Three open source school management software programs for teachers and student | Opensource.com

Three open source school management software programs for teachers and student

Posted 03 Jan 2013 by 

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Many educators might have been hesitant in the past regarding embracing open source software. But not anymore as the number that has taken to open source software (OSS) has increased significantly over the years. As more teachers as well as institutions are now engaging with organizations such as Open Source Schools, SchoolForge among others. Consequently, these educators have begun to realize the potential inherent in OSS that can help transform education in many ways.

Now, here is a list of open source applications that is available to assist educators in teaching as well as in inspiring their students:

Opensis

openSIS

openSIS otherwise known as “Open Source Student Information System” is a school administration application. And, it claims to reduce ownership cost for a school district by as much as 75% when compared with commercial systems of the same capability.

This application includes:

  • Attendance: By period, by day, with comments and all accomplished with a only a few clicks. Customize attendance codes to meet your specific needs. Easily check attendance by using the built-in reports.
  • Contact information: Easily add contact information for parents, relatives and authorized individuals. Designate legal guardian, bus stops and associate parents with students enabling automatic access to the openSIS parent portal.
  • Student demographics: openSIS enables the tracking of numerous student demographic attributes in a permanent record and across enrollments. Need something not included in the base installation? Use the custom categories and fields that allow you to easily create any number of custom fields to capture any specific data needs.
  • Gradebook: The built in grade book allows teachers to enter homework assignments, class tests and any other activity using weighted scales if desired. Automatic tallying of grades, reports to find erroneously entered grades and advanced ad hoc reporting is included.
  • Scheduling: openSIS includes a scheduler that allows you to easily input student requests and mass schedule students. You can make multiple schedule runs as you make adjustments and have multiple schedules within a school. View and print student schedules and class rosters with just a few clicks.
  • Health records: Nurses visits, immunizations, physician contact information, allergies and more are all a part of the health records.
  • Report cards: Easily input final grades, create student report cards and calculate GPA’s and class rankings.

The solutions is a 100% web-based application and has polished looks, a great deal of required functionality and appears to be easy to use based on the online demo website. openSIS is developed and maintained by Open Solutions for Education.

openSIS is written in the PHP programming language and uses the MySQL database system to store information. The community edition is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, is free software and can be downloaded from the Sourceforge website.

Epoptes

Epoptes

Epoptes (a Greek word for overseer) is an open source computer lab management and monitoring tool. It allows for screen broadcasting and monitoring, remote command execution, message sending, imposing restrictions like screen locking or sound muting the clients and much more!

It can be installed in Ubuntu, Debian and openSUSE based labs that may contain any combination of the following: LTSP servers, thin and fatclients, non LTSP servers, standalone workstations, NX or XDMCP clients etc.It’s a partial rewrite of an older application called sch-scripts, which has been successfully used the last year in about 250 Greek schools. Epoptes already has a lot of features, but a lot more are planned, and it’s being developed at a very fast pace. It’s maintained by IT teachers and students, so it should be around for a long time!

Fedena

Fedena is developed on the powerful Ruby on Rails framework, view a demo here

Fedena is a free and opensource school management software that has more features than a student information system. Use fedena to efficiently manage students, teachers, employees, courses & all the system & process related to your institution.

Fedena gives you complete control over how you want to manage your school’s databases and provides many tools to organize its activities. It is a complete SIS plus with all the advantages of a perfect school ERP. With fedena there is no need of any extra hardware or technical maintenance staff. All you need is a computer with internet connection. You can operate fedena even with a mobile phone.

The official website claims that anyone with basic knowledge in computers will be able to use Fedena on first login without any instructions, but if you want support there is also a commercial site at www.fedena.com that can help you in the setup of the product.
Fedena is used by the Education Department of Government of Kerala to automate the system and process of over 15,000 schools in the state and is named as Sampoorna.

Conclusion

The benefits of making use of open source software or application can be said to be as follows: One it helps save money, which can now be used for other important things. Secondly, it gives educators several more options. Since there are so many applications that can help with teaching different subjects as well as with school administration as a whole.

Originally posted on Linuxaria. Reposted under Creative Commons.

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16 Comments

robinmuilwijk
Open Sourcerer

For those interested in education and open source, it might be worth checking schooltools.org.

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Tom Hoffman

Don't forget SchoolTool, at http://schooltool.org

SchoolTool is an open source student information system including demographics and personal data, gradebooks, outcome and skill tracking, attendance, and calendaring.

SchoolTool is used globally as part of the Intel Learning Series, by career and technical educators across the commonwealth of Virginia, and individual schools and programs around the world.

