A colleague asked about school intranets the other day. Here is my response.
What purpose does your intranet serve?
The insideCatlin web site provides tools and resources for those members of the Catlin Gabel community who come to school every day, students, teachers, staff, and parents.
What are you using your intranet for?
Course web sites, committee web sites, department web sites, publishing student work to the Catlin Gabel community, sharing photos from school events and trips, online discussions, parent-faculty association meeting recordings, library catalog, volunteer signups, carpool map, surveys, senior project reports, blogs, podcasts, wikis, videos, audio recordings, community service hours, bookstore point-of-sale, IT loaner tracking, online signups for special academic programs, teacher notes on students, curriculum map editing tool, teacher access to student schedules and information, school archives.
What format are you currently using? (ie. Drupal, Sharepoint)
Moodle, Drupal, Menalto Gallery, Follett Destiny, and custom Perl/PHP scripts. Most use a common graphic interface to provide visual consistency when moving from one tool to the next. They also share the same authentication databases (LDAP + mySQL), and two of the three have single sign-on. We provide database support in mySQL, and some scripts read data from Education Edge, our students information system.
How could we use the intranet to help the teachers/ staff/ students?
That’s a pretty big question. An intranet enables community members to continue to interact in rich ways when face-to-face interactions are not possible. So list the types of interactions or transactions you wish to amplify, and then consider whether they would work within an online interface. If yes, then build it, see how it flies, and then promote it heavily.