Monday, February 23, 2009

Student Management System - A Better Way?

What we have now at second level

Circa 800 schools running 800 servers. Each school does its September and October returns and sends them in to the department on thousands of discs and associated sheets of papers for processing.

If schools want to provide remote web access to teachers so they can fill in reports or to parents so they can check their child's progress then the school has to pay considerable annual fees to run add-on modules to do this. These web access modules only work properly with Internet Explorer so it is a pretty much Windows only solution.

What we could be doing

A few high spec. servers in a centrally managed location. Teachers, students, parents, admin staff, department officials etc. can log on from any computer with Internet access and get sufficient access rights to do what they need to do. Everything written to open standards so any web browser on any operating system works fine. There would be an annual running cost but it would be considerably lower than what schools are currently paying. The service would be professionally managed and therefore more reliable. Schools wouldn't have to invest time and energy keeping their own systems running. No discs back and forth to the department as they can dip in and get whatever information they need whenever they need it. Each school would still be responsible for inputting data and keeping things up to date but all the technical stuff would be handled by professionals.

The student management part of this is just the first step. Other modules could be developed/integrated to handle an LMS/VLE system. Modules to send SMS messages to parents cheaply. Timetable modules, resource booking/management modules etc. In short everything necessary to help manage and run a school.

I haven't mentioned Primary level schools here as I'm not familiar with their needs. Do Primary schools have a need for a computer based management system or do they have one already?

If such a professionally managed student management system was available tomorrow would your school be interested?