, the latest version of the ETC Portal was made available to users. Released in parallel with the legacy version, access to the beta release allows users to explore the new interface and features – and provide feedback on development – prior to the official launch this summer. Rebuilt from the ground up, the new ETC Portal is designed around a WordPress framework with custom-developed integration points for each county school district’s user information system. This enhancement enables resources to be targeted to individuals based on their academic roles, grade levels, subject areas, and institutions, and for users’ academic body of work to follow them throughout their K-12 careers.
From an end-user perspective, this update permits them to log in to the ETC Portal automatically using the same Google G Suite login they already use to access email and documents in their schools, further reducing barriers that might otherwise inhibit their access to educational resources. Over the coming months, additional features will be added to the new ETC Portal, including a Discovery Search interface that will allow users to access search results from multiple licensed and free resources via a single keyword search, with results filterable by grade level, subject area, reading level, publisher, and content type.
Educational Technology Center (ETC) Coordinator
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education (SLOCOE)