some questions

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Brian Ellsmore

unread,
Apr 7, 2008, 6:48:45 PM4/7/08
to SF-UK-MIAS
Dear Ian, Simon, Steve, Tom, Chris, Stuart

Please don't take this amiss but may I ask some questions?

Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
in a state school. But I don't actually know!


Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution? A traditional
application can generate web-pages easily enough for *viewing* only, for
the 'public', or else use php or whatever for generating those pages.
My teachers need vast amounts of functionality and instant responses
which I give them via C++.


Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
Same for class teachers.


Apologies for ignorance,

Brian

Simon Elliott

unread,
Apr 7, 2008, 7:02:54 PM4/7/08
to sf-uk...@googlegroups.com
On 7 Apr 2008, at 07/04/2008,23:48, Brian Ellsmore wrote:

Dear Ian, Simon, Steve, Tom, Chris, Stuart

Please don't take this amiss but may I ask some questions?

Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
in a state school. But I don't actually know!

I am in an independent school but was the SIMS Support Officer for an LEA and in charge of pupil data in a state school before that.  The independent and international school market is easier because we are free to purchase services from whomever we please.


Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution? A traditional
application can generate web-pages easily enough for *viewing* only, for
the 'public',  or else use php or whatever for generating those pages.
My teachers need vast amounts of functionality and instant responses
which I give them via C++.

As a Machead, I want a service that works on Macs and, as a proponent of open source, I would want to see it work on Linux as well.  But why stop there?  eeePC mini laptops, iPhones, etc. all have browsers and could be valuable tools in accessing data.  I wrote in Filemaker and it works but it is limited in some ways (even with its built in web sharing) and a browser-based solution seems to me to be a more unified solution.


Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
Same for class teachers.

I wish!!!

Both when I worked in the maintained sector and now as a tutor, I have to enter the codes for absence, after trying to coax letters from parents explaining why their little darling was not in school.  We simply don't have the office support to do that job for us.

Simon



Apologies for ignorance,

Brian





For free Mac software, teaching resources and training opportunities, visit:


If this message was sent to you regarding the business of The Bolitho School, you should be aware that this email and any attachments may contain confidential material and is solely for the use of the intended recipient(s).  If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete this email.  If you are not the intended recipient(s), you must not use, retain or disclose any information contained in this email.

Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender and do not necessarily represent those of the Bolitho School. Unless expressly stated in the text, this email is not intended to form a binding contract.  The Bolitho School does not guarantee that this email or any attachments are free from viruses or 100% secure although due care has been taken to minimise any potential risk.

The Bolitho School: Company Registration No: 3088645
Charity Registration No: 1048545
Registered Office: Polwithen Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4JR



Tom Hoffman

unread,
Apr 7, 2008, 9:28:59 PM4/7/08
to sf-uk...@googlegroups.com
On Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 6:48 PM, Brian Ellsmore
<br...@arabella.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Dear Ian, Simon, Steve, Tom, Chris, Stuart
>
> Please don't take this amiss but may I ask some questions?
>
> Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
> that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
> in a state school. But I don't actually know!

I'm actually a lurker from the US. I manage the SchoolTool project.
I used to work in public schools in the US.

> Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution? A traditional
> application can generate web-pages easily enough for *viewing* only, for
> the 'public', or else use php or whatever for generating those pages.
> My teachers need vast amounts of functionality and instant responses
> which I give them via C++.

Maintaining cross platform clients is a massive pain. Using C++ would
raise development costs compared to a scripting language. Either way
performance should be "good enough," particularly with judicious use
of AJAX.

> Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
> with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
> Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
> the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
> Same for class teachers.

We're going to release a fairly simple attendance client and build up
complexity from there. We tried designing a complex, flexible,
all-singing all-dancing attendance system from scratch and ended up
with a Zune.

--Tom

Chris Puttick

unread,
Apr 8, 2008, 1:53:29 AM4/8/08
to sf-uk...@googlegroups.com
On 07/04/2008, Brian Ellsmore <br...@arabella.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Dear Ian, Simon, Steve, Tom, Chris, Stuart
>
> Please don't take this amiss but may I ask some questions?
>
> Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
> that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
> in a state school. But I don't actually know!

I currently don't work in schools at all! I worked for ~4 years with
state schools and a CLC in Manchester as an IT manager, then 2 years
as a consultant in an ICT solutions provider, specialised in education
solutions, where I worked with education at all levels and in both
public and private sectors.

>
> Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution? A traditional
> application can generate web-pages easily enough for *viewing* only, for
> the 'public', or else use php or whatever for generating those pages.
> My teachers need vast amounts of functionality and instant responses
> which I give them via C++.

Lots of reasons, Cross-platform support is a pretty key one.
Deployment costs. Ease of updates. Ease of support. Reality of the
majority of staff not needing huge amounts of functionality (web-based
solutions lend themselves beautifully to limiting/enhancing interfaces
based on login user and group). Ease of customisation by school.
Ability to scale up and scale out.

