Building better school software

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Eros, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Eros

    Eros New Member

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    Jun 16, 2011

    Hi all. I'm brand new to these forums. I should start out by saying that I'm not a teacher. I'm a software engineer (so please excuse all of my grammar mistakes).

    I have a dream to build a better school information system (targeting k-12). I know I have all the talent to build something great, but I'm a developer - not a businessman. I was hoping I could get some feedback from teachers here to find out what kind of software they're using now and what are some of the issues they've having with them. Perhaps the perfect software has already emerged over the last 6 months and I'm wasting my time!

    I'm not coming into this blindly. I've previously spent over two years working for a startup company developing a web-based school information system. I'm currently employed as a consultant for an online collaboration company (which really wants to get into the education space). My expertise is in user experience (user interface design, usability, basically… making things easy to use).

    I realize developing a comprehensive school information system takes an enormous amount of time and money. Things like being SIF compatible and complying with other standards (i.e. QTI for assessments) takes a huge effort. So while that may be the ultimate goal, that's not my short term goal. My short term goal is to do a few things exceptionally well. For example, I will most probably start out with simplest things like taking attendance - hopefully making it easier to use than any of the current alternatives (including spreadsheets and simply paper!). Ideally, I would have teachers continuously involved (getting feedback, doing usability testing, etc.) during the whole process.

    So hopefully some of you can give me some feedback!

    I'm looking for things like:
    The type of software you're currently using.
    What are the main issues you have with it? (i.e. it takes too long to import data, it's not reliable, you can't export data, you don't trust the system, etc.).
    What are some of the things you'd like to see in a new product?

    Feel free to reply here or private message me on the forum. I don't mind negative criticism so please be honest. If you're wondering why I posted this here, well I had to start somewhere! And I thought contacting teachers would be the best way to start.

    Thank you so much. I hope maybe this is the start of something great.

    Moderators: I apologize if this is against the rules to post something like this. I'm not advertising a product or trying to sell anything - there's nothing to sell! :) Feel free to delete it if it's against the forum rules.
     
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  3. gamerTeacher

    gamerTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Taking attendance should be super fast!

    We use paper in class, then use a Japanese program to enter grade electronically.

    My main compliant about that system is that you can't TAB from one spot to another- you have to click with the mouse. It is a tiny feature and I'm sure that most systems have it, but ours is old and really annoying.

    It is also really ugly. It looks cheap. I could easily make a mock up in html in under ten minutes. I know that is petty, but Exel looks better than our program. I'm not saying that you need to make it fancy, but please make it seem like some effort other than background = green was taken.

    Other than that, my main concern would be security, especially for a web based system.
     
  4. Eros

    Eros New Member

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Hi Gamer,

    Thanks for the feedback. Entering data quickly and easily seems to be one of the biggest issues I've heard teachers complain about in several systems. This will be one of the core things I focus on.
     
  5. Eros

    Eros New Member

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Hi all, even though I only got one response I have been working diligently on this project. Architecturally, I feel it's light years ahead of anything out there. I would still love to get some input from teachers and I hope to get some of you involved in this if there's interest.
     
  6. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2011

    My district uses a web-based system that includes many capabilities that we use and to my knowledge are pleased with. This system tracks attendance (HR teachers enter in a.m.), grades, reports, seating charts, lesson plans, and special services (for students with disabilities: all IEP paperwork is on same program).

    My loves: the ability to create assignment types beyond homework, classwork, participation, tests, quizzes, etc; easy reports to see which student completed what, all teachers can access important info about their student, and probably more that I'm forgetting.

    My biggest issue is data entry as well. I hate that the only option is to go down an assignment coloumn rather than across a student row while entering grades. I would love to be able choose which method to enter. If I have a student move in and they have grades from another teacher, I want to be able to go across and enter all the grades, not go through each and every student and assignment.
     

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