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IT Expert Offers Tips on Managing Information Systems in Schools

IT Experts Offers Tips on Managing Information Systems in Schools

As technology continues to advance in and out of the classroom, schools need to be able to keep their eyes open on how to improve efficiency.

So says R.J. Gravel, director of instructional technology at a school district in Illinois who shares his tips in an article on, Gravel said that "to make sure teachers keep their focus on learning and teaching—and not on logistics and subscriptions—curriculum and technology specialists must work together to see that information systems make materials accessible from the moment students and educators walk into the classroom."

One thing to look out for, Gravel said, is "employee and student population changes."

"Schools have two primary populations that change throughout the school year: employees and students. Most school districts enroll and withdraw students throughout the year," he said. "Regardless of when an employee is hired, or a student is enrolled, it’s important that these users gain access to all necessary resources in order to be successful from the first day they join their new school. Some of these resources include:

  • Curriculum supplies such as print and electronic textbooks
  • Electronic resources that are used by students for communication and productivity purposes, like Google Apps for Education
  • Electronic portals to view grades, lunch account information, online assignments and teacher contact information."

Gravel then discusses what happens in his district, at Johnsburg School District 12. He said that at his district, "we use a variety of electronic resources. In an effort to streamline the end-user experience, we have worked to create a unique login for each user that is consistent across all systems."

"For our students, their login is the letter “J” followed by their student ID, such as J140032. Creating unique logins, paired with authentic integrated services within our internal network, allows us to automatically facilitate user accounts in a host of external systems as quickly as our systems can run a query. Here’s how:"

  1. A new employee or student is added to the appropriate enterprise system.
  2. Once per hour or day, depending on the service, our automation scripts search our enterprise systems to identify any new users, as well as any changes to existing users.
  3. A list of changes is compiled and distributed to each of our providers. Providers then create user accounts using the supplied login ID. For example, if a new student is identified, an electronic textbook account is created. If that student is enrolled in Biology 1, they are given access to the electronic textbook that has been adopted for the class.
  4. The process cycles automatically: Employees and students have access to all resources in as little as one hour and no more than a day."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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