We've got one step installation on Ubuntu Linux, strong internationalization support, and a 100% open source platform based on Python.

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Jen Wike Huger
Open Sourcerer

@Tom, interested in covering this resource for our site?

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Tom Hoffman

I was thinking I could write about our collaboration with the Arlington Career Center and Virginia CTE Resource Center on a competency tracking component called CanDo (http://cando.cteresource.org/).

How many words would you want?

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Jen Wike Huger
Open Sourcerer

Email me over at jnovelli@redhat.com and we'll discuss further, thanks!

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Jen Wike Huger
Open Sourcerer

Thanks Robin and Tom! Would either of you be interested in elaborating further for our audience?

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jrh

and you overlooked http://richtech.ca/openadmin/

Open Admin for Schools is a School Administration Program. It is a freely available, open source software package and is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

It is entirely web based and can run from a centrally located division wide server or a single computer in a school. It is designed to support an entire division on one or more central computers but can also work just fine for a single school. Currently several school divisions use this approach and have 15+ schools on a single central server. This is because it is designed to be lightweight both in server resource requirements and in communication bandwidth.

It is secure. Each school has two or more virtual websites and each is protected with password(s). One site, the 'admin' site, is used by the school office and another, the 'teacher' site, is used by teachers in the classroom. The teacher site also has password access for entering attendance by teachers and also uses cookies that expire in a short period, further limiting access. Another site, a parent/student site, is controlled by parent/student userid's and passwords. A fourth virtual site may be used by school liason officers from outside agencies to give them a slightly different access to school information. (Community Schools). A new version will support a single site using SSL to encrypt all traffic (like your bank).

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robinmuilwijk
Open Sourcerer

@Jen,

I'm an absolute fan of Open Source. I've got some followers on Twitter that pointed me out to schooltool.org when I posted this article on Twitter. I've not used it myself though.

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robb

I am missing the differentiation between ict class control software (like epoptes) and school admin software like schooltool and openadmin for schools. What happened to iTalc?

As a 3rd important section of types of 'school' software you could add electronic learning environments like moodle, chamilo and open sankoré.

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Gregg Ferrie

Thanks for the article Jason. It might be interesting to note that in British Columbia we are a year and a half into an enterprise-scale Student Information System called openStudent. Unlike most other SI systems, this student information system is being built to operate at the multi-district, state or province level. It encompasses a role-based security model, distributed hosting, cross-enrolment, continuous entry and many other significant advantages. It is also designed to interoperate with other district and school programs though the use of LDAP and other protocols. The core program is designed for elementary schools and will begin beta testing by April 2013. Embedded Reporting, Ad Hoc and business analysis is facilitated with the community version of JasperSoft Business Intelligence software. Functionality for middle and secondary schools will be available by 2014.
We have chosen the Educational Community License 2.0 for openStudent in much the same way the Kuali Foundation uses this license for its projects. For more information go to:

http://www.openstudent.ca/

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Jen Wike Huger
Open Sourcerer

Thanks Gregg! Great info.

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gferrie
Open Minded

Thanks very much for the comment Jen. Since 2000 we have been implementing open source software in schools using Linux as the operating system and a host of OS applications. As an example, our students began by using StarOffice, then OpenOffice and now LibreOffice - quite a progression over the years.

The openStudent project is a logical outcome of our use of open source software and I would be very pleased to elaborate on the history and what led us up to this point.

Thanks again for the articles you and so many others contribute. It's one of my primary sources of open source information.

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Anivar Aravind

The sad part is primary key for student entry in sampoorna (fedina implimentation in Kerala) is aadhaar number. This software was used as a privacy invading tool by government of kerala for the mandatory stealing of biometric and iris data of all school children in kerala . Aadhaar card does not have any law backing till this date , and a parliamentary standing committee rejected the bill to give legal backing . Sometime back National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has ordered an inquiry in this matter based on our complaint http://asiancorrespondent.com/68344/probe-ordered-into-kerala-govt-move-...

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Bob

openSIS is one of the best and widely used student information system / school management system . As it is open source so it is cheap to acquire, and the technical support that openSIS team provides is the best compared to others.

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Ken Barth

HI , I am very interested in an open source K to 12 on line learning curriculum. I would like to find a supplement for a child or parents that want to offer a curriculum in step with their respective grade level. In our case it might not be used by the teachers or sanctioned byt the school so it will be truly a supplement to their school day.

thank you

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bigGy99
Community Member

I've been built Academic Information Systems using Open Source. Beside the security, quality and customizability, another ‘wins’ are we can reduce the complexity and improve the maintainability of software.
Great article!

Cheers
AirMedia

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