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MIS Systems Thread, Been asked to setup electronic registers (finally!) in Technical; Hi, been asked by our head to look into electronic registration in readyness for a new timetable for April. Currently ...
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    Been asked to setup electronic registers (finally!)

    Hi, been asked by our head to look into electronic registration in readyness for a new timetable for April.

    Currently we still use the old paper ones

    Only our office staff use Sims.
    There's no timetable set up on SIMS, do we need that?
    Is there anything else that must be in place for the registration to work?

    I understand Sims Learning Gateway allows online registration?
    Would this be a better step than installing Sims to each class room?
    Which do teachers prefer - SLG or a local Sims install to there classroom workstation or their own laptop?

    Any pitfalls to watch out for?

    Oh, and how much extra work does this involve for the office staff?

    I'm sure if this is successful we will start to look at behaviour reports, timetables, cover etc too - wow, we'll be nearly 21st Century

    Thanks guys and gals

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    ricki's Avatar
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    HI

    I am not 100% but I think you need to do the registers in pars.

    Richard

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Yes, you need the timetable in SIMS. I would be carefull using SLG for lesson registration, we ditched SLG because it was pretty bug ridden for entering data by staff, the data kept not saving. They did promise to fix this in the Autumn update but we'd lost all confidence in it by then. Personally I'd go with SIMS on their laptops, either a local install or set it up as a remote app via terminal services.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    There's no timetable set up on SIMS, do we need that?
    Yes you will, sims needs this info to create registers.

    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    Is there anything else that must be in place for the registration to work?
    You'll need lesson monitor, which is an additional licence from capita.

    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    I understand Sims Learning Gateway allows online registration?
    Would this be a better step than installing Sims to each class room?
    Yep, SLG allows the completion of registers, but it isn't as quick or easy as sims.net. We only use it for off site registers.

    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    Which do teachers prefer - SLG or a local Sims install to there classroom workstation or their own laptop?

    Any pitfalls to watch out for?
    Teachers here prefer sims.net by far. Just have a think about the use of sims on a laptop if the laptop goes home. Although the client shouldn't leave any data on the laptop, sims reports generally save to the c: drive if staff have permission to use it. A staff member could leave the building with a big csv file of all your student data without knowing about it.

    Some staff will not like the change and will struggle with the process of doing the registers online. Remind them that they are legally obliged to do timely registers, but help them along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by klop View Post
    Oh, and how much extra work does this involve for the office staff?
    Well you need to set up a time table first... then it should ease the work load in theory.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Great news. w00t

    You don't need timetable, which is a separate bolt-on just for session registers (i.e. legal am/pm). It should pull the data from the pastoral structure and be defined by default.
    You only need Lesson Monitor if you want to take class registers for lessons that are included in your timetable.
    As you are just starting out, i wouldn't go down the SLG route, and pushing out SIMS to clients could be overkill. It might be worth looking at alternatives that allow you access to SIMS data via web interface. Something like PARS from TASC software.
    Bromcom have TeachersWebFolder for similar.

    Eventually, as your usage grows, you can consider what options are better. You could even go for something like Groupcall's Emerge (see the sticky thread on this forum), which gives your registers on an iDevice and now on Android too. Plus you can see the basic student / teacher info.

    EDIT: Once you have the basics in place and they are comfortable doing session registration, you can look at class registration. The timetable can be added in April, as a separate thing, but don't overload the staff from the off, as they'll resist the change and you want them to like SIMS from the get-go.

    Good luck with it all.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 23rd January 2012 at 08:47 AM. Reason: addition

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    Oh blimey - they're not going to like the sound of that!

    SLG seems a little bit of a waste of time for us to be honest then?

    Maybe I should start a new thread but I really want us to start usinfg SIMS and/or alternatives.

    Would be nice if staff could access timetables, reports etc from home - beginning to think SLG isn't the answer though?

