Use of Internet in a school/educational institution
Early internet was developed from an ARPANet, later on adapted by some of the leading universities in USA and eventually became the Internet as we know it today. Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture and commerce, including the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) “phone calls”, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. Today’s Internet has become a major backbone for all communication and electronic content distribution.
Today’s education system relies on internet for a major portion of its educational contents. Internet is also used as a distribution network of school/institution hosted contents for students for remote access.
Why do we need content filter
In an international School we have students of all ages. Internet as we know it is unregulated and requires an additional security and access layer to ensure access to age appropriate content. Teachers and administrators need to control web contents by various categories for example, social network, education, downloads, email, dating, porn, violence, hate sites etc. Read the rest of this entry
Moodle 2.5 is out for a while, initially released on 14th May 2013. Eventually with 2 minor releases, new Moodle has fixed of many of known issues. In my line of work many users asks me if they should upgrade to Moodle 2.5 or continue on with 2.4. or older. Moodle 2.6 release is going to come up soon as I write this article. Moodle 2.5 brings some interesting new features for teachers, students and administrators. I will try to skim through some of these features, enhancements and changes in Moodle 2.5 You can find the full details of the new release at Moodle 2.5 Release notes.
Badge is an interesting new addition to Moodle, which has been anticipated for a while now. The Mozilla Open Badges (Open Badge Infrastructure or OBI) project is a program by Mozilla that issues digital badges to recognize skills and achievements of individuals participating in various online learning programme. The badge structure allows one to display real-world achievements and skills which may help with future career and education opportunities. The OBI allows badge issuers and developers to build badges, and allows online learners to choose from a number of different pathways for development. New Moodle supports issuing badges to a student based on the users meeting various predefined criteria compatible with Mozilla Open Badges. Badges created in Moodle can be displayed on a user’s profile and/or published on their Open Badges backpack and public badge collections in their backpack will display in their Moodle profile. There are two categories of badges:
- Site badges – available to users site-wide and related to the site wide activities, like finishing a set of courses.
- Course badges – available to users enrolled in the course and related to the activities that happen inside the course.
Why backup is critical
In 21st century all organization are having a technology infrastructure, some hosting locally some in the cloud. A school/educational institution is no different. In a school we store all our data electronically. We have electronic student records, results, student works, curriculum data, administrative data, emails, various configurations, systems data and much more. Without a proper backup recovery plan data is valuable.
Data loss can be categorized in these three following areas:
- Human error at any level of the organization, students, staff, systems administrator, external attacks etc.
- Systems or hardware failure: failure of server hardware, data storage media or corruption of software systems
- Natural disaster and act of God: flood, fire, earth quick, thunder strike
To ensure service continuity, data needs to be available despite any type of anticipated failure. To protectant against data failure we use redundant hardware as well as industry standard backup system. Redundant hardware protects us against hardware failure and maximizes systems uptime. A properly implemented backup process shall protect against human error, software or systems error and any natural disaster.
Having a regular backup provides, required availability of school’s/ educational institutions data; backup needs to be performed regularly in time using an autonomous system, stored and archived as required, all backup error should be addressed and finally the backup data should be restorable. It is critical the institution has a backup policy and implements the polity to protected data at all times criticality.
International schools are required to have the ability to recover data in such failure or error. Read the rest of this entry
Schools multimedia management requirement:
Today’s school depends on multimedia content for their learning delivery. Multimedia content are pictures, movies, music, podcasts, presentations, interactive tutorials etc. Schools collect multimedia content from various internet sources. Teachers also create a lot of content by themselves. As education systems start relying on more multimedia content, the size and number of elements of this content starts growing rapidly.
The challenge is to manage this content in a system where the content can be stored in a catalog, which can be searched, previewed, and published. Multimedia files are usually large in size. When stored in a network file system, users tend to create multiple copies of these files, which add to the storage and retrieval problem. Usually users responsible for managing these files cannot maintain a complex manual workflow to maintain a proper catalog system; which makes multimedia repository on a network file system, almost un-searchable and it takes up many times the minimum space that is required.
Solution to digital asset management with ResourceSpace
ResourceSpace is an Open Source digital asset management server/multimedia server. It’s a web based application, which allows users to upload content with proper cataloging, using a simple workflow, resulting in content that can be searched, shared and published. Such a system can serve institutions to manage all their digital assets/multimedia content.
Resource Space is a single repository for your entire digital content, with an easy way to catalogue and control your organization’s access.
ResourceSpace can be used to store and catalog multimedia and other digital assets.
ResourceSpace comes with
- Web interface with Intuitive design, Works with all major browsers
- Rich search interface
- Advanced cataloging
- Auto previewing, conversion with audio video players
- Quick and easy search with advance search options and Intelligent Ordering
- Supports collaboration; users can contribute or make request for content
- Publication of content directly to youtube, flicker, wordpress, joomla and more
- Supports various reports on the content, search trends etc.
