WO2009039569A1 - Management system and method - Google Patents

Management system and method

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Publication number
WO2009039569A1
WO2009039569A1 PCT/AU2008/001419 AU2008001419W WO2009039569A1 WO 2009039569 A1 WO2009039569 A1 WO 2009039569A1 AU 2008001419 W AU2008001419 W AU 2008001419W WO 2009039569 A1 WO2009039569 A1 WO 2009039569A1
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
management
screen
system
figure
education
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/AU2008/001419
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Grant William Grosser
Original Assignee
Grant William Grosser
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management

Abstract

An education management system (1) includes a database management system (4) comprising a server and a database and is coupled to via a data communication network (9) to one or more remote terminals (5) such as personal computers or notebook computers. The education management system displays a series of screens or pages that allow a user to input and view information relating to a variety of education management tasks such as timetables, day planners, programs and assessments in a way that replicates the conventional planner/diary used by teachers. The server and database are also coupled to an administration server (8) which stores general educational institution data such as student details which can then be accessed via the education management system. This has the advantage of providing an electronic form of the conventional teachers' planner that is easy to use and navigate.

Description

Management System and Method

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a management system and method particularly for schools and educational establishments. In particular, the management system provides a system for creating, recording, automating and outputting information relevant to the professional daily activities of teachers and educators.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise" and variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

Furthermore, throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "include" and variations such as "includes" or "including", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

Background Art

The following discussion of the background to the invention is intended to facilitate an understanding of the present invention only. It should be appreciated that the discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to was published, known or part of the common general knowledge of the person skilled in the art in any jurisdiction as at the priority date of the invention.

In their professional daily activities, teachers have to carry out a variety of duties and tasks, including: classroom teaching, curriculum programming and planning, the production of teaching resources, the production of assessment instruments, marking and recording of assessment results; and recording attendance and details of student behaviour and other pastoral care issues. All of this requires a significant amount of paperwork and meticulous planning. It is usual for teachers to use a daily planner in which they record attendance, keep their teaching timetable, record test marks and other assessment details and so on. In addition, they usually develop and use a variety of assessment instruments and tools such as test papers. These are created in a variety of different forms and can be stored in a variety of locations with varying degrees of success. In addition, teachers have to provide regular reports to students and their carers outlining their performance and attainment. All of these activities add to a teacher's work requirements and can add considerably to a teacher's workload: sometime to the detriment of their classroom teaching.

There are a variety of systems currently available that aim to automate some of these duties. However, they are often just as time consuming as the traditional methods and, most often, actually increase a teacher's workload. Some known software systems for education management are difficult to use and are often clumsy and counter-intuitive.

Disclosure of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an education management system comprising a database management system comprising a server and a database coupled thereto, the database management system being arranged for communication with a remote terminal, and operable to display a graphical user interface at the remote terminal to facilitate operation of the education management system, wherein the database management system is further operable to display through the graphical user interface a plurality of screens for displaying and/or for inputting of data relating to education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task.

Preferably, the database management system is operable to display the screens in a hierarchical manner such that screens related to common education management tasks are displayed at a higher level with screens relating to subsequent tasks selected through the common education management task screens.

Preferably, the database is a relational database. Preferably, the screens are presented at the graphical user interface as facsimile pages.

Preferably, the screens are presented at the graphical user interface having the look and feel of a conventional daily planner, files and other documents as used by a teacher.

Preferably, the graphical user interface includes a browser for displaying the pages therein.

Preferably, the database management system is coupled to an administration server, the administration server being arranged to store student data accessible by the database management system.

Preferably, the server is operable to be in data communication with the administration server to import data therefrom to thereby operate as a live database connection.

Preferably, the database management system is further operable to print supporting documentation as required.

Preferably, the database management system is operable to generate and send notices and alerts to the remote terminals.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of managing educational tasks, the method comprising the steps of accessing an education management system comprising a database management system and comprising a server and a database coupled thereto, using a remote terminal displaying a graphical user interface for facilitating operation of the education management system, the method comprising the steps of viewing and inputting data relating to the education management tasks via the graphical user interface using a plurality of screens for the displaying and/ or for inputting of data relating to the education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task. Preferably, the screens are displayed in a hierarchical manner such that screens related to common education management tasks are displayed at a higher level with screens relating to subsequent tasks selected through the common education management task screens.

Preferably, the screens are presented at the graphical user interface as facsimile pages.

Preferably, the pages are displayed in a browser.

Preferably, student data is stored at an administration server and the method includes the step of importing data from the administration database to the database to thereby operate as a live database connection.

In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided server for use with an education management system the education management system comprising the server and a database coupled thereto, the database management system being arranged for communication with a remote terminal, and operable to display a graphical user interface at the remote terminal to facilitate operation of the education management system, wherein the database management system is further operable to display through the graphical user interface a plurality of screens for displaying and/ or for inputting of data relating to education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task.

In accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided an education management system operable to display a plurality of screens within a graphical user interface displayed at a remote terminal, each of the plurality of screens displaying information relating to one or more educational tasks, additional screens being selectable via a current screen being displayed at the graphical user interface such that a user is able to navigate through the different screens to perform one or more education management tasks as required. Brief Description of the Drawings

The present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of the components of an education management system in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

Figures 2 is a screen shot of the view of pages displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 within a browser;

Figure 3 is a screen shot of the log in screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a screen shot of the timetable screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is a screen shot of the attendance screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 6 is a screen shot of the day planner screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 7 is a screen shot of the new program screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 8 is a screen shot of the program screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 9 is a screen shot of the assessment screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 10 is a screen shot of the new assessment screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ; Figure 11 is a screen shot of the marks screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 12 is a screen shot of the moderation screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 13 is a screen shot of the reports screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 14 is a screen shot of the student summary screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 15 is a screen shot of the correspondence screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 16 is a screen shot of the notices and alerts screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 17 is a screen shot of the attendance administration screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 18 is a screen shot of the administration screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 19 is a screen shot of the program list screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figures 20 to 24 are screen shots of various functions provided within the student information panel as displayed to the user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 25 is a screen shot of the counter bullying screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 26 is a screen shot of the student plan screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ; Figure 27 a screen shot of the sick bay screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 28 a screen shot of the comment entry pop up screen as displayed to a user of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 29 is a flow chart illustrating tasks carried out by teacher users of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 30 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the student detail tasks of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 31 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for writing programs of using education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 32 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for writing assessments using the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 33 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for writing lesson plans using the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 34 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the general classroom tasks using the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 35 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for entering school values for academic reports using the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 36 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for entering marks using the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 37 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the correspondence tasks of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 38 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the writing academic reports task of the education management system of Figure 1 ; Figure 39 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the overall process for academic reporting for the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 40 is a schematic flow chart illustrating resolving absences for the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 41 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for entering student plans and bullying information for the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 42 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for entering notices into the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 43 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for the attendance administration of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 44 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the grading process of the education management system of Figure 1 ;

Figure 45 is a schematic flow chart illustrating the process for the generation of reports using the education management system of Figure 1 ; and

Figures 46 to 50 are entity-relationship diagrams for a database of the system of Figure 1.

Best Mode(s) for Carrying Out the Invention

In Figure 1 , there is shown an embodiment of an education management system 1 in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

The education management system 1 comprises a server 2 and a database 3 coupled to the server 2. The server 2 and the database 3 comprise a database management system 4. In this embodiment, the database 3 is a relational database using a structured query language such as MySql™.

The server 2 is arranged to be coupled to one or more remote terminals 5, such as notebook personal computers. These terminals 5 are used by teachers, or school administrators, to access the database management system 4. Each terminal 5 includes a web browser 160 or other suitable graphical user interface that is used to access the database management system 4. The terminals 5 are coupled to the server 2 via a router or switch 7. The router 7 can also be coupled to an administration server 8 used by the school or educational establishment using the education management system 1. The administration server 8 stores data comprising general student information, such as, for example, name, roll group, year, house, contact details, medical details, and timetable, that may be accessed via the education management system 1. Terminals 5 can be coupled to the router 7 by a data communication means 9 such as a wireless or wired connection, a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN) or the Internet. The communication protocol is the TCP/IP protocol well known to persons skilled in the art.

When the system is installed in a number of locations, such as campuses or schools within a school system, all of the individual database instances can be interrogated from a central location, such as head office server 10 which is also coupled to the data communication means 9.

An ID assignment server 11 is also provided that allocates database keys to all database instances ensuring that there is no duplication of these keys. The ID assignment server 11 is arranged to be coupled to many instances of the database via the data communication means 9.

The server 2 runs a software module written for example using AJAX ("asynchronous JavaScript and XML") for enabling the functionality described below. The use and operation of Ajax is known to persons skilled in the art and need not be described in any further detail herein. The browser and the AJAX module combine to provide the functionality of the education management system

1. The terminals 5 only require the browser (and an operating system) to access the functionality of the system. No additional software is required. The AJAX software module enables the server 2 to be in data communication with the

, administration server 8 to import data therefrom into the database 3, operating as a live database connection. In this way, the administration server 8 is accessed via the education management system 1. Data is dynamically drawn from the administration server 8 as required by the education management system 1.

The use of databases, web and application servers to deliver systems to users using the Internet or other Wide Area Networks is well known to persons skilled in the art and need not be described in any further detail herein except as is relevant to the present invention.

The interface between a user and the education management system 1 is via the graphical user interface (GUI)/browser using a visual display 6 of the terminal 5 being used by a particular user. The user is able to use and access the database management system 4 by means of a number of pages displayed to the user via the visual display 6.

Using a pointer or other symbol and a pointing device such as a mouse or keypad the user is able to navigate the one or more pages and select, control and manipulate data and functions to provide the requisite functionality as will be described further. The use of GUI's, displays and pointing devices is well known to persons skilled in the art and need not be described in any further detail herein except as is relevant to the present invention.

The education management system 1 will be further described with reference to the GUI and the way in which information is displayed to the user via the visual display 6, and how the user can use this GUI to carry out the required activities.

The user accesses the education management system 1 by opening up a web browser and typing in a specific URL in the usual, known manner. The use of web browsers and the Internet is well known to persons skilled in the art and need not be described in any further detail herein, except as is relevant to the present invention.

The education management system 1 is operable to display a plurality of different screens to the user - as will be described in further detail below. Each screen will enable a user to read and input data and to access further screens relating to different or related education management tasks as will also be described below. In this way, a user is able to navigate through the different screens to perform one or more education management tasks as required.

The user will initially be presented with an opening log in screen 100 - see Figure 3.

