When students don't turn up to school, there's normally an established procedure for how to handle it, that may involve contacting a parent, or keeping your fingers crossed to hope that a parent remembers to contact you. The challenge that many schools face is that it is time consuming and costly to manage student absence well.
I've just been sent a case study by OneNimbus in Melbourne, which has developed a system using Microsoft Lync to allow you to automate the process of calling parents and checking whether there is a genuine reason for absence, or there may be a need for further contact. It uses the daily attendance register to place a call to parents, plays an appropriate message over the phone, and then collects feedback from the parent – for example, it allows them to speak to a somebody in the school for a more detailed conversation. So it means that they can identify potential truancies much earlier by automating the contact process.
The case study is of St Pauls Grammar School in Penrith (you can read the messageLinx case study here)*.
As schools continue to move away from dedicated historic PBX systems onto voice-enabled IP telephony with Lync, it's interesting that in addition to reducing the overall cost of the phone system, it is also enabling much more efficient operation of the school – because the integrated communications systems can enable new ways of working.
* Although the case study is about it's use in a school, it got me thinking of a range of other scenarios this would be useful for in education – such as student recruitment and student retention in universities, or employer and stakeholder engagement in TAFEs.