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MIS Systems Thread, Electronic Registration (a new one!) in Technical; Originally Posted by FragglePete Anyway, the original topic of discussion was Electronic Registration, and with some more investigating I'm impressed ...
  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by FragglePete View Post

    Anyway, the original topic of discussion was Electronic Registration, and with some more investigating I'm impressed with the SIMS Online Learning Gateway demonstration which really does what we need; Access to Electronic Registration via a web interface (ie. Sharepoint). We've still got to look at a mobile/off-line solution but this is looking promising.

    Let the debate continue..... ;-)

    Pete
    Pete,

    Sorry for the Off-Topic, I guess we all go off on one now and then

    Further information to the electronic registration and mobile access; this is an idea in my head that I plan to test:

    When we get the SIMS webparts, we can access registers from any Internet enabled device. To save money buying the PDA module and PDAs etc, I am going to use the new EEEPC (I think someone has discussed previous). This then allows for cheap access as the devices are only about 169 each!!!

    Also Sims do not have a PDA option out for Assesment marking, so the webparts would allow a mobile option straight off!!! At no additional cost, apart from the $$$$ webparts!

    I understand Capita are looking into solutions for offline use, worth keeping in touch with them!

    Cheers

    Ben

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by benIT View Post
    Pete,

    Sorry for the Off-Topic, I guess we all go off on one now and then

    Further information to the electronic registration and mobile access; this is an idea in my head that I plan to test:

    When we get the SIMS webparts, we can access registers from any Internet enabled device. To save money buying the PDA module and PDAs etc, I am going to use the new EEEPC (I think someone has discussed previous). This then allows for cheap access as the devices are only about 169 each!!!

    Also Sims do not have a PDA option out for Assesment marking, so the webparts would allow a mobile option straight off!!! At no additional cost, apart from the $$$$ webparts!

    I understand Capita are looking into solutions for offline use, worth keeping in touch with them!

    Cheers

    Ben
    Thanks for the info. All useful stuff atm. Just been told that they want this up and running by July now for 'staff training'!!! Teach me to show my Line Manger that demo; she went off and showed it to other SMT members and now they're getting all excited!!!

    Pete

  3. #33

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    Pete: I've come from a MoD background were they still keep in place seperate networks depending on the security level.

    Anyway, the original topic of discussion was Electronic Registration, and with some more investigating I'm impressed with the SIMS Online Learning Gateway demonstration which really does what we need; Access to Electronic Registration via a web interface (ie. Sharepoint). We've still got to look at a mobile/off-line solution but this is looking promising.

    Just been told that they want this up and running by July now for 'staff training'!!! Teach me to show my Line Manger that demo; she went off and showed it to other SMT members and now they're getting all excited!!!
    Hmmm MOD background... interesting! You have a greta deal input you can provide on data security approaches. Of course schools data security requirements /standards do not need to meet military level.That is why DCSF Data Protection annual returns refer only to BS7799.

    Electronic Registration: Indeed- this is the 'killer application' that unless you chose the right product
    (A) You will be forced to go 'flat network'
    (B) You will need to open SQL port on Admin Server to Curriculum Network and in case of web parts also you will need to open 'port 80'. Hence raisiing the very core issues discussed here ie Data Protection Act, BS7799 etc.. Enough is said on this - you just have to make up your own mind.

    On practicality - running by July?? Under a different thread (Web parts), you will find that SIMS Web parts run very slowly like a dog and Capita has taken it back to drawing board. You need to ask for reference site of schools using Web parts to take attendance. I never heard this before.

    I read that you are new education/schools software and have MOD background. In schools SMT typically gets carried away with flashy demos and they get excited and read so much into it and then they will lexpect you to deliver it!!! I would be very careful with flash demos and would demand to see it in real school situation with an SMT member before your school commits to anything.

    Again read also under different thread use of PDAs for Registration - many are very frustrated. Ask for references. You can't go wrong - because seeing is beleiving.

  4. #34

    localzuk's Avatar
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    We gave up on electronic registration for the following reasons:

    1. No offline registration option that suited us at the moment. This means that we'd have had to install a wireless network, or PDA's would have to be set up to synchronise with desktops.
    2. Fire alarm preparation - if the fire alarm goes off, we want access to registers instantly. Using the electronic method meant still having to print off registers after registration.