The education management system 1 allows a user such as a teacher or administrator to carry out a number of education management tasks such as write programs and assessments, mark attendance, write reports, record pastoral care issues as will be described in further detail below. Furthermore the supporting documentation such as the assessments, reports and programs can be stored on the database 3 and printed off as required.

All of the screens described in this embodiment are designed to generate the 'look and feel' of a conventional daily planner, files and other documents as commonly used by teachers. In this embodiment, this is in the form of a plurality of screens that can be selected by pointing on tabs 122,123, 124, 125,, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 151, 152 158, 159 161 , 163, 164. These tabs are created to visually resemble conventional page tabs and the screens to resemble conventional pages of a planner, files and other documents. These tabs 122, 123, 124, 125, , 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 151 , 152 158, 159 161 , 163, 164 represent different tasks or processes that may be performed by users of the education management system 1 such as teachers and administrators, which are selected by using the pointer device to select these tabs. The tasks/processes that can be accessed include:

• Student attendance;

• Behaviour and pastoral care information;

• Student and family information;

• Academic programme and resource/assessment instrument development; • Marks book and progress mapping;

• Academic reporting;

• Document repository;

• Data analysis;

• Timetabling; and

• Communications.

These functions are summarised below.

Attendance

Student attendance is recorded using an interface that looks like the manual attendance sheet that a teacher would use. It shows the record not only of the current day, but a longitudinal record, integrating with the programming module, that highlights the dates of assessments, enabling the teacher to quickly see patterns of non-attendance, particularly with respect to assessment dates. Teachers can switch directly from this interface to the day planner (see Figure 6) for the missed dates and from there print out any worksheets, assessments, or resources, for example, that the student may have missed. The recording of parental notes providing reasons for absence is done from within the attendance screen.

Behaviour and pastoral care information

From within any of the screens teachers can quickly and easily record and display information pertaining to pastoral care, such as behaviour infringements or details of sensitive home situations. Anything entered here becomes available for viewing by those staff that are responsible for the follow-up and pastoral care of the student. An inbuilt messaging/alerts system allows the pastoral care personnel to quickly notify relevant staff of sensitive situations, such as a death in the family, in a discrete manner, ensuring that those who need to know find out in a timely manner and can provide the appropriate level of support. Behaviour data can be interrogated for patterns to ensure that there is early intervention for students who require support, ensuring that students don't slip through the net and that the school is able to fulfil its duty of care in a consistent and systematic manner.

A system is also available for the management of student plans, being methods of ensuring that special needs students are properly managed by the school.

A further system is available for the management of bullying and analysis of this data to help schools make decisions about the best strategies for reducing the incidence of bullying.

Student and family information

This data is accessible from anywhere within the education management system 1 , ensuring that teachers have ready access to critical information regarding a student's medical, home, disability, custody and other information in a timely manner. A teacher can readily check up on a student's medical condition, for example, in class if they are concerned that a student may be looking a little ill, ensuring that a diabetic child is given appropriate attention, or that a student with learning disabilities is given appropriate in-class support. Another example is, when a teacher needs to contact a parent they can easily not only access the contact details quickly, but custody information to ensure that the correct parent is contacted.

Academic programme and resource/assessment instrument development

Teachers are able to build their teaching/learning programs within the system - see Figure 8. Relevant data entered at this point is passed through to other areas such as the daily planner or assessment area. For example, if a teacher enters broad-brush detail for the content of week 1 , this data is automatically displayed in the day planner where a more detailed lesson plan can be drafted. The outcomes or curriculum information prescribed by a state or country's education department can be drawn into the education management system 1 and used to quickly populate programs rather than needing to re-type all of the information. When building assessments the teacher can use the page illustrated in Figure 10. The teacher simply selects the relevant parts from the subset of curriculum information created in the teaching/learning program, adds the specific details of the assessment, assigns the submission date and prints out the cover sheet. The assessment date is automatically inserted back into the teaching/learning program.

Marks book and progress mapping

Having written their teaching/learning program and constructed their assessments, a marks screen 111 is automatically generated by the education management system 1. When a teacher has marked an assessment, they simply enter the marks or levels via the marks screen 111. A student's record over a variety of subjects can be viewed quickly and easily, providing a map of that student's academic progress.

Academic reporting

Because the education management system 1 records marks for all subjects dynamically, the data can be interrogated in such a way that the traditional 'reporting period' in a school is not required. Academic reports can be issued at any time and progress across the range of subjects can be instantly accessed for any student or range of students. At its highest level of functionality, an administrator need only choose the range of students for which academic reports are to be issued and click the print button for the desired report. A school may report on other aspects or add personalised comments and this variation is built into the academic management system 1 , allowing the teacher to enter it at any time rather than during what was formerly a highly stressful reporting period.

Document repository A document repository is included for archiving of reports and management of teaching/learning documents. In terms of archiving, the database 3 includes a folder structure for the storage of these documents. An individual folder is created for each student and any academic reports or communications generated within the education management system 1 are automatically archived into that folder, removing the need to print and physically archive them within the database 3. Further, documents created by teachers for their teaching/learning program are saved to a file for that class/subject and a dynamic index of these files is created from which links can easily be inserted into the teaching/learning program or assessment builder. Documents, websites, multimedia presentations and videos can then be launched directly from the day planner, program or assessment builder.

