The education industry is gradually adopting the latest technology and taking new opportunities to enhance the learning process. In this case, the demand for qualified EdTech specialists is surging, as they can address the needs of students, teachers, and school management. Geomotiv is glad to provide custom software development services for educational institutions as we have a wealth of successful cases in the domain.
Today, we are going to share our experience of creating technology-enhanced solutions for the needs of educators. Let’s start with a Student Information system and what functionality it can possess. Next, we’ll move on to a Library Management system, another crucial educational landscape element.
Overview of Student Information Systems
Currently, if schools spend valuable time on maintaining individual systems with different architecture and data structures, they can spend extra time and money in vain. Many of them use outdated legacy education software to manage and maintain student information and deal with manual data processing. Moreover, they have to enable a seamless data transfer among internal departments and external legislative organs.
Many difficulties arise as a result:
- Inconsistent data;
- Duplicate manual data entry;
- Extra time needed to manage multiple accounts for individual users;
- Non-productive time spent on technical support;
- Inability to break data silos;
- Lack of communication between systems
- Inefficient reporting process.
In most cases, it is necessary to replace legacy systems with an integrated Student Information System. At Geomotiv, we can enable a smooth transition to a modern Student Information System or build a custom software development solution from scratch. Our experienced and Edtech specialists and Business analysts can thoroughly study each educational institution’s needs and requirements.
What is a Student Information System?
In simple words, it is one of web based solutions with a specific set of built-in modules and features. It is designed to store and manage student-related data in one place, enable an efficient state and district reporting process, and meet other demands of school administration, teachers, parents, and students, among other things.
Although each school district has distinctive requirements for features within a system, it must meet the core ones.
Features of a Student Information System:
- Flexible architecture to meet the needs of different states and school districts;
- A single sign-on (SSO) to access all systems without remembering various passwords;
- Support of historical data from multiple years and school rolls;
- Strong customization capabilities of each module;
- Integration capability with third-party tools and extensions;
- Accessibility on any device and browser. Mobile learning and assessment capabilities.
- Tools for accurate, systematic, and valuable reporting;
- Built-in messaging to connect students, administrative staff, and teachers with emails, SMS notifications, etc.;
- Analytics tools and dashboards;
- Secured online payment gateway;
- Standardized data formats among divisions.
As for the main parts of such a platform, they can differ depending on users’ roles and which features are needed.
Panels to Create a Student Information Management System
With a Student Management System, teachers and administrators can manage all student-related information, track attendance, and schedule events in one place.
- A calendar with scheduling tools for classes, school events, and conferences;
- Dashboards for student management, including: student profiles, contact information, medical information, selected courses, enrollment forms and other information;
- Dashboards for health monitoring: vaccinations, examination with psychologists, athletic eligibility, individual health records and other data;
- Dashboards for special education with the support of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs);
- Custom state reporting tools: personalized reports for special education, athletics, and health.
Panel for Teachers
Classroom teachers can rely on digital resources and eliminate paperwork with easy-to-use customized tools and interactive dashboards. Web based development gives the power to collect and present all the required information about students and foster efficient collaboration.
- Attendance tracking tools: mark students late or absent online, track live attendance for any classroom, generate automatic reports by period (day, month, year) or by student or classroom, be accessible for parents and teachers in separate views, export data to Excel or download and share via PDF;
- Performance tracking tools: a gradebook for traditional and standards-based scoring, data collection for a progress report;
- Lesson planning tools: build and view schedules, notification when schedules are in conflict;
- Directory for learning materials;
- Notes management tools;
- Assignment Management tools: upload, schedule assignments, receive completed assignments and grade them.
Panel for Students
It is hard to imagine a modern Student Information System without a dedicated space for students. This panel or portal acts as a source of information and an open communication channel between students and teachers.
- Ability to access course materials and collaborate through file-sharing tools like Google Drive;
- Online communication with teachers. Collaboration on assignments between students and teachers in a single view;
- Visibility to grades and improvements;
- mLearning capabilities: mobile access to learning materials and projects.
