Everyone within education agrees that the best use for teachers' time is teaching. The less time they have to spend worrying about the peripheral and administrative tasks, the more time they can spend engaging with their students and pedagogy and using technology as an enabler and facilitator rather than a hindrance.
Last week Microsoft unveiled two new Education services: Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync. Simplifying connections between systems, and simplifying communication and collaboration between teachers and students, Class Dashboard and School Information Sync will be available to Office 365 education users at no additional charge.
Today we're going to take a closer look at School Information Sync, and introduce some of the features and uses of this new educational service from Microsoft. The following text is an extract from a post on the main Microsoft in Education Blog.
Introducing School Information Sync
Schools and districts are looking for ways to ease the challenge of connecting their data and systems. School Information Sync automates and simplifies the complex and manual processes of connecting school Student Information System (SIS) data with educational apps and class websites. It syncs user profiles and class rosters from a school or district SIS, provisions groups and class websites, enables single sign-on (SSO), and allows learning apps to access student data over an encrypted connection. Because security and privacy are so important, schools and districts determine which apps can access student data, so they can remain in compliance with their policies. With School Information Sync and Office 365, teachers spend less time managing administrative access to class materials and more time with students.
"School Information Sync will simplify the way we keep student profiles up to date across Office 365 and apps. Our students will log in once and access the apps we use. It saves time and simplifies access to important learning tools. We plan to expand our usage next school year and think School Information Sync will help make the back to school season a breeze," said John Nasset, Student Information Systems Manager, Helena (MT) Public Schools.
Education partners are also looking for easier and faster ways to work with school data systems. With this service, SIS vendors will be able to support more apps with integration through a single API, allowing them to more efficiently provide access to classroom data. Districts may enable third-party applications to access student data to personalize learning experiences, all at no charge via cloud APIs, and let students enjoy the benefits of single sign-on with Office 365. With School Information Sync, ISVs will be able to deliver SIS independent applications faster than ever.
Bryan MacDonald, Managing Director of School Systems, PowerSchool, says "PowerSchool is the market leading Student Information System. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to deliver a more integrated experience between PowerSchool and Office 365. Over 40 million parents, students and teachers rely on PowerSchool on a daily basis and through our integration with Office 365 we seek to drive improvements in both classroom and back-office productivity."
"Two-thirds of U.S. school districts use our assessment and instruction programs, and we are excited about the single sign-on and data sync benefits Office 365 offers students and teachers," said Jack Lynch, CEO of Renaissance Learning. "We are always looking for ways to make educators' work easier, and streamlining the use of programs like ours with information systems and productivity tools is a win-win for schools and the organizations that serve them."