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Blue Skies Thread, MIS systems - is there room? in General; Doubt it as they can't keep up with imposed changes by the goverment that MIS systems have to follow. Russ...
  1. #16

    russdev's Avatar
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    Doubt it as they can't keep up with imposed changes by the goverment that MIS systems have to follow.

    Russ

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    freemis claim two schools in uk are using it, IIRC the developer is based in scotland. Schooltool is built upon the zope framework and is being used internationally, but I don't think in the uk. Schooltool is funded by the shuttleworth foundation.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Schooltool is built upon the zope framework

    zope means nothing to me * shows ignorance I know *

    However, as a tiny private school with little money, paper based MIS, and no legal requirement to stick to government guidelines, maybe we should be investigating. The HT is keen to get us into the 21st century!

  4. #19

    russdev's Avatar
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    It sounds just right for you.

    Russ

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    russdev's Avatar
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    @elsiegee

    Suggest get in touch with Miles Berry (his network manager is member here wave when you see the thread). As he can give you some great ideas and is always willing to talk to people.

    Joys of not having government targets I wish...

    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    zope means nothing to me * shows ignorance I know *

    However, as a tiny private school with little money, paper based MIS, and no legal requirement to stick to government guidelines, maybe we should be investigating. The HT is keen to get us into the 21st century!
    Zope is an application server built upon python, it's used to create applications, the idea being that development is simplified and other modules can be easily integrated - its also web based to cut desktop and deployment costs.

    It might be cheaper to employ someone to write the XML's by hand for the cost of sims!

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    Just to add another one into the mix is PASS which we get through WCBS. I know a lot of the indepdent schools are taking this on and most of the methodist group schools are running it. We haven't taken it fully onboard with the academic side but the day to day admin is very straight forward and reliable.

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    Blue Sky Stuff?

    Interesting thread... However, whilst the school MIS may currently be considered a niche market, how do others think that this holds as we move into true integrated and largely interoperable teaching and learning environments? My point is that the MIS will increasingly be considered to be 'at the heart of learning'. Learning Platforms with VLEs, Cashless Catering, Library systems, etc., etc., will all be largely driven by the information maintained and updated in the school MIS. Who wants to maintain user information in all of these different places? And where such systems as VLEs 'catch' information about performance - useful to the MIS - who wants to be manually exporting and / or re-keying this information back into the MIS? Free School Meal data is another example of information that is useful to Cashless Catering systems and held in the MIS. The horizontal (within a single school / establishment) combinations are vast and that's without introducing (vertical) Identity Management, the 14-19 agenda, collaboration, parental access, DCSF needs, etc., etc... The school MIS is no longer the preserve of the school office. And major or minor, the suppliers will have to radically rethink their approach to interoperability i.e. Systems (Schools) Interoperability Framework (SIF) in order to stay competitive in the market.

    Interested in your thoughts

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    EdWhittaker's Avatar
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    Of course there is room for another MIS. If there isn't, my company is wasting an awful lot of time and money! But what do we mean by an MIS? It's true that Capita et al are bundling all sorts of features like attendance, parent portal, pupil tracking etc, etc. But these are not core MIS functions. The key function of the MIS is to store the data in a systematic and efficient way and to make that data available quickly and reliably to ANY APPLICATION connected to it. The problem at the moment is that major suppliers suppress innovation and competition in this plug-in market by charging high licence fees. Things are made more even difficult for the small provider by having to keep up with continual changes and updates to the software, some of which, it is suspected, are for no other reason than to make things difficult for the small provider. There are other examples of anti-competitive practices - witness the battle between Bromcom and Capita for example. Bromcom are big enough to look after themselves but smaller companies might just decide it aint worth it. What the big companies are after is complete domination of the market, a one-size-fits-all complete package that does everything a school needs ... badly! Schools vary so much in size and character that it's unlikely that this solution would be flexible enough to accommodate each schools needs.

    So what's needed is an open access MIS - no licence fees and guaranteed interoperability. This will allow innovation and competition between school software providers who can produce the bespoke solutions that many schools require. There are enough small companies out there, each providing one small piece of the jigsaw which when put together will provide all the functions a school needs. All it needs is a common, open access database at the centre.

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    EdWhittaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    Doubt it as they can't keep up with imposed changes by the goverment that MIS systems have to follow.

    Russ
    The only reason this is expensive is that current MIS systems are so bloated and flakey that it takes an army of developers to implement the simplest change. Should not be such a problem with an agile, well designed system.

  11. #26
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    We are a sixth form college and have opted into a custom MIS system in conjunction with 3 other colleges. The core of the system is a SQL DB; from this we have integration with active directory, Moodle, Bromcom and ProMonitor. The system is entirely maintained and developed by the group and so far has been successful and has been a fraction of the cost of a bought in system. This however does not take into the man hours the system requires. I cannot comment on the other colleges in the group but i would say 70 to 80% of my time is taken up with this. I am an IT technician and to compensate for the increased workload we have taken on an apprentice (NVQ scheme) to deal with some of the more routine aspects of the work us IT techs do allowing me to devote the time to the MIS.

    It would be interesting to see if there are any other schools/colleges in a similar boat.

  12. #27

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    At my last school we had a bespoke MIS developed by the Network Manager, and while it was very good, it did take up a considerable amount of his time. When School Census time came around he would literally work on nothing else for a couple of days to integrate all the changes that had been made to CTF since the the last one. I understand that a big problem for him was that the CTF format validation tool provided often did not correctly validate according to the published spec.

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    MISanthropy

    Hi Guys,

    I am back in College-world and using MIS stuff in anger once again.

    I had forgotten the difference between being a vendor, tech-supporter and user of said systems.

    Ours is just as proprietary and just as crap as all the others on this thread.

    The good thing is that although lock-in is complete it is simultaneously inconceivable that the same system will be in place in ten years time...why is that?

    expensive, restrictive, of limited utility = yesterdays indulgence

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    zope would suit..but it's unfair to ask folk in your position to find out why..what we need is a mega rich philanthropist to market the correct free solution (maybe in Xfactor breaks) to small schools..oh gosh..they are not formimg a cue..better sign up with Capita then

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    Dear all,
    I have a book Management Information Systems 9e by Laudon, Laudon. I try to do the Problem of Application Software, but I'm not understand. I want to ask all that do you have any solution of this book?
    Thanks.

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