Data analysis

The server 2 is operable to analyse the data stored in the database 3 to provide reports and information. Due to the dynamic and up-to-date nature of the data stored within the education management system 1 , the data analysis possibilities are incredibly powerful. An administrator, teacher, pastoral carer, Principal or even Education Department can, within seconds, access a range or reports and data pertaining to any of the data aspects stored within the system. State and national governments require a range of data to be reported for accountability purposes and this can be output at the click of a button. Comparisons of cohorts, attendance vs. achievement, behaviour vs. attendance and other complex statistical tools are built into the system, giving schools high level data for planning and making responsible, accountable decisions. Such analysis has previously been out of the reach of most schools as the complexity of bringing all of these data sources together was not feasible.

Timetabling

The education management system 1 includes a timetable which can be either manually entered or is dynamically linked to the school's administration database 8. A user is able to select a particular teaching period, and that will take the user to the attendance record for that lesson, and any screens subsequently selected will be in context of the subject initially chosen.

Communications

A broad range of the letters and communications that teachers use on a daily basis are generated in a semi automated fashion within the education management system 1. A letter notifying a parent of a student's poor mark in an exam, for example, is generated in about a minute, proofed and ready to be printed on the school letterhead.

Individual teacher tasks within the education management system 1 will now be described in further detail.

Figure 29 outlines the various tasks that a teacher can carry out with the education management system 1. These tasks are as follows:

• View Student Details;

• Write Programs;

• Write Assessments;

• Write Lesson Plans;

• Carry out general in-class tasks;

• Enter Marks;

• Write letters to parents; and

• Write Academic Reports.

When a teacher wishes to use the education management system 1 , the teacher opens up their web browser to access the application as described above, using a remote terminal 5 and types in a URL in a known way. The teacher will be presented with the login screen 100 (Figure 3) in which the teacher can log in using a User Name and Password in a known way.

Once the teacher has logged in successfully then he is provided with a view of his timetable via a Timetable Screen 104 (Figure 4).

The teacher or user can return to the timetable screen 104 by selecting a main icon 200 displayed on vertical spine 140 of the login screen 100 and all other screens - which in the embodiment described herein is the SEQTA™ logo. Once a class is selected from the timetable, all subsequent screens are in context of that chosen class. If the teacher wishes to go back to the timetable in the future, they click on or select the main icon 200 - the SEQTA™ logo. As the main icon 200 is displayed upon the vertical spine 140 of the screen, this main icon 200 is available in all screens. In this manner, the main icon 200 provides an expedient way for a teacher to choose a different class context.

The teacher can then navigate through the education management system 1 to select the required tasks/functions by selecting classes in the timetable screen 104 and/ or using the tabs 121 , 122, 123, 124, 125, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 151 , 152, 158, 159, 161 , 163, 164 and the student information panel 132 as will be described in further detail below.

Adjacent the timetable screen 104 and other function screens described below is a student information panel 132 (see Figures 20 to 24). The student information panel 132 displays a summary of information about a selected student - as will be described in further detail below. Figure 2 illustrates how the timetable screen 104 and the adjacent student information panel are displayed to the teacher in his browser.

At the timetable screen 104, the teacher is able to access two first level functional aspects: the day planner and the student summary. These are accessible via a day planner tab 122 and a student summary tab 123. Selecting the day planner tab 122 will take the teacher to the day planner screen 106 (Figure 6) that displays a day planner. Different days can be selected using a calendar icon 128. By default, that day's lessons for the teacher are displayed. Via this day planner screen 106, the teacher can access further tasks: programs and assessments, by selecting the respective tabs 124, 125.

Attendance is accessed from the day planner screen 106 (Figure 6). By selecting the attendance icon 150 corresponding to the appropriate class within the day planner screen 106 the attendance screen 105 (Figure 5) being accessible after selection of the attendance icon 150 adjacent the relevant lesson.

The steps for viewing a student's details are illustrated in Figure 30. A teacher can access student details by selecting the student from a current class via the day planner screen 106 and the attendance screen 105 (Figure 5), which is automatically displayed once the attendance icon 150 is selected next to the appropriate class in the day planner screen 106. The teacher can then select the student from the class list and then select the information button 120 on the student information panel 132 displayed adjacent the attendance screen 105.

If a student is in a teacher's class, the teacher can select him by selecting from any 'list' for that class such as, for example, attendance or marks book. The selected student then becomes the currently displayed student in the student information panel 132.

Alternatively, as mentioned above, a range of details can be accessed via the student information panel 132 by selecting the student from the drop down list 131 and then selecting the information button 120. Accordingly, if the student is not in the teacher's class, or the teacher is not in a screen that has the class list, the teacher may select the student from the Select Student drop down list 131 , which provides access to every student, irrespective of timetable. Detailed information about student behaviour, attendance and academic achievement can be viewed via the student summary screen 114 (Figure 14) which is accessed from the timetable screen 104 then selecting the student summary screen 114 by selecting the student summary tab 123. The student information panel 132 includes additional icons or buttons to access other functions/information. The other buttons from left to right as shown in the student information panel 132 (for example as illustrated in Figure 2) are attendance 121 , medical 154, behaviour 155 and timetable 157.

If a teacher wishes to write a student plan for a student with special needs, this is done using the student plan screen 126 (Figure 26) accessed via the student summary screen 114. The student summary screen 114 is accessed via the timetable screen 104 by selecting the student summary tab 123. Once in the student summary screen 114, the user selects the student plan tab 151 and is taken to the student plan screen 126. After completing the details of the student plan, the user saves the plan and this is stored in the database 3. Figure 41 shows the process for entering student plans.

