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Submission + - Student Information Systems Increasingly Complex?

nf070307 writes: Meris Stansbury, eSchoolNews, recently wrote an article on the evolving complexity of student information systems in K-12. The article begins with a discussion about the SIS evolving into an ERP system with all school functions inside of one system. This is an interesting perspective considering that education has some highly specialized needs, such as Special Education, that have complex compliance requirements, legal requirements and highly detailed tracking and audit capability to satisfy the requirements of myriad stakeholders. The article mentions also that HR and Finance would be coming under one system as well. It occurs to me that such specialized function do not belong under one roof.

It seems to me that creating ERP in education seems to be more about education being run as a business instead of a teaching and learning institution. Teaching and learning is still an art that requires the ability to adapt to different learning styles and differentiate in instructional delivery. I don't think that education is a it fits one style institution and it is likely that there is not an education ERP that is a one size fits all. Even the existing ERP systems out there are not in widespread use across all sizes of business. It seems to be restricted to the larger companies who can afford such an undertaking.

The article also mentions mobile devices and only gives a passing mention about security. With many of the system breach events in Higher Ed and K-12, it makes you wonder why these institutions would extend their systems to mobile devices? Or let data be stored on the mobile device as implied by a quote of Century Consultants in the article.

The article only gives a passing mention to open source quoting Jim Hirsch from Plano ISD in Texas. Plano ISD has a very ambitious project underway to build an open source ERP. They are already heavy users of open source both in the IT shop and in the instructional side of the house where they are using Moodle. For an industry that is as financially constrained as education, you would think that more attention would be given to open source alternatives in education and the role they can play. Not only in flexibility and control, but more so in reduced budget dollars being taken from instruction.

In reality, the article, which is from one of the leading education industry publications, has little substance and delivers no real value to an open discussion of SIS in K-12 and what K-12 and Higher Ed truly need from such a system. The reality is that SIS solutions in K-12 have a very poor history. From the SasiXP offering from Pearson that runs on Dbase IV in a distributed architecture to the failed implementations of of Chancery in several large districts, the road is littered with valuable education dollars that have been wasted. SIS systems seem to get replaced every 3-5 years and are enormous cost items. The vendors are not entirely to blame as many choices and projects were decided by those with little practical technical or IT experience.

This article would have been much better to examine the various systems, their weaknesses, the open source alternatives and present the reader with an informed view helping them better understand these complex systems that cost a great deal of money. This is education reporting? Hardly.

Submission + - The Pirate Bay sails to trial in january ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: After a year and a half after the raid on The Pirate Bay, an action that doubled the number of visitiors, the preliminary work is done and come january the five men behind the site will go to trial for "aiding copyright infringement".
According to the anti-piracy agency it is a relief for everyone involved, them and TPB, to finaly be able to have the case tried in court.
One of the guys behind TBP says that he think the charge is strange considering that they never had any illigeal copies on the site, only links to other peoples machines.

Story in swedish only this far.

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