Panel for Parents
The majority of Student Information System software vendors provide an interface or a login for parents. Families can review financial activities, track their kids’ behavior and academic performance, and maintain communication with teachers and administration.
- Access to grades, assignments, discipline, attendance, learning materials, and progress online;
- Communication between parents and teachers with in-build messaging;
- Payment of school billings.
Library Management System for Schools
With the evolution and spread of digital content, the library has become a storehouse of print books, e-books, e-resources, and video streamed content. Today, libraries have become a unified source of digitally connected resources with the student’s academic life.
A smart library is capable of:
- Stock verification
- Inventory tracking
- Serial control
- Indexing and others.
A Library Management System consists of:
- Interface for students. It grants 24/7 access to eBooks, Audiobooks, and interactive, downloadable online resources. The systems also allow students to: search/reserve books, view issued books, manage fines/invoices.
- Interface for librarians, teachers, and curriculum staff with solid reporting capabilities. Here’s what it can do: access reports in Google’s spreadsheets, download them in .xls or .xlsx formats; manage lost/stolen books; manage new arrivals; manage library notices and reminders; provide collaboration tools for students and teachers during class material preparation and discussion.
A Library Management System should support standards of:
|Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF)||OneRoster Security Assertion Mark-up Language (SAML)|
|Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI)||Open Educational Resources (OER)|
|Open Educational Resources (OER)|
Beyond granting users easy management and access to educational information, a Library Management system can enable efficient collaboration and interaction among students, teachers, and librarians. It provides a capacity for vendors that offer their educational resources to schools as well.
We had experience developing such a system in our company and studied its inner workings in and out.
This is what the development process was like.
During this stage, a BA and designer collected business requirements and defined the goals of the project. They established admin roles and their possible actions in the system:
- System Administrator - can add / update / delete User records (School Administrator / Consultant /Teacher / Student);
- Area agency administrator: can add new schools, users, add and modify license contracts with vendors;
- School Administrator - can modify a School name, School Code, Teacher Code and manage the following user roles: Teacher, Student, Consultant.
Then we agreed with the client on the system’s functionality and developed a prototype of the system. The task was to validate the idea as early as possible and gain feedback from the project’s stakeholders.
Development of MVP
During the follow-up iterations, we built up the following Epics:
- Global Search. To make the process more convenient for users, we integrated various search options. The system allowed for search by title, author, FLR, ISBN, curriculum tag, etc. We also divided search options into two types, drawing the line between authorized and unauthorized users.
As our next step within this iteration, we integrated with a Vendor via API for search, indexing, and unloading book titles. Our team implemented a custom API Adapter and incorporated it into the system. With each consecutive iteration of the development process, the development team integrated more vendors into the system.
- Home page. Here, users could browse a list of categories, the section with recently viewed items, check notifications and messages. We also added a section with recommended learning materials based on the student's preferences and interests.
- Collection page. It allowed storing resources taken from the Global Search.
- Item View page. Every resource should have had: a thumbnail (if provided by the vendor), name of the item, author, description, additional parameters, keywords of the item which allows performing search, preview, ‘You may also like’ section, which displays the resources associated with the current one.
- Basic login form. Upon the first login into the system, it redirected a specific user type to a particular page. We also provided user authentication via Google and Windows Live accounts.
- Edit profile page. After the login into the system, School Administrator, Area Agency Administrator, Teacher, and Student needed to fill in their profile. They had to enter the School and Role codes in the respective fields and submit the verification page.
As for profile management, the number of features depends on its type. For example, a teacher’s account contained the following details:
- User info
- Grade level
- Role/School Code
The above iterations enabled us to deliver a working prototype for user testing. Receiving continuous feedback from users, we introduced further features according to the client’s specifications. The customer was satisfied with the way our team implemented the initial requirements and continued our collaboration.
Build Your EdTech Solution with Geomotiv
The education software applications developed by Geomotiv aim to improve the existing education system and help overcome its possible shortcomings.
Our custom software development engineers are ready to build tailor-made platforms to ensure efficient learning process.
Let us turn your vision into a comprehensive Student Information system, Library management software, or any other custom niche solution for your educational institution. Get in touch with Geomotiv to find out more about our offerings.
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