Administrative & Management Tools
Designed for MacOS X users,Collaborative-Class from Near-Time(www.near-time.com)combines the company’sNear-Time Flow (a toolfor teachers to publishand distribute courses)with its Near-TimeCurrent tool (whichallows students toreceive coursework, doresearch and wordprocessing, and publish content to any Web server or iDisk). Flow’sversion management system keeps up with changes to content, andtracks all application files and Web pages. It also allows teachers toauthor, gather, organize, publish, and share their curriculum withstudents, as well as create Weblogs and RSS feeds. With Near-TimeCurrent, users can access assignments and take advantage of itspublishing and export options to submit their work. Both toolsfeature built-in Internet connectivity, though all of their authoringand organizing capabilities are available offline, which means userscan work anytime, anywhere. Prices start at $49.95 per classroom.
EDmin.com Inc. (www.edmin.com) has released its ExceptionalStudent Education Center featuring the IEP Manager, an applicationthat greatly reduces the efforts of district special-education staff tocomplete student individualized education plans.Housed in a Web environment, the IEP Manager can beaccessed from any location, at any time, without the needfor the kind of intranet connection that often is requiredof paper-based forms or other electronic documents. Italso enables school districts to prepare student IEPsonline and develop customized forms, as well as allowsmultiple special-education staff members to work ondifferent parts of an IEP simultaneously. Average price isabout $5 per student.
Questionmark Corp.’s (www.questionmark.com) WordAuthoring Templates provide a familiar and easy-to-useauthoring environment for teachers ,trainers, and subjectmatterexperts (SMEs). The templates enable an SMEusing Microsoft Word to produce questions that can be delivered,tracked, and managed with Questionmark Perception. The templatesprovide an excellent solution for SMEs who may lack easy or directaccess to Perception. In addition, this new tool empowers non-technicalSMEs (those who might lack the confidence or desire tocreate computerized assessments) to author various onlinetests and surveys. The Word Authoring Templates are free withthe purchase of Perception.
Austin Sky Technology’s (www.austinsky.com) TESA(Teacher Evaluation Software Assistant) software allowsprincipals to easily create more robust teacher evaluationsdirectly from their handheld or mobile devices. Theprogram can also cross-connect to a school’s or district’sstudent information system when used with EVA(Educational Virtual Assistant), the company’s mobilestudent information interface, enabling administrators toaccess student schedules, attendance, and even disciplinerecords. TESA features customized drop-down menus, and can alsobe used to evaluate various staff, departments, school programs, orcampus groups. Prices vary by factors such as the size of a district.
ADM2000 Principalm is a mobile tool for ACE Software’s(www.acesoft.com) ADM2000 Student Information System—a systemthat gives principals and other administrators instant access to criticalstudent data through any Palm OS-based PDA device. The softwareprovides a flexible, secure way for administrators to keep track ofimportant information such as class schedules, emergency contactinformation, grades, attendance, and students’ photos in one convenientplace. ADM2000 Principalm is included in ACE’s ADM2000Student Information System, but Principalm connection software(which provides the link to ADM2000) and PDAs cost extra. Prices start at $495 per building, plus an annual $210 per building maintenance fee.
Meeting Maker MillenniumVersion 8.5from MeetingMaker (www.meetingmaker.com) is a convenient calendaringand scheduling toolfor institutions of all sizes. The application includes twonew key features: add-onmodules for connectivitywith Microsoft Outlook andenhanced LDAP (lightweightdirectory access protocol) integration. Its Meeting Maker Connectorfor Outlook add-on module empowers the installed base of Outlookusers to collaborate with Meeting Maker users within their organizationwhen scheduling meetings and managing their calendars. Also, the enhanced LDAP Integration moduleprovides organizations with central userauthenticationcapabilities for simplifiedaccount management and security. Prices startat $95 per user.
