A little from, and about, Follett
Hello Edugeek community,
Follett, the maker of Aspen MIS and Learning Platform, is pleased to sponsor this forum. If you have not heard of Follett, here is an outline.
In the UK, Follett works closely with BT and Novatia Plc to offer a new breed of MIS and Learning Platform called Aspen. Aspen is listed on the DfE’s (GPS) IMLS Framework through Novatia. Aspen is one of only a few to make it on both the MIS and Learning Services lists. Actually, we understand that Aspen is the only offering on the lists that runs both MIS and Learning Services applications from a single database, whether for a single school, or for the largest LA or County, 100% Web-based.
With this being a technology (geek!) forum, you might be interested in what is under Aspen’s bonnet? Aspen is built on an MVC Web Framework (more about that coming soon) with an ‘n-tier’ structure: school/academy tier; LA tier; County tier (if required) - served by a single database. There are no LA Web ‘wrappers’ or database synchronisation issues with Aspen. Aspen is all about ‘views of data’, not the clunky ‘integration of modules’. So with Aspen, the days of data ‘suspensions’ and ‘suspension teams’ are over (cheer). Aspen is incredibly flexible. For schools and smaller LA’s, Aspen is available preconfigured, ready to go. We suspect, however, that some Edugeekers may like the option for more advanced users to work in the development environment of Aspen reports, workflows, procedures and third party import/export interfaces. If you or yours can write Java or SQL scripts, you can apply your own Aspen customisations, and they will not break with the next upgrade. Some members of the international Aspen user community compete each year to win the title of the most useful Aspen customisation! Of course, Follett can look after such customisations if you prefer.
Another ‘geek first’ of Aspen is that it provides the same user experience regardless of whether Aspen MIS runs with an Oracle, SQL or MySQL database. Aspen is also browser and user platform agnostic, and it thrives in virtual machine environments, hosted by the LA or Follett’s partners. Aspen includes friendly integration services (for all your non-Follett software) and all the tabs and field names throughout aspen are customisable by you, the customer, in a single text file, the data dictionary – and it supports multiple languages. In the end, the technology is all about meeting the needs of schools, with improved flexibility and service. Aspen runs bilingual schools in Shanghai, military schools in Germany and Japan, whole city school authorities in the US, and leading schools and academies in the UK. Aspen enjoys a 100% customer retention rate. Aspen ‘apps’ are now available and Aspen incorporates HTML5 and AJAX UI and works a treat on iPads. Aspen makes the old assumption, of separate MIS and Learning Platforms, so 2011. Why pay for two platforms when you can have it all and more in one?
Find out more at www.FollettInternational.com/UK
Follett is a unique international education business. The company is 136 years old, family owned, employing over 10,000 staff, serving over 30 million students and teachers in across 148 countries. Follett only does education, and does it well, with a focus on innovation. There are not many companies like that. Once known as one of the world’s largest education book distributors and library services providers, Follett started developing education software 27 years ago – one year before Microsoft. Follett developed the world’s first Web-based Library Management System, Destiny, which now serves over 77,000 school libraries worldwide. By the way, Destiny is also on the IMLS list through Novatia and integrates with Aspen. Then Follett’s developers built the world’s first Web-based school timetabling software back in the 90’s. Now, Follett is the first in the UK to remove the barrier between MIS and Learning Platform, enabling schools and LA’s to have it all in one, by design, rather than strapping two systems together, almost as an afterthought.
Follett is a huge provider of eBooks and education materials eCommerce. Naturally, the digital (and even print) content speaks to the software platforms. Follett is all about a holistic education service.
Aspen scales. Some of the smallest academies and largest authorities in the world are happy Aspen customers. For larger (OJEU) Local Authority and County opportunities, Follett works closely with BT. Watch this space for exciting developments.
Aspen delivers everything from timetabling to exams, attendance to returns, reporting, mark books, SEN and much more. Aspen is simply more powerful and flexible because it was designed on a more contemporary Web framework than others. Aspen includes a parent portal like no other on the market, as well as a dynamic, safe student portal. Aspen includes messaging facilities and fully user customisable interfaces, import/export management and data workflow tools giving each school what they really need. Aspen is designed to fit schools, not the other way around.
The optional Aspen Learning Platform includes curriculum management tools, homework assignment facilities, resource management, e-content searching tools and our Aspen ‘Pages’; a dynamic intranet-style environment within Aspen for displaying any content a school or teacher wishes, targeted to whatever audience within the school community it wishes (In fact, although Pages form a huge part of our Learning Platform, they are included as part of the standard MIS portion of Aspen). So not only is it a learning environment, but also an intranet and capable document management facility, all within the single product, and available 24/7 to your school members anywhere in the world.
As we become more embedded with this vibrant community we hope to hear more about your needs. We are equally excited to be exhibiting at the Edugeek conference in June and we look forward to seeing you there to show you Aspen.
We fully intend to be interactive, supportive and visible supporters here on Edugeek, keeping you informed of the latest, exciting developments with Aspen.
The Aspen Team