we have the best (and worst) of both worlds, SIMS for MIS and Bromcom for registration and behioural data. They both work well in isolation, but every now and again one will bugger the other one up...
Had exactly the same problem. Ours was caused by a feature in one of the setup menus - I'm at home now and can't remember exactly which one - that excludes students from tutor registration lists that have birthdays before or after defined dates. If the born after date is set too low then year 7's will be excluded.
We had many problems with Lesson Monitor when we first started doing electronic registration a few years ago. Since we switched to Lesson Register (within SIMS .net itself) it has worked fine.
Well, after a few teething issues, mainly with PC's not updating to August due to permissions (damn sure I ran simsperm on my images ), all seemed to go ok.
All the infrastructure improvements, planning and training seems to have worked; watched some of the most techno-phobic teachers register a whole class in no time at all.
We've got a very small minority who didn't do it right, or filled out wrong columns () but I would say on the first day at least 85% of teachers got it right!
We've got the odd issue to resolve, but generally nothing that stopped Electronic Registration working. We'll be introducing Behaviour Monitoring later on.
Another test on Monday during assemblies and we'll see how the Asus EEE-PC's cope with registeration over WiFi. Got 8 of these little blighters all setup and ready to go.
Hopefully towards the end of next week I can relax a little, take some time off myself and then starting thinking of the next phase of improvements next financial year.
Look in Tools - Setups - Attendance Setup - Module Setup - 3 Exclude from Attendance.
Either change the Exclude students with date of birth after date or simply uncheck it.
Hope this helps
Fraggle Pete, were your Sims issues resolved? I know what you're going through, it can be a real pain and the support offered is pretty poor
Also in one of your earlier posts you mentioned Mobile Sims on an i-paq. We are looking for a solution for PE teacher registering pupils on the football pitch. How do you find mobile Sims? Would you recommend it?
Your advice would be much appreciated
The EEE-PC's were used in Anger during the assembly this morning, and again all seemed to go ok.
As for Mobile Registration, I can only describe this as very very poor. The latest release is the first that offers proper 'off-line' mode and to be honest it shows.
One PE Period a day is done down at a local sports centre due to lack of facilities at the school, so off-line it necessary. For PE on the School grounds, I've managed to setup an AP that reaches into both changing rooms and the Gym so teachers are registering with their laptops while the kids are getting changed for the lesson. That is working well.
In an ideal world, one IPAQ per PE Teacher but hardware and licencing costs have made this quite prohibitive for us. We've set up and sort of 'cover' PE-Teacher within SIMS that the PE Staff to use to register each of there classes, but it's a pain in the arse. Let me go through the steps.....
First Steps only need to be done once, and should be good for a while. But if new pupils or staff get added to the system you need to run through this again....
1. Delete the 'Data' folder on the SD Card to clear the local database this will force the device into On-Line Mode
2. With a connection to your network (wireless), log onto Mobile SIMS on the device and you have a Mini-SIMS in your hand.
3. Need to work Off-Line to take registers away, so select Off-Line and then you have to 'Log-On' again to download the student and teacher database to the device. This can take around 5 minutes to download, expand and organise onto the IPAQ. You think the device has locked up at this stage!
The following steps have to be done every morning.....
4. Right, so device is pre-loaded with Students and Teachers. So, you now need to search through the list of teachers and add each teacher you want to do the register for.
5. Sync the database by entering your own username and password (again) in this case we're using our generic teacher account....
6. Wait several minutes while you think the device is locked up while it downloads the timetables onto the device. You're now ready to register.
7. Switch on device, log into Mobile SIMS with the generic teacher account.
8. Select Take register, then select the Teacher option to go to the select teacher screen.
9. Do a search (yes, you have to actually do a search!!! ) on the teachers surname you wish to register. Select this teacher and you'll get a list of their lessons.
10. Take register!!! Which is extremely clunky, slow and cumbersome!
11. Save register and then go through steps 8 to 11 again for each of the teachers group.
12. Ensure you have a connection to the network (WiFi or USB), log onto Mobile SIMS
13. Go to the Sync Screen and enter Username and Password (yes, you have to enter it again!!!!)
14. Select Sync and wait again thinking it's locked up while the registers are uploaded back to the 'temporary' SIMS database held on the server the PDA connects to.
15. All registers are then essentially wiped from the device and if you don't need to update the local held student and teacher database, go back to Step 4 to start all over again.....!!!
16. Wait up to two hours for the temporary database to upload to the proper SIMS database!!!!
If it was one device per PE teacher, then it would be a lot simplier and almost useable. It seems to have been engineered to be difficult if you want to use multiple users.
To be honest, it's a right pain in the arse!!!! And the head of PE was not too impressed when I tried to talk him through it.
And, I'm not impressed either. I can see it going back to paper registers or phoning through back to the school. The Bromcom system looks interesting and is based on Smart Phones using the GPRS network to send the register to Bromcom and then to the SIMS server. But, we'll see how it goes and visit it towards next financial year.
Somebody could make a lot of money by putting together a decent off-line system. Capita need to polish off their system as it is quite honestly very very poor. So, would I recommend it.... errr.... NO!
We use the registration feature within SIMS, not lesson monitor as far as I know. It works fine 99% of the time as far as I can see. I'm still nostalgic for paper registers though, I can remember doing the 'register run' as a student only a few years ago!
Have you used the Bromcom one before? Do you have to have Bromcom MIS or can it work with Sims? I've heard that the service is pretty good. Is it worth look into?
mrtechsystems (12th September 2008)
in the same boat here we have purchased it with some IPAQ 114 and Wireless kit thanks for the information sounds like Captia have got some work to do
Thanks to an Eagle eyed representative of Captia lurking on here, I've had some clarification on the pricing, and now it seems a little bit more reasonable.
For up to 10 devices, it's essentially a £200 one of cost per device for the licence and then £200 per year for all of these 10 devices for maintenance. Seems a little bit more reasonable. If we can find the money to purchase a few more extra devices and the licences then I know the PE staff will be a lot happier with one device each. Still, more work is required on the interface to make it more intuitive.
Got to remember as well that I've had to setup a completely seperate server just for SIMS Mobile. I know the latest version recommends installing on your SIMS server, but I felt uncomfortable with that so I manage to 're-furb' an old Dell PowerEdge 2600 with Server 2003 and running SQL Express and all seems to run ok. It wasn't a major task getting it up and running, just understanding what is going on and what is needed. This Server takes a local copy of certain tables from the mains SIMS database the PDA device uses which schedules itself to replicate every two hours (can be changed). Next financial year I'm hoping to look to Virtualize this and the KS3 QCA Testing Server onto one box as it's not exactly stretched.
Haven't actually seen the Bromcom solution, but have recieved info and prices some time ago and I'm intrigued. Bromcom are trying to contact me, but I'm too busy at the moment to deal with these and other sales reps contacting me. Christ, don't these Companies know this is the busiest time for us School Network Managers at the moment!!!!
Last edited by FragglePete; 13th September 2008 at 09:52 AM.
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