FileWave (www.filewave.com), a provider ofMac OS and Windows system managementsoftware, is offering its flagship product,FileWave 2.0, to all K-12 schools and universitiesat no cost, as long as the educational institutions invest in atwo-year support contract (priced at $900 per year for 100 clients).The goal of the FileWave software suite is to eliminate unnecessarysoftware and hardware costs, as well as increase IT productivity,byallowing schools to disseminate Macintosh and Windows software,as well as any system updates, quickly and easily across theirmultiplatform distributed networks.
NetSimplicity (www.netsimplicity.com/mymrm/index.asp?mtcPromotion=NetSim>2E718A) has released four neweditions of its easy-to-use Meeting Room Manager (MRM) schedulingsoftware, which provides administrators with tools to automate andcustomize their institution’s entire scheduling process. MRM Teamisfor small groups of up to 10 schedulers, MRM Enterprise is for largecorporations and organizations with thousands of users, and MRMWeb is a fully customizable edition for hundreds of schedulers thatcan be accessed from any browser. Finally, NetSimplicity has made afree edition of the product available for individual desktop userscalled MyMRM (www.netsimplicity.com/mymrm/index.asp?mtcPromotion=NetSim>2E728A), which helps users managetheir meeting rooms. MRM Team price is $999; MRM Web price is $3,499; price varies for the MRM Enterprise edition.
To help simplify PC and wireless laptop printing for higher ed,PrinterOn (www.printeron.net) has launched the Campus PrintingSystem, an intranet solution that gives students and faculty access tocampus printers from any location. Campus Printing allows users tochoose from two interchangeable interfaces: a Web service forprinting without drivers orPrintWhere; a universal printdriver that supports all printerswith a single installation.Benefits include reduced IT staffsupport costs (since the printingsolution d'es not requireconfiguration assistance), andthe ability to facilitate printing inan 802.11b environment. Price:$3,500 for two printers, notincluding hardware.
Educational Testing Service(ETS) has released a significantupgrade to its Instructional DataManagement System (IDMS), a Web-based software application designed to helpK-12 educators manage and use assessment data todrive instructional practices, improve studentachievement, and optimize learning results. UsingIDMS 5.0 (www.etspulliam.org/idms), educatorscan identify critical state standards, pace instruction,create formative assessments, and align materialto state standards; then, generate easy-to-usedistrict, school, class, and student reports. IDMSalso can be used as a platform to deliver the ETSFormative Assessment Item Bank, which is an extensive online collectionof 12,000 math and language arts test questions tailored to states’specific standards. Price: $9 per student per year.
Featuring easy installation, built-in wizards to guide survey designand implementation, and full drag-and-drop capabilities, SurveyTracker Plus E-mail/Web 5.0 from Pearson NCS (www.pearsonncs.com) offers users increased flexibility and a variety of options forcompiling and analyzing important data. Each survey solutionsupports a scannable form design, printing, and data collectionusing Pearson NCS scanners. This allows users to collect data frompaper surveys while eliminating common manual entry errors. Thesoftware also includes common education applications, such asschool climate surveys and course evaluations,which can be distributedvia e-mail, Web, network, or disk. Price: $8,995.
PowerSchool Premier from PowerSchool (www.powerschool.com),a division of Apple Computer, was developed for schools that requirea more scalable SQL relational database. The flexible system leveragesPowerSchool’s technology to offer a mature solution that canmeet the needs of schools and districts which are larger or have moresophisticated technology requirements. It also delivers an “OpenSIS”approach that offers a Web-based,hardware-independent platformwhich is in compliance with the Schools InteroperabilityFramework and provides a more powerful database.Prices vary.
CanD'EDU.com Version 2.2 fromCanD'EDU is a Web-based subscriptionprogram that provides administratorswith three clear-cut modules forperforming assessments, stimulatingstudent and educator achievement,and fulfilling accountability obligationsto all stakeholders. Users canimport existing data from administrativesoftware, and export into standardfile formats such as Excel spreadsheets.Specific tasks that can be accomplishedinclude automated score assessments,progress report printing in seconds,and on-the-fly report generation.CanD'EDU.com is $4,995 per school,plus $3 per student per year.
This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2005 issue of THE Journal.