    So simply put, full electronic registration is not suitable yet.

    It took us roughly half a year to test out, and then was implemented via standard laptops with the attendance module in SIMS.net for a term before being scrapped.

    We do have access to learning gateway (webparts) but it is a) poorly designed and b) slow. So it gets very little use.

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    Localzuk: "It took us roughly half a year to test out, and then was implemented via standard laptops with the attendance module in SIMS.net for a term before being scrapped.

    We do have access to learning gateway (webparts) but it is a) poorly designed and b) slow. So it gets very little use".
    This is the good about this forum - you get plenty volunteers to share their experience. Many thanks.

    This matches the impressions I had and in fact is worse than what I heard. Then not surprising - VLE has been the biggest white elephant experience and very expensive!) for so many school - but that is a different subject.

    Localzuk: " We gave up on electronic registration for the following reasons:

    1. No offline registration option that suited us at the moment. This means that we'd have had to install a wireless network, or PDA's would have to be set up to synchronise with desktops.
    2. Fire alarm preparation - if the fire alarm goes off, we want access to registers instantly. Using the electronic method meant still having to print off registers after registration.

    So simply put, full electronic registration is not suitable yet."
    Surprise to hear this.

    Perhaps in turn you can get help from this forum - pls check John Condon's entries. He is also one that is against 'flat networks'.

    From his past decriptions his company Bromcom seems to have answers to both of your concerns. (1) PDAs working wirelessly with server (not desktops) and (2) And proper firedrill facility.

    Let us know your views.

  6. #36

    localzuk's Avatar
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    We won't use Bromcom I'm afriad, too many bad stories from other schools in the area. And my manager refuses to use it.

    We don't have a wireless network - and we aren't going to get one anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    Hmmm MOD background... interesting! You have a greta deal input you can provide on data security approaches. Of course schools data security requirements /standards do not need to meet military level.That is why DCSF Data Protection annual returns refer only to BS7799.
    .
    I could tell ya, but I'll have to kill you! Sorry, no seriously security was taken extremely seriously. Except those idiots who loose laptops, which I'm a bit perplexed by as we had clear direction that all mobile devices had to have some sort of encryption product installed. Our site used Flagstone which was a hardware encryption product which rendered the hard drive data useless if password was entered incorrectly more than three times.

    As for networks, well, all MoD networks are seperated depending on classification, but generally the 'less secure' were all hooked to the Internet centrally by an Internet Gateway Service run by various agencies. If it was internet connected in anyway, it had to go through this service, no ifs, no buts.

    Part of the reason for me leaving is I had no freedom to do what I wanted to do. We couldn't just add a 'server' for a particular task without months of waiting and costing and then just being told 'No!' by EDS. Stuff that! ;-)


    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    On practicality - running by July?? Under a different thread (Web parts), you will find that SIMS Web parts run very slowly like a dog and Capita has taken it back to drawing board. You need to ask for reference site of schools using Web parts to take attendance. I never heard this before.

    I read that you are new education/schools software and have MOD background. In schools SMT typically gets carried away with flashy demos and they get excited and read so much into it and then they will lexpect you to deliver it!!! I would be very careful with flash demos and would demand to see it in real school situation with an SMT member before your school commits to anything.
    It wasn't a 'flash' demo, but an actual live demo running from Capta's website which was essentially just a Sharepoint Server connected to a demo SIMS database. I find the Capita website slow anyway, but generally the guts of what we needed seem to run ok. I'm still investigating.

    Yeah, I laughed when they mentioned July.

    Pete
    Last edited by FragglePete; 17th February 2008 at 07:33 PM.