- Batch file editing and uploading with HTML5 interface
- Supports various access levels based on users, group etc.
- Can be integrated with your central authentication system/LDAP
- Built on Open Source Open Standard with no licensing Cost
- ResourceSpace is a modular application, supports external plugins
- Supports Multilanguage interfaces
As it is a web application, all these features are accessible from the organization’s LAN or over the internet as per the institutions requirement.
Document and file collaboration is a process which should allow multiple people work together on a single document or file and produce a final document. For example if you plan to develop an IT policy for your institution, and you assign a 5 member team to develop it and come up with an approved version; all these users will be working on a single file to come up with a final version; in this case some will contribute, some will review, some will approve. However at the end we will have a final version of the document without losing any changes made.
In last few decades after the birth of internet, collaboration is becoming one of the major means for creation and productivity. There are many from of collaboration among all document collaboration is one of the standard from. Collaboration used in business world is equally important for children to learn as a method starting from Schools just like any other discipline.
All organization requires document and other media contents available to various group of user for consumption and contribution. These files require having different permission sets according to their access level. Electronic resources need to be accessed easily from standard computing devices; also one should be easily search and locate the right file.
Traditionally file sharing is done through windows file sharing technology also known as SMB or CIFS. These system allows windows OS to easily access files stored in a central server with user logging. Windows file sharing supports user home drive and different level of access to different group of users. This system is sometimes limited to local area network.
A basic windows file sharing system is an essential IT service for any educational instruction. May still uses windows file sharing for storing personal data of the user in a central server and share files among different group of users.
Enterprise content management/Document management System:
Technology has moved a long way from the day of simple windows file sharing. A document management system (DMS) or an enterprise content management system (ECM) is a computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents and other medias. It is usually also capable of keeping track of the different versions modified by different users (history tracking). The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.
Services in International Schools
Schools and educational institutes are service organizations. The better their service is the better the institution is. Education is the core to all services an international school caters. Other service examples which are to support education service are are IT services, housekeeping services, transport services, procurement of supplies, medical services, management of health and safety issues etc. All these areas of services are equally important for an international standard educational institute. These services are usually catered by small autonomous departments which are managed by a small group or people or sometimes outsourced.
These other (other than education delivery) services are often neglected as monitoring and improvement can be complex and resource intensive. Usually schools do not have any standard way to assure and measure other service qualities in a regular basis, which prevent them from fixing regular issues or improving these services.
If the school or an educational institution implements a few simple standard process to log and monitor their process, help the institution significantly to add and improve to their service and quality. This will also makes all groups accountable for their requests and actions and the service quality can be measured.
How can a school benefit from a process management tool
In a process management tool (such as OTRS) any custom processes can be mapped in the system. All that require service can be referred as customers. Service can be provided by an internal team or by na outsourced team; for either of the case a process management tool such as OTRS is equally effective. This process management system also used helpdesk management; any customer with a requirement or an issue can open a ticket through an email or a login portal.
Once the ticket is opened an agent (in an educational institute’s cause it is a team member of the corresponding department) is assigned to it. This ticket should be acknowledged and processed by the team. Until the issue is resolved the ticket stays open and can be tracked by any interested party, as a part of an MIS report of individually. Any process can be mapped in to the system as per the process flow. For example approvals, escalation, automated notification, reminder etc. Moreover, conditions for changing status and other ticket attributes can be defined. This offers a great possibility for many process and use cases.
Process management system and helpdesk with OTRS:
OTRS is a Helpdesk management system is such a system, supports ITIL standards. OTRS is open source, completely web-based. OTRS supports ticket creation by the customers, (in a school customers are students, teachers, and partners) who requires a services or support. A predefined group of people or a support team member will be assigned to the request where one person has to acknowledge and follow-up the issue/request on until resolved. An escalation matrix can be attached in case of delay. Customer can monitor the progress at each stage, who is addressing it, what stage it is in and would know then the issue is resolved. Overall performance matrix can be monitored within the system.
OTRS supports Knowledge management, self-service, service catalog, ticket management, time accounting, single sign-on, survey, reporting etc.
Such process management and helpdesk can help the institution to
- Improved services
- Reduced costs
- Improved customer satisfaction through a more professional approach to service delivery
- Improved productivity
- Improved use of skills and experience
- Improved delivery of third party service.
Mange your services and helpdesk through OTRS:
OTRS can be implemented in house in your own server system or subscribed in the cloud as SaaS. To implement and manage OTRS for your school, educational institution or other business you may contact me directly or contact you may contact me directly or visit http://xeois.com and http://globalsm.pw/. These companies are run by a team of people who have long experience with education industry.
