- 1) How does the school benefit from SmartGrader?
SmartGrader is like a dashboard that keeps you updated on the health of your school. Critical events like lesson plans going behind schedule, prolonged absentions, below average performers in assessments etc will be escalated to your view automatically. So, the effort you would have had to expend to even identify the problems can now be spent on solving the problems. Leaving you enough time to improve on the 'non-problem' areas!
All information regarding students and staff, their personal details, attendance records, test and exam scores (in case of students) are stored in a centralized database. This database itself is strictly access controlled so that except for the head of the school other users will not be able to edit or even see personal information of their peers. This accumulation of data in one place helps greatly at the time of promotions (for students) and appraisals (for staff).
In fact, at the time of promotions, it is as easy as selecting each students' record and after due diligence, just clicking on the promote (or detain) button as applicable will automatically generate a printable page along with the address of the student printed on it so that it can be just put in an envelop and mailed. Absolutely no chance of mix-ups and tremendous amount of work saved! If desired, you can also send the promotion status as an SMS at the click of a button.
During staff appraisals, authentic data can be used to compare average / aggregate student performances in courses taught by the staff vis-a-vis other teachers who teach the same course albeit to different sections. It can be used to set measurable targets for teachers.
It keeps parents updated on their child's academic progress and other critical events like absences, assessment results etc. on a daily basis. This boosts parents' confidence that their children are in the care of a responsible and responsve administration. A weekly or monthly or per term dossier containing the student's performance during that period can be emailed or printed and handed over to parents.
Another feature that has to be necessarily mentioned is the admission management system. This will greatly remove the enormous stress and effort for the staff AND the parents during the admission process. Snaking queues of disgruntled parents outside your school will be a thing of the past. This will greatly enhance your schools reputation in the community.
- 2) How do I use it in my school?
SmartGrader is delivered as a web based service. Meaning, we run the software on our servers and you access it using your browser on an internet connected computer. Much like how you access your web mail service like gmail, yahoo mail, msn etc.
- 3) But... we always buy software and install it on our machines...
Thats how software has been traditionally delivered. But times are a'changing. Security is a big issue now and it is just not feasible for a school to afford people with skills to run a secure IT service - especially a service that is available over the internet.
Also, apart from the software application, you'll also have to buy database server software, web application server software and the hardware that runs these. And if you want the service to be ALWAYS available then you'll have to buy two of everything at a minimum!
Next is the hardware and network performance. By nature, this application gets heavily used in spurts - like on the day results are declared. When you run it yourself the hardware and the network will not be provisioned to handle these sudden spikes in load. And it will fail at exactly the moment when it is most required by users.
- 4) But we already have our school website on an external hosted service and have not had any problems so far!!
A web application is a completely different beast from a site that serves static html files which do not accept user input. The moment you put a login and password text input box on your site, it attracts the bad guys like honey attracts bees. In poorly constructed applications there are techniques like SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting etc that can give an attacker complete access to sensitive data on your servers or users sessions. And the bad guy does not even have to know the username, leave alone the password! Your school's reputation might get sullied overnight.
- 5) We have computer teachers in our school. They can handle the security...
Information security is a specialized subject that can trip even experienced programmers. Sorry to say, but your computer teachers are no match to the bad guys out there. You dont expect your physics teacher to design buildings or your zoology teacher to operate on your students or your NCC staff to tackle terrorists, do you!! Though cheeky, the analogy above is pretty apt.
- 6) But all these security concerns are applicable to you also...
True. But this is our full time job. Just as you are good at running your school, we are good at running safe and secure services. We monitor the server logs on a continous basis and take corrective action whenever we notice any anomaly. Also we continously fine tune and upgrade our software so that such incidences are at the barest minimum levels possible.
- 7) Anything else...
Yes. When we deliver it as a service, we handle data backups on a daily basis. So your data is never lost. Also whenever we introduce new features it will be available to you the next time you login. At no extra cost.
- 8) How much will it cost?
Its priced on a per student per year subscription basis. While we want to disclose the subscription rates AFTER you see a demo of the full application, we can assure you it will be much less than buying your own hardware and software and hiring a qualified system administrator who can captain a secure and reliable system.
Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
to arrange for a live demo.
- 9) Can I see a demo?
If you are in or around Chennai, yes! If you are elsewhere, do contact us. We will see if we can arrange something.