My Lesson Planner

My Lesson Planner

About This Project

My Lesson Planner is a complete and dynamic lesson planner that combines the comfort and feel of a traditional lesson plan book and the ease and convenience of the web to help you teach smarter in the standards-based classroom.

By far, this is the most all-encompassing website development I have ever undertaken. I personally spend approximately 600 hours a year designing, developing, maintaining and expanding upon the features and functionality offered by the website.

How I Did It

Now in it’s 3rd complete redesign since initially developed in 2006, the website is faster, has a more intuitive interface, and expanded features and functionality.

Since the focus of the website is user-interaction and providing a means for data-entry, I had to write quite a few back-end processes to make sure I capture relevant user information for debugging and bug reporting, such as user information, browser information, date/time of error events, etc.   I also had to create a very robust system of backups to ensure no data is lost in the event of a hardware failure.  Most of those tools were custom written to allow me to more fully integrate with my programming structure and methodologies.

Utilizing a WordPress back-end provided me with a solution to the most time-consuming piece of work required for the website – User Management – which consisted of two things.  Managing Subscriptions and Resetting Passwords.

Managing Subscriptions
Whenever a new District or School comes on the program, there is a need to import the list of user information which includes all sorts of information regarding the individual accounts, including:

  • Name
  • District/School
  • Email
  • User Role (Teacher, Principal, etc.)
  • Subscription Expiration Date

Also, as these Districts and Schools renew their subscriptions, I needed a mass-update type functionality to re-up their subscription each year as well.

Resetting Passwords
Users forget their passwords – a lot !  With WordPress, they can now do that on their own.  This is a h-u-g-e time saver.

WordPress Plugins

Two of the most notable plugins I used with this project include:

  • s2Member – This plugin controls the automatic sign-up and expiration of users via PayPal.
  • User Switching – This allows me to one-click logon as a user.  Great for seeing exactly what the user is seeing – especially if they are experiencing an issue.

jQuery Plugins

In addition to the WordPress Plugins, I also utilized quite a few jQuery plugins as well:

  • jQuery UI
  • DataTables
  • TinyMCE
  • jEditable
  • Gritter
  • tipTip
  • Autocomplete
  • jCrop
  • Guidely

Particular care has to be taken when loading plugins to iron out any conflicts with other plugins, timing and ordering of the plugins, dynamic loading, etc.