If a teacher wishes to enter data about a bullying incident this is done using the counter bullying screen 162 (Figure 25) accessed via the student summary screen 114. The student summary screen 114 is accessed via the timetable screen 104 by selecting the student summary tab 123. Once in the student summary screen 114, the user selects the counter bullying tab 152 and is taken to the counter bullying screen 162. After completing the details of the bullying incident, the user saves the plan and this is stored in the database 3. Figure 41 shows the process for entering bullying information.

If a teacher wishes to write a program for a particular course, the teacher is able to access a new program screen 107 (Figure 7) via the timetable screen 104. The teacher selects the appropriate class for which the program is to be created within the timetable screen 104.

If there is an 'active' program for the class, this program will be displayed; however, if there is no active program for the class, then a list of all programs is displayed in a program list screen 119 (Figure 19).

This screen can also be displayed by selecting the 'List' button 148 on the program screen 108. The program list screen 119 includes a 'New' button146, which, if selected displays the new program screen 107 (Figure 7).

The teacher creates the program details in the new program screen 107, saves these details using a 'Save' button 145 and then returns to the program screen 108. The act of saving returns the teacher back to the program screen 108. The procedures are illustrated in Figure 31. All the details are saved back on the database 3. All saved programs are accessible via the program screen 108 (Figure 8) as described above. Alternatively, the teacher can go to the daily planner screen 106 and select the program screen 108 from there.

The teacher is able to share or copy the program to other classes using the 'share' or 'copy' facility 143. The teacher selects the class with which it is to be shared or copied via a drop down list 144. The link to this class is stored in the database 3 and this program will therefore be stored and displayed when the other class is selected.

Programs can be edited via the program list screen 119 be selecting an 'Edit' button 147 adjacent the requisite program.

If a teacher wishes to write an assessment for a particular course, the teacher is able to access an assessment screen 110 (Figure 10) via the timetable screen 104. The teacher selects the appropriate class for which the assessment is to be created from the timetable screen 104 and is taken to the program screen 108. The teacher then clicks on the '+' button 153 in the assessment column and is taken to the assessment screen 109. The teacher then writes the assessment details in the spaces provided and, on saving the data is written back to the database 3. The assessment screen 110 also allows the teacher to edit existing assessments. The procedure is illustrated in Figure 32.

The teacher creates and saves assessment details back on the database 3. After saving the assessment details, the teacher is returned to the assessment screen 109. When new assessments are written, corresponding details are automatically updated in the marks screen 111 , in the attendance screen 105 and in the program details in the daily planner screen 106.

Lesson plans are input via the day planner screen 106 (Figure 6). The process is illustrated in Figure 33. The teacher selects the relevant day via a calendar 128 and the lessons, and the plans for that lesson, for that day are displayed. The display for each lesson can be expanded or collapsed. The teacher types in the plan for that lesson in the relevant space 129 for the lesson. Again, all details are stored back at the database 3.

Figure 34 illustrates a teacher's general in-class tasks. The teacher logs on then navigates to the day planner screen 106.

If a teacher wishes to mark attendance for a particular class, the teacher can select the attendance screen 105 (Figure 5) by selecting the attendance icon 150 next to the correct class in the day planner screen 106. The teacher is then able to mark the students in their class as absent or present using the pointer and pointing device in the usual way. This data is then stored in the database 3 in accordance with the data model described in further detail below.

The teacher may wish to refer to his day planner to note the planned lesson for that teaching period. The teacher selects the day planner screen 106 using the day planner tab 122 (Figure 6) and the planned lessons for each period are displayed therein. The teacher can view the day planner screen 106 for other days by selecting the desired day on the calendar 128.

If teacher needs to print resources such as worksheets for that lesson, then the teacher can go to these by clicking on the resources link 130. The link to the resources is provided through the program screen 108 (Figure 8) which is selected by clicking on the appropriate class in the timetable screen 104. This program screen 108 details the program for a particular subject and includes details of assessments, resources and any other information related to the individual program. These resources are displayed and can be printed in a known way. Alternatively, the teacher can print resources and details of assessments by selecting them directly from the resources link 130' displayed in the day planner screen 106 within the entry for that lesson. Assessments may similarly be shown in the daily planner screen 106 as links that may be clicked on by the teacher to facilitate printing thereof.

If the teacher is required to enter or view other information such as student behaviour, medical information and so on, then the teacher can select these from the student information panel 132.

For the next class, the teacher returns to the day planner 106 by clicking firstly on the selected icon 200 to return to the timetable screen 104 then clicking on the day planner tab 122 in the timetable screen 104. This process is repeated for each subsequent class.

The teacher can simply select the log out icon 201 if he wishes to leave the education management system 1.

Should the teacher wish to enter or read information about the student then this is done via the student information panel 132, and details are stored on the database 3 also.

