Schools have to deal with a lot of data every day. The amount of data collected everyday has only increased with the digitalization of schools and universities since year 2000. Both the amount of data and the frequency of it have grown exponentially.
Today data is collected on attendance, performance journey, library books issued, learning patterns, virtual learning log-ins, health and much more. In fact, some institutions are even considering external data points such as social media and public records that give a more holistic view of student.
Such huge volume of data coming in daily at faster speed is also called big data. Big data in schools (or in any other organization) has its own set of problems related to security, usability and privacy. Here are 5 ways to simplify data management in your school.
1. Automatic Data Capturing
A clean and up-to-date database is important for success of school management systems. Data entry is a lengthy process especially if you are introducing school management system first time in your institute. Human errors and delay in entry are some of the common problems with data entry.
A solution to this problem is automation of data capturing. Technologies such as sensors, detectors and bar code system make it easy for data to be captured by machines in real time. For example, with RFID tags for identification of students, teachers do not have to enter the attendance manually in the system. This can also be used to register activity in cafeteria and library.
Intelligent capturing systems recognize all sources of data such as paper documents, online registration forms and public records. This can cut your staff’s work in half during the admission season.
Automation of data capturing can only happen when all the systems are working together with each other.
Complete database requires that all the data capturing systems are connected to your school management system. This will ensure that each student profile is complete and up –to-date. This is important for good quality reports and analysis of data in your school.
Here are some of the systems that must be integrated with your school management system:
- School transport system
- Library system
- Attendance system
- Student Learning Module or VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)
- Accounts and Fee managment
3. Arrangement of Data
Large volumes of data are of no use if it cannot be made sense of. After getting a clean data by using automated capturing and required system integrations the next step is arranging that data.
Indexing is a technical term for arrangement of data in your system. Every school has different way of functioning and will require the data organized according to it. To simplify data management in your school make sure that:
- All required data fields (name, address, test scores, class, extra-curricular, etc., ) are captured in your system.
- All data must be searchable through common searches like batch, name, subject electives etc.
- Create a flow chart of structure and have meta data that can be drilled down to detailed data.
4. Cloud Service
Cloud service is great school system model available today. With cloud technology you can access your centrally stored school management system anytime and anywhere. Besides giving you convenience this is also a great way to manage your school data.
This is because companies offering you cloud services also handle school data for you. The additional tasks of data maintenance and updating are done by the vendor. Multiple database back-ups and regular security software updates ensure that your data is in safe hands. This is extremely important for schools considering they deal with sensitive student data on a daily basis.
5. Simple User Interface
Having so much of data can be overwhelming for your staff. For this reason it is extremely important to have a simple database management system that they can navigate easily.
Making a visual representation of database structure would help.
The data must be searchable by various parameters by applying filters. For example, account staff should be able pull out list of fee defaulters by applying filter of ‘fees not paid’ to a particular batch.
According to Bi-server.com, 97% of organizations say they have issues dealing with big data. Making data usable and digestible is the first step to using all the features of your school management system. With the backing of solid data management system you can take strategic decisions that are backed by numbers.