Going to School with Microsoft SharePointAugust 12, 2011
Michael C. Pelletier, MBA, MSCS
Educators and administrators often look for ways to empower their teachers, engage their students and better communicate with parents and the community. Microsoft SharePoint offers a single, easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain platform to address those needs and more.
Teachers are empowered by providing online collaboration for:
- Storing information and collaborating with other teachers, students and administrators;
- Creating classroom sites to share materials with students such as homework, study projects, relevant videos, etc.; and,
- Monitoring and maintaining student performance information.
Students can now access classroom information either in the classroom or from any internet-attached computer on a 24/7 basis. Students today are growing up in the world of social media, and SharePoint offers a way to better engage the students by:
- Viewing classroom assignments and study projects – online – at anytime;
- Easy collaborationonline with other students on projects, anywhere and at anytime; and,
- Submitting homework and projects electronically – no more “the dog ate my homework” or “forgotten” assignments.
Engaging with parents and the community
Schools are a critical part of our lives and our communities – engaging and connecting with parents and the community in general is just as critical. Some ways to do this are:
- Easily creating and maintaining consistent-looking websites for each individual school as well as the educational program in general.
- Publishing information to many locations/sites from a single source.
- Providing a consistent look and feel for content and controls, no matter what application (Blackboard, PowerCAMPUS, etc.) is providing the information in the background.
- Providing a single source of information such as school guidelines, policies and other important information.
Simplifying administration and lowering management costs
Microsoft SharePoint can reduce technology costs and streamline time-sensitive dispersion of critical information from a single source. Providing school staff with a single point of access to things such as human resources, student performance and financial information can save time and increase productivity.
What’s more, there are quite a few educational tools on the market – each having their own strengths and weaknesses – and each offering a form of collaboration or portals. These can enable staff members to:
- Eliminate paper-based administrative processes by using the collaboration features available in SharePoint Server, or by using automated workflows to manage review or approval processes that you currently manage with paper-based systems; and,
- Improve collaboration and communication among teachers and administrators in that district.