To do this, the teacher can select the student via a drop down list 131 in the student information panel 132 and select the attendance button 121 for behaviour. Alternatively, the teacher can select the student from a class list in the attendance screen 105 or the marks book screen 111 and then select the behaviour button 121 from the student information panel 132. Various information can be viewed or input such as medical information (Figure 22); their timetable (Figure 24); attendance (Figure 20); and their contact details (Figure 21) by selecting the appropriate button 121 , 154, 155, 157 as described above. Marks are entered by selecting the marks screen 111 (Figure 11). The correct marks screen 111 for the relevant course is selected via the assessments screen 109. The assessments screen 109 is accessed clicking on the assessments tab 125 in the program screen 108 for the relevant class. As marks are entered they are automatically calculated via an algorithm programmed to meet the needs of the particular grading paradigm selected when creating a new program in the new program screen 107. Grading paradigms are well known to persons skilled in the art and as such appropriate algorithms are also well known. On saving they are stored in the database 3. Figure 36 illustrates the process for entering marks.

To write a letter to a parent, the teacher selects the student summary screen 114 (Figure 14) by selecting the student summary tab 123 via the timetable screen 104. From the student summary screen 114, the teacher selects the correspondence tab 133 which takes the teacher to a correspondence screen 115 (Figure 15) in which the teacher can write the required correspondence. This process is illustrated schematically in Figure 37.

Some schools require additional information when compiling academic reports. To enter these extra report values, the teacher selects the Enter School Report Values field 157 on the student summary screen 114 an enters the appropriate values by selecting the '+' on the Enter School Report Values field 157, selecting the appropriate timetable period and entering values and comments. The steps are illustrated schematically in Figure 35. To generate academic reports, the teacher uses the marks screen 111 and accesses it as described above. The marks screen 111 includes fields for entering affective domain descriptor values and for entering comments. Comments regarding the student's behaviour can be selected from a predefined comment bank or written individually using a comment entry pop up screen 128 (Figure 28). The predefined comments are stored in the database 3 in a look-up table or other suitable location. This process is illustrated in Figure 38. The overall reporting process is illustrated in Figure 39

The education management system 1 also includes administration functions for setting parameters such as calendar and course types. These functions would generally be performed by a school administrator who would access the education management system 1 in the same as a teacher or other user. As described above, an administrator would log in via the log in screen 100. As described above, after log in the timetable screen 104 would be displayed. A notice or alert can be created to be sent to all on the system via the notices and alerts screen 116 (Figure 16), or to individual teachers. For global notices, these are input via the administration screen 118 by selecting the school notices field. This message will then be displayed in the notices and alerts screen 116.

If a notice is to an individual teacher and relating to a specific student, then the administrator can select the student from the student information panel 132 as described above, and then select the behaviour button 121 from the student information panel 132. A message can be typed in and the appropriate teacher selected and the message posted to the teacher. Figure 23 illustrates the student information panel 132 as used for this purpose. Figure 42 illustrates schematically the steps involved in creating notices and alerts.

Attendance administration allows attendance data to be edited or viewed and reports produced. Attendance administration is done via the attendance administration screen 117 (Figure 17). The attendance administration screen 117 is accessed by selecting the attendance administration tab 135 from the administration screen 118. The attendance administration screen 117 allows the administrator to enter attendance details such as leaving times, authorisation details and absence type as well as any additional notes. The data can relate to groups or individuals. The steps involved in this process are illustrated schematically in Figure 43. Excursion permission forms can also be printed from the attendance administration screen 117 by selecting the excursion button 156 after completing all the attendance details on the attendance administration screen 117.

Figure 44 schematically illustrates the process for moderation. It is necessary before going to the timetable screen 104 to select the relevant timetable period.

This is done by accessing the timetable screen 104 and selecting the correct timetable period in the dropdown selection box 139 in the usual way. Once the correct timetable period has been selected, then the administrator can go into the administration screen 118 in the usual way then clicks on the moderation task from the list of administration tasks. This takes the administrator to the moderation screen 112 (Figure 12). In the moderation screen 112, the administrator (or teacher) is able to select the class, adjust cut-offs for grades, manually adjust grades and so on. The data is checked and a statistical analysis of the spread of data provided. This data can be used to check that the spread is acceptable and thus allow the administrator/teacher to make adjustments as appropriate.

The education management system 1 allows reports to be provided.

A report screen 113 (Figure 13) allows the administrator to carry out this process, the steps of which are illustrated schematically in Figure 45. The report screen 113 is accessed through the administration screen 118 and by selecting the relevant field. From the reports screen 113 various categories of reports can be selected and the relevant parameters for these reports selected. Reports can include pastoral care reports, analysis reports, and academic reports and so on. The reports can also be printed from this screen.

As described above, the education management system 1 is provided by a database management system 4 based on a relational database structure. The data model for this is described below with reference to the entity relationship diagram of Figures 46 to 52.

By structuring the workflow hierarchy in a logical workflow and so structuring the database 3 as described above and in relation to Figures 46 to 50,, the different functions are displayed in a hierarchical manner in such a way that that screens related to common education management tasks are displayed at a higher level with screens relating to subsequent tasks selected through the common education management task screens. So, for example by firstly accessing the timetable a user is able to access other lower level tasks such as attendance or the day planner or the student summary and from that lower level functions such as writing assessments or programs. In this way, the user is only a maximum of three 'clicks' or steps from any desired function. The data structure comprises a number of tables related as shown in Figures 46 to 50. There are a number of major tables, and there are also general tables, look up tables, and join tables.

These entity relationship diagrams in Figures 46 to 50 relate to the following functions:

Attendance (Figure 46);

Pastoral Care (Figure 47);

Programs and Assessment (Figure 48);

Student/Staff Information (Figure 49); and

Timetable (Figure 50).