Tag: Helpdesk, service management, process management, OTRS, International school, educational institution, School.
An electronic portfolio (also known as an eportfolio, e-portfolio, or digital portfolio) is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a class, a student or any individual or group, usually on the web. Such electronic evidence may include inputted text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. E-Portfolio content is both a demonstration of the portfolio owner’s ability to develop and display work and a vehicle for self-expression. If the e-portfolio is online, the content can be maintained dynamically over time.
E-Portfolio for schools
“E-Portfolios … are personal online spaces for students to access services and store work. They will become ever more useful as learners grow up and start moving between different types of learning and different institutions” Secretary of State for Education and Skills, UK, January 2006.
Students have been taught and encouraged to create digital identities using the various types of multimedia content they create. These portfolios are at times kept in a file structure on the school server or part of their learning management system and are not easily manageable or shared through web exchange.
In international schools and in the IBmPYP, MYP, DP programmes, students are expected to develop and maintain their personal work in digital portfolios. These portfolios are used as evidence of their achievement and the quality of their learning experience and can be marked by teachers against the criteria set for each subject. The electronic content can include personal projects, various activities they have performed over the years. The organization and presentation of the portfolio content can be used to gauge the student’s portfolio management skills.
Managing a student portfolio using the Mahara E-Portfolio is surely as smart way of doing this. Absence of a standard portfolio management system can make the portfolio management and publishing difficult. A standard eportfolio system will allow the student to develop and manage their portfolio in real time as well as give them immediate feedback. Assessment of the student’s work will be much easier and the student can also easily export their eportfolio to their new school or to potential employers in years to come.
What is Moodle
Moodle is a complete Learning Management System (LMS) /E-Learning platform for educational institutions of any size or type. Moodle LMS is used in classroom based learning delivery, in remote instructor led training, in a virtual classroom environment or for self-paced courses delivered over the web or from a school server.
LMS Need of an International School
In an international school, Moodle can be used to publish lesson content and assignments for the students to use in class or at home for homework or review. Moodle can also be used for delivering quizzes, collecting on-time assignments, and use for collaboration with other students. Moodle has a reporting function which can be used to monitor student progress. Parents can review students’ progress and classroom activities.
Average faculty turnover of an international school is usually 2-3 years, this creates gap in the institutional knowledge. When using Moodle as an LMS platform, an international school can retain records of courses, student activities over the years in Moodle database and course archives; this helps with the continuation of the curriculum and curriculum resources. New faculties can utilize these records to farther develop and refine the deliverable or as a reference. This is also a converse for the faculty as they can bring in and take a copy of contents they developed between schools, as Moodle is an open standard product and widely used in international Schools. Schools with multiple branches can use Moodle as a way to stabilize content delivery across a number of different locations.
Moodle is an open source open standard product. A growing number of schools are adopting Moodle to manage their curriculum content; therefore a growing number of teachers are able to create and deliver lessons using the Moodle platform.
How we can help you with Moodle
Our team has many years of experience deploying Moodle in an international school setting.
We can help you with Moodle installation, configuration, integration for central authentication and with other school applications, training and managed service to ensure the up time of the Learning Management platform.
We provide managed services on our deployed Moodle system with that includes proactive monitoring, technical support, update and upgrade, backup and recovery.
We also provide Moodle as a remotely hosted service for schools that wish to access the software over the web, thereby saving the school the cost of hosting the service on a local school server.
What is WeBWorK ?
WeBWorK is an open-source web based homework system for math and sciences courses. WeBWorK is supported by the MAA (Mathematical association of America) and the NSA (National Science Foundation) and comes with a NPL (National Problem Library) of over 20,000 homework problems. Webwork can be used for college algebra, discrete mathematics, probability and statistics, single and multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra and complex analysis.
Brief history of WeBWorK
Webwork is being used in many colleges and universities. This application has been developed and maintained by mathematicians since 1994 with the goal of providing a robust, flexible mathematically capable online homework system for science and math educators.
Webwork being open source, allow users and organizations to deploy and work with it for free on their own servers.
As a follow up to my last post on installing and configuring a sample pdnsd setup for cache only dns server, I wanted to share the context I made my setup in.
In our scenario we have a windows AD environment supporting all windows workstations and domain authentication. We also have a bind dns server on the side where we update all other local dns server entry for various servers.
We have placed couple of pdnsd server to process all dns requests from the local network
All dns requests are served by pdnsd server, while pdnsd server forwards appropriate requests to appropriate server and cache the data as per the systems configuration.pdnsd Server: 192.168.XXX.99 Active directory dns1: 192.168.XXX.X1 Active directory dns2: 192.168.XXX.X2 Bind dns: active directory dns1: 192.168.XXX.X2 Read the rest of this entry