Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doing Less with SchoolTool

We now pause for a brief non-commercial message.

As a new school year approaches in much of the world, I'd like to take a moment to point out that while we generally promote SchoolTool as a free, open source student information system for schools, it can also be much *less* than that, depending on your needs.

That is, since SchoolTool is free and easy to install, particularly using modern virtual servers, you can use SchoolTool to solve specific problems without facing the much larger issue of migrating your whole school to a new information system.

Collect Assessment Data

Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia uses SchoolTool to create and print regular interim reports on all students. SchoolTool's new Report Sheet feature facilitates collection of grades, test scores, comments or other custom data from teachers at regular intervals. Stop emailing spreadsheets!

Track Grades and Attendance

Jeff Elkner of the Arlington Career Center in Arlington, Virginia, uses SchoolTool as his personal gradebook. Anyone using Ubuntu Linux on their desktop or laptop (or server in the "cloud") can easily install and use SchoolTool as their online gradebook and attendance journal. Schools can offer SchoolTool as a free alternative to teachers wishing to move their bookkeeping online.

Schedule Resources Online

The Paul Cuffee School in Providence, RI uses SchoolTool to coordinate the use of their computer labs and laptop carts. Teachers can check what resources are available via SchoolTool's calendar and place reservations online.

SchoolTool is at a point where a small community of individual users and schools implementing some of the above features will do a great deal to keep the project moving forward, and we have developer resources to assist and respond to bug and feature requests, so please have a look and let us know what you think.

For more information on SchoolTool, see http://schooltool.org

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