How To Get The Most Out Of Your Student Information Systems
September 17, 2018
Most schools will use a Student Information System (SIS) as their main tool to manage all their student records and administration. In addition to an SIS, most schools may also have a different system for admissions, a different one for classroom management and a few more for other key aspects of running a school.Over the past few years, the ed-tech industry has grown rapidly - Last year $8.15 billion was invested into ed-tech companies globally and that record is set to be broken in 2018.Navigating this complex world of school technology can make your head spin. Some products have overlapping functionality, some claim to be "All-In-One" solutions, and others are solving problems you never even knew you had. As a result, trying to understand and figure out how all the systems work together with your main Student Information System can be a confusing task.So what exactly is a Student Information System and how does it fit with all the other technology you use to run your school?
What Is A Student Information System?
A Student Information System (SIS), also referred to as a Student Management System (SMS), Student Information Management System (SIMS) or Student Record System (SRS), is a software solution designed to help schools track and manage all their student data - everything from grades, attendance, behavioural information and more.Basically, an SIS serves as the core database for all school operations, and over the past few decades, many of them have also incorporated additional features and modules to manage administrative tasks such as:
- Admissions - Often SIS software is capable of managing the entire admissions process, from initial contact to full enrolment.
- Billing and Payments - Paying and being paid can often be managed through the SIS, as it holds all the data about parents, employees, suppliers, and contractors.
- Reporting - Reporting functionality allows schools to identify trends in student behaviour and analyse results to improve their performance.
- And many more.
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An effective SIS provides schools with a centralized system to manage student data.[/caption]SIS software, however, is not only used by teachers and school administrators - it often hasapps or portals for parents and studentstoo, making it an effective tool for communication and consolidated data collection.On face value, it appears that an SIS can do everything you need, but upon closer inspection, it's likely that you'll find some missing functionality and areas that could be improved.
The Rise Of The School-Tech Stack
The term “technology stack” comes from the world of software development and it refers to the set of tools, applications and software programs used to create web and mobile applications. Programmers carefully create and manage their stack for optimal performance and reliability.In some ways, this is similar to managing software within a school. With the rapid growth of new school software, IT departments are now stacking technologies together with their existing SIS, to create an integrated series of tools that allow them to effectively manage school administration.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
The global ed-tech landscape is rapidly growing (Image credit: https://www.navitasventures.com/insights/landscape/)[/caption]The “School-Tech Stack” challenges the status quo of an “All-In-One” system by providing schools with the ability to leverage dedicated best-of-breed solutions. The tricky part is, getting all the systems to work together.On the other hand, you might be able to avoid the integration woes with an All-In-One solution, however, they often come with bigger implementation costs, and a compromise on feature capabilities - much like a jack of all trades, master of none situation.Both approaches have their pros and cons, however, with an astounding amount of growth in the ed-tech sector over the last few years, it seems inevitable that the general trend will head towards a Tech Stack future.In order for schools to get the most out of their SIS, it's important to consider the following when adding new software systems to your tech-stack:
- Cloud-based - Cloud-based systems provide significant benefits over locally hosted equivalents including reduced IT support, hardware maintenance and hands-free upgrades. This makes it easier for your IT department to manage multiple systems.
- Data security - Information security has become a primary concern for schools as they are in control of an array of sensitive personal information. It’s essential to ensure that any system you add to your School-Tech Stack employs a high standard of data security and has the proper certifications to back it up.
- Integrations - Integrations help to ensure your data remains consistent and accurate across all software systems in your stack.
How Boardingware Fits Within Your School-Tech Stack
If you work at a boarding school, chances are that your traditional SIS is not well suited to managing boarding house administration. That’s where Boardingware comes in.
Give your School-Tech Stack a boost by using Boardingware to keep track of students movements, ensure student safety and accountability, and empower staff to fulfil their duty of care. As a cloud-based application, with certified data security and native integrations partners, Boardingware is tech-stack ready.To learn more about how Boardingware can improve your school, head over to our website towatch a 20-min demo video orbook a time to talkwith one of our experts.