    We have no VLE at the moment, nor do I think we'll have one this year. Maybe next - I shall continue to push for it.

    Many staff here, including the office are negative re any change, especially where it involves IT.

    I'd just like those that would like to use it to have the opportunity to be able to - without being held back / put off by those that do not.

    In an ideal world we'd like to use SIMS for timetables, behaviour, reports, cover, calendars registration etc - with this being accessible from home or within school.

    If we were to purchase the SLG it will always be the Capita hosted option - there's not a chance we can afford to host ourselves and to be honest, I'd not know where to start and have enough on my plate as it is!

    Think I'll start looking into pushing SIMS to client machines and laptops - SOLUS3? not looked into that properly yet?
    Although we only have around 20 classrooms to install it to, and maybe 50 or so staff laptops.

    Thanks for all info so far

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    Great news. w00t

    You don't need timetable, which is a separate bolt-on just for session registers (i.e. legal am/pm). It should pull the data from the pastoral structure and be defined by default.
    You only need Lesson Monitor if you want to take class registers for lessons that are included in your timetable.
    As you are just starting out, i wouldn't go down the SLG route, and pushing out SIMS to clients could be overkill. It might be worth looking at alternatives that allow you access to SIMS data via web interface. Something like PARS from TASC software.
    Bromcom have TeachersWebFolder for similar.

    Eventually, as your usage grows, you can consider what options are better. You could even go for something like Groupcall's Emerge (see the sticky thread on this forum), which gives your registers on an iDevice and now on Android too. Plus you can see the basic student / teacher info.

    EDIT: Once you have the basics in place and they are comfortable doing session registration, you can look at class registration. The timetable can be added in April, as a separate thing, but don't overload the staff from the off, as they'll resist the change and you want them to like SIMS from the get-go.

    Good luck with it all.
    Hi, sorry didn't read this before my last waffle!

    That makes a lot of sense.
    I'll try to get to meet with the head today and find out what her thougts are - and what she expects from April on.

    Would PARS and alternates allow access to most, if not all of SIMS?

    Sorry - i've had very little use of Sims to be honest - we've a Sims Data Manager - think she needs to be a tad more involved!!

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Defo get the Data Manager involved. With such little usage of the current MIS system, and a smallish school, it's worth considering your alternatives before purchasing lots of extra modules, as each bolt-on comes with a licence fee, plus annual maintenance! Other MISes are predominantly web-based.
    SLG will be overkill for you, but does integrate easily.
    I've not used PARS, but does give you access to the important parts and gives you a much nicer interface to do it through.
    I wouldn't look at SOLUS 3 - Solus 2 support will be there for a while, don't strain yourself by having to cope with the bugs. So long as the client users have sufficient permissions they can upgrade themselves fine on first run, via SOLUS 2 system. Or you can script it overnight. Windows 7 needs slightly more permission / tweaking.
    I think the important question is what you want in the future, if you want a VLE, what do you want, what are you considering, and can your MIS support that. Some play nicer with eachother than others.
    If you can hold, out a bit, there'll be some interesting info coming from a variety of MIS suppliers in the near future.
    I can't see if you mentioned it somewhere, but how big is the school, primary, secondary ..? Primaries can cope without the timetabling module and just manage their curriculum straight in SIMS.
    I'd suggest, looking at what you can do with the current system as it is, and then take the time to think about other options and future direction.

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    SteveB's Avatar
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    This thread makes interesting reading for me. We support over 250 schools in the use of SIMS and virtually all of these schools who use SIMS in the classroom have selected the SIMS client to be installed on the teachers laptop. I am curious as to the benefits (cost/ease) of selecting these third party alternives over a SIMS client installation. Webfolder and PARS I am aware of, but until this thread, i would not have thought to offer this as a possible solution to SIMS in the classroom over the client installation. We have 3 or 4 schools that solely use SLG too . . . . . i know!

