[schooltool-dev] Configuration issues for schools

Tom Hoffman tom.hoffman at gmail.com
Tue Feb 10 13:35:24 UTC 2009

On Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 3:03 AM, Tim Holy <tim.holy at gmail.com> wrote:

 > 2. A more sophisticated and frequent task would be reporting. Currently,
>> > tuxmath saves data about how students do on the lessons. But we don't
>> yet
>> > have a GUI yet for visualizing that data. Is that something that we
>> should
>> > write as a standalone program (and we are considering doing so), or is
>> that
>> > the kind of thing that might be a module in SchoolTool or other program?
>> I
>> > can see advantages either way. What are your thoughts?
>> This is the part where it would be genuinely advantageous to work
>> directly with SchoolTool.  We could work out a way to just get scores
>> into a SchoolTool gradebook worksheet and then leverage all the other
>> machinery and reports around grading we have (or are working on...).
> I think this is well worth exploring further. I understand that you folks
> are in the middle of a sprint, and are pushing to finish a large body of
> material for your April release. So you can feel free to address these
> questions later. But here are my main questions:
> 1. Suppose a school is using a different (perhaps proprietary) program for
> SIS. Suppose further that, as much as I'd like to believe otherwise, neither
> TuxMath nor SchoolTool are of themselves enough to convince the district to
> dump its proprietary SIS [?]. Can SchoolTool be used as an adjunct, i.e.,
> installed largely for the purpose of administering TuxMath and any other
> free educational software projects that jump on this bandwagon? Is there any
> ability to interact with their main SIS? (If this would work, I would also
> imagine that it might be an opportunity for SchoolTool to strut its stuff,
> and start getting teachers asking why they're paying for that expensive
> thing...)

This kind of interoperability is, as you might expect, something that we've
spend quite a bit of time talking about over the past few years.  There is,
unfortunately, no great answer to the question.  We've pretty much settled
on getting people to dump data into spreadsheets or CSV's, which they are at
least familiar with.

> 2. One of my main concerns is supporting schools that use Macs/Windows.
> Could schools get a single server running Edubuntu, and then have teachers
> use SchoolTool via a browser no matter what platform they are running? If
> not, what would you guess is your timeline for supporting Windows & Macs?

Yes, and using a virtual machine and a standard image is a particularly good
idea.  The timeline for supporting other host OS's is dependent on the
demand and realistically how long it takes someone else to do it or pay
someone else to do it.

3. Is implementing SchoolTool support for TuxMath the kind of thing you'd
> consider getting started as, say, a GSoC project for 2009? Would you be
> interested in finding a student to co-mentor? Or is it too soon, i.e., would
> it just distract you from the things you really need to be doing?

Well, if we're doing things right, it shouldn't take much custom work.

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