Tables will be described in further detail below with reference to Figures 46 to 50:

Assessment

This table is the main organiser for assessments, with header information being stored against which multiple entries are made in the Assesmentdetail and Assessmentoutcome tables.

Assessmentassessmentdetail

Join table linking the Assessmentdetail and Assessment tables

Assessmentassessmentoutcome

Join table linking the Assessment and Outcome tables.

Assessmentdetail

This table stores the details of the assessments, each record becomes a 'check box1 on the assessment cover sheet that allows students to tick off that they have done that part of the assessment. Marks are not allocated to each of these assessment details, rather these details allow the teacher to make explicit what the student needs to do to fill the requirements of the assessment.

Assessmentoutcome

Contains details of outcomes/marks for each assessment. There can be multiple entries for each entry in Assessment. Target is the 'maximum' score possible for each outcome/mark. Also contains a 'text' field to allow teachers to enter extra detail for the heading of the column in the marks book

Assessmentoutcomescore

Contains the actual score achieved for each entry in Assessmentoutcome. Score may be numeric (traditional marks or percentages) or alpha-numeric (to accommodate levels for outcomes and work marked using letter grades).

Attendance

A record for every student-classinstance. A value is stored to show whether a student was present, absent - unresolved, absent-resolved or absent - excursion (present, but not in class).

Attendancesolution

This table allows a 'note' or explanation for an absence to be applied to many 'incidences' or absences. For example, if a student has an absence entry for a number of periods in a day, or a number of periods over a number of days the ResolutionlD will be written back to the ResolutionlD field of all corresponding records in the Attendance table.

Attendancesolutionattendance

Join table linking the Attendancesolution and Attendance tables.

Authtype A lookup table providing input of the type of authorisation of an attendance. For example: Parent Note, Phone Call, SMS, Personal meeting, etc.

Behaviouralincident

This table is a Repository for incidents of bullying or other significant behavioural incidents. As there may be multiple complainants, perpetrators, victims or witnesses, these are stored in the Incidentinvolvement table.

Behavouralincidentincidentinvolvement

Join table linking the Behaviouralincidents and Incidentinvolvement tables.

Calendar Any part of the database 3 that draws on the timetable will also draw on calendar. Calendar lays out the template on which timetable is rolled out across a term, semester or year. Schools often have variations in their timetable days, and the calendar allows for these variations in timetable. For example, if a school wants to change a day - i.e have a Monday timetable on a Friday, this exception data is stored in this table. Another example is when a school is on a cyclical timetable and there is a public holiday, that date needs to be set as a holiday so that is skipped and the next cycle day is applied to the day after the holiday.

Classinstance

This is the data regarding the actual dated instance of a Classunit. Essentially it is the timetable mapped to calendar dates and students in the class.

Classinstanceattendance

Join table linking Classinstances and Attendance.

Classunit Contains information about each class on the timetable such as the subject, class number etc.

Classunitclassinstance

Join table linking the Classunit and Classinstance tables.

Classunitprogram

Join table linking the Classunit and Program tables.

Classunitstudent

Join table linking the Classunit and Student tables

Commentbank This table is a Repository of pre-written and proofed comments for academic reports that can teachers can insert into student reports.

Contact

Contains all of the contact details, such as addresses, phone numbers, email address etc of students, staff, emergency contacts, family doctors etc.

Coursetype

This is a lookup table and the value is stored in the Program table to determine which algorithm should be used for grading.

Cycle

Contains details of the timetable cycle such as how many days in the cycle, the names of each 'day' in the cycle, etc.

Cyclecycleperiod Join table linking the Cycle and Cycleperiod tables.

Cycleperiod

Contains information about periods and cycle days in the timetable.

Daymsg Contains date information about messages and notices to be delivered in and by the system.

Department

Contains information about the different departments within the school.

Entity This is a join table; however, its purpose is to allow a complex join between Daymsg on one side, and Student, Contact and Staff on the other.

House

Lookup table for students 'house' or 'faction'. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Incidentinvolvement

Contains details of students, staff or contacts who were involved in a behavioural incident, and their respective roles.

Msg

Contains the actual message body for messages that are delivered throught the system.

Msgreceived Contains information about whether a message is flagged as received.

Msgsent

Contains information about whether a message is flagged as being sent.

Nonteachingday Contains information about which days student will not be attending school in a given term, semester or year.

Outcome

This table holds data related to outcomes for outcomes-based courses. Each state in each country will need its own content.

Pastoralcare

Main Repository of anecdotal information about students as recorded by teachers. This includes issues such as behaviour infringements, commendations, merits, uniform infringements and similar.

Period Contains information about the periods in the day.

Program

This table is the 'central organization1 point for programs. As many of the program's subcomponents need to be able to store multiple values, there are a number of joined tables allowing this.

The education management system 1 may be operable to allow Programs to be assigned to other teachers, both in the same lesson or on other lessons.

Programassessment Join table linking the Program and Assessments tables.

Programdetail

Contains day by day details of the Program such as the Outline, Topic and Lesson Plan to be covered.

Preferably, the Lessonplan and Outline fields should be stored in some arrangement that allows some limited formatting of text such as font size, bold, italics and bullets.

Programdetailoυtcome

Join table linking the Programdetail and Outcome tables, effectively assigning Outcomes to a Program.

Programdetailresource

Join table linking the Programdetail and Resource tables.