If you want vast amounts of functionality and instant responses,
that's not a problem. Tune the database and use a well-configued web
server for the latter and AJAX-type interface for the latter. If you
think that webapps can't provide vast amounts of functionality, fire
up Firefox 3 and go to http://www.zimbra.com/products/hosted_demo.php.

>
> Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
> with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
> Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
> the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
> Same for class teachers.

I think that must be a school practice thing. Way back when we said
much the same thing, but many staff were insistent that they should
have access to the codes (not mandatory) because sometimes they were
in possession of the information regarding the absence cause and said
cause was of a sensitive nature that was not to shared with the school
office.

Cheers

Chris

--
My employers website: http://thehumanjourney.net - opinions in this
email are however very much my own and may not reflect that of my
current employer, past employers, associates, friends, family, pets etc..

Documents attached to this email may be in ISO 26300 format:
http://iso26300.info

Steve Lee

unread,
Apr 8, 2008, 3:10:53 AM4/8/08
to sf-uk...@googlegroups.com
On 07/04/2008, Brian Ellsmore <br...@arabella.demon.co.uk> wrote:

I used to work in an FE college, now free lance concentrating on accessiblity

> Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution?

X-platform, ease of deployment, speed of turn around and familiarity
of web to non technical users. A intranet can easily become an WAN
extranet for home use, franchise partners etc. Ease of integration
with other systems like register scanning, Finance, Library, ID card
systems etc etc.

> Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
> with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
> Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
> the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
> Same for class teachers.

Are 3 codes a problem - Present, Un authorised absence, auth abs?
Pre-load is good idea but need ways to amend.

--
Steve Lee
--
Open Source Assistive Technology Software
web: fullmeasure.co.uk
blog: eduspaces.net/stevelee/weblog

Ian Tasker

unread,
Apr 8, 2008, 4:52:59 AM4/8/08
to Schoolforge-UK MIAS
Hi Brian,

On 7 Apr, 23:48, Brian Ellsmore <br...@arabella.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> Dear Ian, Simon, Steve, Tom, Chris, Stuart
>
> Please don't take this amiss but may I ask some questions?
>
> Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
> that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
> in a state school. But I don't actually know!

I'm a SIMS Guru is a state state school, i've worked with SIMS.net the
best part of 7 years and been a Capita accredited Support Team Member.
The school has recently moved from CMIS to SIMS.

> Why are you all so keen on a web-based solution? A traditional
> application can generate web-pages easily enough for *viewing* only, for
> the 'public', or else use php or whatever for generating those pages.
> My teachers need vast amounts of functionality and instant responses
> which I give them via C++.

A true cross platform MIS for schools will hopefully aid the uptake,
LEA would allow a new MIS in to a schools if it wasn't proven. Our
school was the one of two to move from SIMS to CMIS, this was due to
the superiority of CMIS at the time, but once the company was taken
over but Serco development slowed and the biggest issue was the report
generation which sucked, thats why the head moved back to SIMS.

One of the main aims of the project is to lower the TCO of having a
MIS, as currently is a school that uses SIMS they are locked into the
microsoft upgrade cycle spending 1000's on OS licence/Cals/office
updates the list goes on.

> Why let tutors (or whatever you call the Register taker) muck around
> with attendance codes? For them the student is either present or not.
> Let someone else worry about why. That way they don't have to learn all
> the silly codes and you can preload registers with known 'absences'.
> Same for class teachers.

In a large school a teacher only need to register whose here, and the
office sorts out why anyone wasn't here. But in a primary school the
teacher deals with absences ie when a student brings a note in.

There needs to be a SLA type flow regarding absence, where is the
child is absence is gives school time to process a message left by the
parents, if no message left the absence is escalated to school
contacts the parents, if no contact is made the absence is escalted to
a letter send home requiring an explanation, if not responce then
absence is marked a unauthorised. This will remove some of the manual
process in chassing up old absences.

> Apologies for ignorance,
>
> Brian

Stuart Johnson

unread,
Apr 10, 2008, 11:24:58 AM4/10/08
to sf-uk...@googlegroups.com

On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 23:48 +0100, Brian Ellsmore wrote:
> Are you all working in Independent Schools? If you are then I suspect
> that your programming requirements may be considerably different to mine
> in a state school. But I don't actually know!

Brian, don't make more out of this divide than tradition. I started out
teaching in the UK state sector and then moved abroad working in english
independents. With regard to what they want from an effective IMS they
are very nearly the same. The majority of staff have worked in both
sectors, they have the same expectations. The biggest independents are
equally demanding as the biggest state schools, and do work very hard to
position themselves at the forefront of adopting new methods and
technology. Where it differs is in the transfer of data out of the IMS,
the independents have more invested in home-school communications while
state schools have more demanding central-school and school-school
communications.

stuart

--
S T Johnson
s...@laex.org
http://www.laex.org/stuart/

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages