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MIS Systems Thread, Keep Kids Safe in Technical; Hi Folks ... I deliberately didn't mention any names because I honestly don't know what system they were using. It's ...
  1. #16

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    Hi Folks ... I deliberately didn't mention any names because I honestly don't know what system they were using.

    It's a bit of a pet subject for me in as much as we need the intelligent application of IT in schools rather than technology for its own sake.

    Some of these systems are quite complicated with lots of functionality and much of it is aimed at saving time on the part of administrators or school managers.

    IMHO this often amounts to technology for its own sake and systems which require human intervention in places are seen as 'deficient or backward' when actually they are more 'thought through' in terms of real world use and consequences.

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    Trialing Keep Kids Safe? Beware.

    Just a word of warning to anyone looking at Keep Kids Safe. If you trial their product and do not tell them you wish to cancel they AUTOMATICALLY SIGN YOU UP FOR A THREE YEAR CONTRACT.

    For me this is just the type of company you do not want to be doing business with; underhand practice from the off!

  3. #18
    Oops_my_bad's Avatar
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    If it requires manual intervention (ie, a member of admin staff having to take on additional roles (and we all know how snobbery public sector workers are when it comes to this)), then doesnt this sort of defeat the whole object of it!?

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oops_my_bad View Post
    If it requires manual intervention (ie, a member of admin staff having to take on additional roles (and we all know how snobbery public sector workers are when it comes to this)), then doesnt this sort of defeat the whole object of it!?
    It doesn't take long. All the information is pulled in and it's just a case of clicking a few buttons.

  5. #20
    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Writer View Post
    Just a word of warning to anyone looking at Keep Kids Safe. If you trial their product and do not tell them you wish to cancel they AUTOMATICALLY SIGN YOU UP FOR A THREE YEAR CONTRACT.

    For me this is just the type of company you do not want to be doing business with; underhand practice from the off!
    I know people don't like to hear from first time posters in this way. But this is entirely true.

    A member of staff here signed up for the trial, and it wasn't until I had a telephone call from a rival company, I checked the small print. You are meant to cancel within the three months trial, possibly by registered post (we got a number of conflicting answers by the telephone staff).

    I did like the KKS web front end (although we had a little trouble with the program on our sims server), and our attendance officer loved it. We are now working along side our LEA's ISP on a new system based on the Janet text messaging service. Which we can tailor better to our needs.

    I have to echo Mr Writers post, and tell you it was these questionable tactics which meant we stopped our trial immediately.

  6. #21

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    I was asked recently to look at several applications which offer such functionality. Ease of use most important, costs involved and how it keeps data up-to-date. Some are live and some run a batch file every evening. If you want to know which one I chose, drop me a PM.

    Interestingly none (as far as I am aware) of the applications on the market work directly with Sims, or whichever MIS system you have, but typically make requests directly to the SQL database.

    Eventually I can see MIS, miscellaneous solutions (as discussed here) and learning platforms all becoming one, but no one yet has done it. I think the Government's demands are a little too optimistic and either the idea will be abandoned completely or dates changed. No consideration has gone into training and implementation and secondly, licensing the product. If it operates on MS SQL, you'd need a CAL for every user, be it a pupil, staff or parent. You are talking thousands and thousands of pounds many schools do not have. A SQL CAL (to give you an idea) is about 19 education price, so multiply that by say 400 pupils alone it's a lot.

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    Michael - I have to agree & disagree.

    In the commercial world (which is normally way ahead of the education sector) .... no one company provides a solution that 'does it all'!

    IMHO there is no way that anyone will provide MIS/VLE/Finance/COMMS successfully in one package. There are many examples of 'jack of all trades' type products which end up being inferior than other specialist products.

    As the latest Becta advice states clearly ... "It is unlikely that schools will find everything they need from one product or supplier".

    However, I agree totally that Gov't targets are unrealistic and are likely to be extended or even scrapped once/if the Tories get in.
    Last edited by marshharrier; 28th May 2009 at 09:17 AM.

  8. #23

    Michael's Avatar
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    I agree that for a while, multiple solutions working together is the only way, but longterm I think something more all-in-one will be required. The development costs would be huge and with something like 30,000 UK education establishments there's a huge market out there for such a product.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    longterm I think something more all-in-one will be required. The development costs would be huge and with something like 30,000 UK education establishments there's a huge market
    But if 22,000 of them are using the same base product, that's a hell of a lot of inertia! The existence of a statutory schema for data transfer files (CTF/CBDS) means that all MIS systems need to have a certain amount of interoperability in terms of file transfer formats for import and export; I think that some kind of common interface specification between software could be the way forward - then schools would be able to buy a solution like TruancyCall or GroupCall and know that it will integrate with whatever MIS they're using (SIMS, Serco, whatever).

    It would also make purchasing guidelines and requirements for MIS software in general a bit clearer. There are some "suggested" requirements for MIS software already, and there is some mention of interoperability: not just file transfer, but raising the issue of live access between systems.

    Personally, I'm a believer in separate software packages than can communicate using clearly-defined protocols. It's a situation that promotes choice, but also improvement since users aren't stuck with a single market-standard product. Look at the massive number of email clients, mail servers, database utilities that are backend-independent, etc.

    There seem to be quite a few products on the market that interface with SIMS, and I hate to think that buying your core MIS system from one company would mean that all your add-on products would have to be from the same supplier. When you tie all the functions into one system, you tie your users into that system for life in most cases.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Some Texting Software products interface better with SIMS than others do. It is not a coincidence that Schoolcomms is on the SIMS Homepage!

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    Interestingly none (as far as I am aware) of the applications on the market work directly with Sims, or whichever MIS system you have, but typically make requests directly to the SQL database.
    How do you mean? KKS I know creates several reports in SIMS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    How do you mean? KKS I know creates several reports in SIMS.
    Thats right. KKS uses a third party reporting SIMs username.

  13. #28
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    being done here

    iPhone keeps eye on students | Stuff.co.nz

    good old apple

  14. #29

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    How do you mean? KKS I know creates several reports in SIMS.
    It's good to know at least one product does As I say, most do talk directly to the SQL database. Maybe the development costs are lower, or maybe because you'd need to pay a license to Capita to create custom reports (who knows?)
    I'd be inclined to say there are more certified SQL database engineers/programmers rather than certified Capita partners.

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    Every single group that exits in SIMS can be used in Schoolcomms - Years, Classes, UDGs, Exam Cohorts etc etc. Response texts re. Absence are written directly back to SIMS Attendance with the Attendance Office just having to supply the Absence Code. The body of the text can even be written directly into the Comment on the Session/Class Register. How much more interactive do you want?

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