During the Christmas and New Year break, it dawned on me that as much as I was away from the office and the staff were all enjoying their holidays with family, today’s interconnected world meant that I was never really unplugged and was hugely integrated into systems that I expected to seamlessly talk to each other.

For example, I expect to get an Uber  at my front door when I type “Order Uber” into my Facebook messenger or when I do the same on Slack . I also expect to be able to use any messaging system I like to communicate with service providers, and expect to be able to pick the products I expect from them via whichever interface I prefer.

There is a variability and flexibility in who we interact with – not just on a personal level with family and friends, but also on a professional level and as a consumer. This constantly evolving and demanding environment is great for innovation, honing new ideas and the promotion of new initiatives.

But when it comes to school management or administration systems we see a trend where people ask for one system that does it all. Often the one system that does it all is for good reason, and suggested to either simplify the school’s IT environment or due to cost pressures.

As the CEO of a company dedicated to helping build the school community, I know how many different IT systems are used in schools and how all that money and more importantly time, would be better spent elsewhere.

So it was whilst online and logged into LinkedIn over the school break that I read a post shared by Julian Ridden  about ‘Predictions for the education sector in 2017’ .

In short, Jared Stein, the Vice President of Research and Education at Canvas, predicts the big shaping factors in education will be:

1. Analytics
2. Open Technology
3. Preparatory Education
4. 24/7 Student Experience.

Each point listed is valid and warrants its own discussion points, however, what most stuck with me came out of the second point – Why don’t more schools use pure cloud products?

Systems hosted by the people who created them without requiring to have staff on-site to manage it should be ticking the boxes for Business Managers, School Admin Staff and decision makers in school communities. True SaaS applications like Canvas (LMS) , Xero (accounting package), Google Classroom  or Educonnex  communicate with each other seamlessly without the school needing to spend any time on it.

To quote directly from the article:
Cloud computing will help unleash the next wave of tech-enabled innovation in schools by enabling educators to change the way that courses are delivered to a new generation of tech savvy, social students.

Amongst the benefits of this change in mindset within school communities’ is that if a school decides to move away from Xero to use Quickbooks Online , it can happen without changing the school’s core School Management Platform.

So why are we still using a single product, when we are using platforms in every other sense? Apple, Google, FaceBook – these are all platforms that we use that seamlessly integrate with applications to make our lives easier. Could we not use this same formula in schools? Implementing a school administration platform which seamlessly integrates with best of breed applications for the day-to-day running of the school. Secure platforms built that allow each individual school to customise and integrate its functionality for themselves are not just the way of 2017 – they are the next generation of school administration systems.

What did you read over Christmas that got you thinking?

Martijn Schiferli

Martijn was previously employed by CountryNet Software from 04/14 - 10/07/17. He has extensive experience in managing large-scale web application deployments.

View articles by Martijn

Written by Martijn Schiferli

Martijn was previously employed by CountryNet Software from 04/14 - 10/07/17. He has extensive experience in managing large-scale web application deployments.

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