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    Suffolk we tent to find schools have split admin\curr networks - so it's not always physically possible without designing the whole network. Also hardware is not always up to standard - so a web client will have lower system requirements compared to the c2d\2gb that SIMS requires.

    Lucky, I think the full SIMS client would do the job in this case.

  11. Thanks to matt40k from:

    SteveB (24th January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveB View Post
    This thread makes interesting reading for me. We support over 250 schools in the use of SIMS and virtually all of these schools who use SIMS in the classroom have selected the SIMS client to be installed on the teachers laptop. I am curious as to the benefits (cost/ease) of selecting these third party alternives over a SIMS client installation. Webfolder and PARS I am aware of, but until this thread, i would not have thought to offer this as a possible solution to SIMS in the classroom over the client installation. We have 3 or 4 schools that solely use SLG too . . . . . i know!
    We were led to believe the SLG was considerably more user friendly and easier to manage than installing sims to all classrooms.

    Added to that our hardware is very old and our IWB desktops are used by pupils as a regular PC in many class rooms frequently and so have been plaqued by flash games etc. Also many of our registrations are taken by HLTA's - who have not been given laptops.

    We thought it would be simpler - going to start installing sims to clients next week though

  13. Thanks to klop from:

    SteveB (24th January 2012)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    @SteveB the SIMS client gives you access to everything, most staff really only want to record attendance, maybe put in grades / reports, and look up student info / timetables occasionally or find a parent phone number. The full client really is overkill, if you can get that data via a different and quicker web interface.

    The costs work out quite a bit compared to the cheap/free option of letting the techs have a headache of pushing out and updating SIMS, but the interface i think is key, especially for new uses of SIMs. The not so pretty front UI can really put staff off.

  15. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    SteveB (24th January 2012)

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    The_Windy_Miller's Avatar
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    SIMS in the classroom

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Suffolk we tent to find schools have split admin\curr networks - so it's not always physically possible without designing the whole network. Also hardware is not always up to standard - so a web client will have lower system requirements compared to the c2d\2gb that SIMS requires.

    Lucky, I think the full SIMS client would do the job in this case.
    Where schools have separate admin\curriculum networks, we install a 'dummy' sims share on the curriculum side containing only the connect.ini and a copy of the setups folder, which is copied over from the admin network following an upgrade, so that all the curric workstations upgrade as necessary. Certainly where the school's data is centrally hosted this works extremely well. Where the data is hosted in-school, as long as the curric machines can ping the admin server, it should be possible to use this model. Of course, if the networks are so separate that the sims server cannot be seen then there is a problem!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Suffolk we tent to find schools have split admin\curr networks - so it's not always physically possible without designing the whole network. Also hardware is not always up to standard - so a web client will have lower system requirements compared to the c2d\2gb that SIMS requires.

    Lucky, I think the full SIMS client would do the job in this case.
    Hi Matt,

    Yes I'm pleased to say sometime back we switched from curric / admin being seperate.

    In fact it was our school that convinced Keith many moons back when installing our last Sims server (must look to renewing that now it's finally going to be used!) that it need not be a DC, that it was fine as a member server.
    He was insistant that the admin staff home folders remained on it though

    Our problems are age of hardware, its use and that we've plans to reinstall all over the coming months but not before registration has been asked for.

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    I think that schools do not see the cost involved when not using sims in the classroom. Primary schools are very conservative when dealing with IT and data with certain staff making decisions that they are really not in a position to make.Schools can save hundreds of pounds in paper, many hours of valuable SLT time and engage parents so much easier by adapting electronically - the teachers themselves spend hours collecting data that is already on the system. By keeping staff at arms length from the data, office staff are implying that teachers are not professional and are incapable of maintaining a simple database. But how many of the teachers have bank accounts, have mortgages and shop on line. Keep trying to crack this intrangience, it is well recorded that when teachers have a shared ownership of data, the pupils' level of achievement increases, parental involvement increases and the school itself raises standards.

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