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    benIT - You said "We recently has a goverment audit team in school for a week solid, looking at the finest detail of school operations - finance, Disaster recovery plan etc, they were very thorough (we heard same stories from other schools in the area). My question is why would such a audit not reveal the single network being a problem? "

    Would this audit be an OFSTED inspection or something like the Financial Managaement Standard in Schools (FMSIS) audit which would be looking at compliance with DCSF accounting standards? If it is then no surprise that they would not look at the single network problem.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    From his past decriptions his company Bromcom seems to have answers to both of your concerns. (1) PDAs working wirelessly with server (not desktops) and (2) And proper firedrill facility.
    Absolutely correct.
    The system is ground up designed to utilise wireless technology and has the facility for offline Firedrill which does not rely on a current connection to what could be a burning network. In fact the whole spectrum of associated registration tasks (Markbooks, Behaviour monitoring, off site registration) can function with little or no live connection to the network. Heck, the newer products can take your classes register while your in Florida if you are feeling so inlcined (and have taken your tutor group on a field trip to the Universal Studios)
    The PDA's can be set up to run via a dedicated Radio network or Industry standard Wireless networking.

    @Localzuk - Sorry to hear you've heard less than stellar news. I'd love to get the chance to defend our side but this thread is not the place (theres been enough offtopic derailing already )

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    NoMad,

    I can not recall, but will dig around, think it was relating to finance, but the main chunk of that was relating to keep data safe. I think we have established the main pos / neg for split /merge.

    Quote Originally Posted by FragglePete View Post
    It wasn't a 'flash' demo, but an actual live demo running from Capta's website which was essentially just a Sharepoint Server connected to a demo SIMS database. I find the Capita website slow anyway, but generally the guts of what we needed seem to run ok. I'm still investigating.

    Yeah, I laughed when they mentioned July.

    Pete
    I think we all know Capita is far from perfect!! I would also be keen to see how fast the webparts are for a self hosted solution, Like you all say the capita demo site was very slow. We did some of our own SQL lookups on SIMS data (for testing whats possible) this loads in seconds!! Eg Room/Pupil/Staff Timetable loaded in about 2 seconds!

    That said if capita can not match this speed this will be a real issue, I hope it wont come to this, only time will tell.

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    We have used Bromcom for about 5 years with no problems. I especailly like their Winfolder system which allows teachers to do the register using their laptop or PC on the school network system - no wireless system required. You can also add the students behaviour and access messages for the teacher or the student, as well as viewing historical information. When needed their helpdesk support is much better than capita can provide.

  12. Thanks to asherman from:

    JohnCondon (19th February 2008)

  13. #42
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    Thanks you for the compliment, I'll pass it on to the Northern Support team.
    I thought I'd add a little bit of new information to the discussion.. This is an excerpt from a circular distributed from BECTA on the 18th, from Dr Stephen Lucey, Becta Executive Director, Strategic Technologies.

    "Recent high-level security breaches concerning loss of personal and sensitive information have highlighted the need to update information security guidance.

    Suppliers particularly management information systems, technical support, connectivity and learning platform providers have an important role to play in helping schools to meet their responsibilities for data security. This may be simply to reassure school leaders that appropriate security mechanisms are already in place and make sure that they know how to use them to greatest effect. They may also ask you to review their security mechanisms and policies, and recommend or implement any necessary improvements. "

    So it looks like the debate on adapting 'flat networks',Admin-curriculum seperation, opening servers SQL port or 'port 80' to curriculum network etc. and the risks (or lack thereof) has definitely spilled beyond Edugeek

    (As if anyone had any doubts that it hadn't )

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    PARS 'quote'

    Quote Originally Posted by asmith View Post
    Dear Users
    I have worked in a school that uses lesson monitor and am currently working in a school that uses PARS. We use PARS for both attendance and all our behaviour logging. To be honest i find PARS alot more flexable and easier to use. Upgrades take seconds, installs take seconds and the staff find it so easy compared to SIMS modules. I very rarely have to train staff even new staff for more than ten mins before they have picked it up.
    I found that lesson monitor to very very rigid and when problems occur they seem to be quite complex to repair.

    Hope this helps by all means you can come and see our system.
    Unable to answer the thread however this may help as its a quote from one of our schools.

    Thanks

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    I know pars are working on a web based version of pars, which might be of interest to you, called pars connect.

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    PARS Connect

    Following on from Quackers.. PARS connect has now been released following a couple of months of testing by a few of our schools. Initially it enables teachers to log on remotely for attendance, behaviour and grading. The option for parents to log on and see their individual students data will be available shortly in line with the 2010 requirements.

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