Programgrade

This is the main repository for academic reporting information for a Program. It contains a 'moderated' grade (stored value as opposed to dynamic calculated value), and allows for storage of scores for affective domain descriptors and the comment chosen by the teacher from Commentbank.

Programprogramdetail

Join table linking the Program and Programdetail tables.

Resource

Main repository of data relating to the resources in a Program, including links to stored electronic documents, multimedia files and websites. Rollgroup

Lookup table for students Rollgroups which could be Form classes, Pastoral Care Groups or Home Groups. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Room

Lookup table containing information about the physical classrooms and learning areas in the school. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Sanction Contains information about sanctions such as detentions, yard duties and suspensions.

Sanctiontype

Lookup table containing details of the type of sanctions that can be allocated. .

Schoolyear Contains information about the grades or year groups.

Staff

Main Repository of information about school staff. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Staffdepartment Join table linking the Staff and Department tables.

Student Main Repository of personal information about students. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Studentassessmentoutcomescore

Join table linking the Student and Assessmetoutcomescore tables.

Studentcontact

Join table linking the Student and Contact tables.

Studentplan

This table stores the header information for students' individual plans such as Individual Education Plans, Medical Response Plans, Behaviour Management Plans, etc.

Studentplandetail

Contains details of student plans. There can be many Studentplandetails for each Studentplan.

Studentplanstudentplandetailt Join table linking the Studentplan and Studentplandetail tables.

Studentprogramgrade

Join table linking the Student and Programgrade tables.

Studentvalue

Contains extra information required for each student on academic reports.

Subject Lookup table for subjects. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Term

Contains information about the calendar terms, semesters or years. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Timetable

This is the main Repository of information used to draw the school timetable. Information in this table may be drawn from the administration server 8.

Timetableclassunit

Join table linking the Timetable and Classunit tables.

Timetableterm

Join table linking the Timetable and Term tables.

Xdsuser

Contains user names and passwords used for authenticating at log-in.

It should be appreciated by the person skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to the embodiments described, or education management, and in alternative embodiments could be used for the management and administration of other processes and tasks, and in non-education sectors.

Modifications and variations such as would be apparent to a skilled addressee are deemed to be within the scope of the present invention.

Claims

The Claim Defining the Invention is as Follows:
1. An education management system comprising a database management system comprising a server and a database coupled thereto, the database management system being arranged for communication with a remote terminal, and operable to display a graphical user interface at the remote terminal to facilitate operation of the education management system, wherein the database management system is further operable to display through the graphical user interface a plurality of screens for displaying and/ or for inputting of data relating to education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task.
2. An education management system according to claim 1 , wherein the database management system is operable to display the screens in a hierarchical manner such that screens related to common education management tasks are displayed at a higher level with screens relating to subsequent tasks selected through the common education management task screens.
3. An education management system according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the database is a relational database.
4. An education management system according to any preceding claim, wherein the screens are presented at the graphical user interface as facsimile pages.
5. An education management system according to claim 4, wherein the screens are presented at the graphical user interface having the look and feel of a conventional daily planner, files and other documents as used by a teacher. - 6 1 -
6. An education management system according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the graphical user interface includes a browser for displaying the pages therein.
7. An education management system according to any preceding claim, wherein the database management system is coupled to an administration server, the administration server being arranged to store student data accessible by the database management system.
8. An education management system according to claim 7, wherein the server is operable to be in data communication with the administration server to import data therefrom to thereby operate as a live database connection.
9. An education management system according to any preceding claim, wherein the database management system is further operable to print supporting documentation as required.
10.An education management system according to any preceding claim, wherein the database management system is operable to generate and send notices and alerts to the remote terminals.
11.A method of managing educational tasks, the method comprising the steps of accessing an education management system comprising a database management system and comprising a server and a database coupled thereto, using a remote terminal displaying a graphical user interface for facilitating operation of the education management system, the method comprising the steps of viewing and inputting data relating to the education management tasks via the graphical user interface using a plurality of screens for the displaying and/ or for inputting of data relating to the education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task.
12.A method according to claim 11 , wherein the screens are displayed in a hierarchical manner such that screens related to common education management tasks are displayed at a higher level with screens relating to subsequent tasks selected through the common education management task screens.
13. A method according to claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the screens are presented at the graphical user interface as facsimile pages.
14.A method according to claim 13, wherein the pages are displayed in a browser.
15.A method according to any one of claims 11 to 14, wherein student data is stored at an administration server and the method includes the step of importing data from the administration database to the database to thereby operate as a live database connection.
16.A server for use with an education management system the education management system comprising the server and a database coupled thereto, the database management system being arranged for communication with a remote terminal, and operable to display a graphical user interface at the remote terminal to facilitate operation of the education management system, wherein the database management system is further operable to display through the graphical user interface a plurality of screens for displaying and/ or for inputting of data relating to education management tasks, the screens being selectable by a user via the graphical user interface in dependence upon the required education management task.
17.An education management system operable to display a plurality of screens within a graphical user interface displayed at a remote terminal, each of the plurality of screens displaying information relating to one or more educational tasks, additional screens being selectable via a current screen being displayed at the graphical user interface such that a user is able to navigate through the different screens to perform one or more education management tasks as required.
18. An education management system as hereinbefore described with reference to Figures 1 to 50.
19.A method as hereinbefore described with reference to Figures 1 to 50.
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