The Information Age has invaded every aspect of life. The existence of data management systems in schools is one result of this revolution. Data management is not a new thing. Even when paper and ink were the standard tools for managing an office or a business enterprise, an efficient means of data management is the key to a successful operation. The only difference is that in the 21st-century paper and ink have given way to computer hardware and software.
The combination of these two elements produces computerized data management tools that can handle significant amounts of data that in turn can be processed much quicker and therefore can be made available to the users (Blackbaud, 2009). For school administrators as well as students this ability is heaven-sent because both can achieve efficiency in an age when no one can afford to waste time, money, and energy. A computerized educational data management system can boost productivity and can help reduce problems related to curriculum, scheduling, and other administrative tasks requiring access to voluminous data.
A Boon for Administrators
School administrators needed to have access to accurate information to make timely and critical decisions. In an ideal setting, administrators should be very familiar with their school, the students, the teachers, school personnel and everyone that works there. School administrators are also aware that they need to use information that was collated from enrolment forms, classroom assignments, teachers assigned to a particular class etc. In a small school setting this can be a very challenging task but for a medium-sized school and colleges, this can be an overwhelming job that can force administrators to make wrong decisions that will waste precious resources.
The use of a computerized educational data management system can eradicate problems created by manual data collection processes. For instance, instead of a manually filling up enrolment forms, students can now use electronic forms via the schools network of computers.
They can even fill-up these forms online in the comfort of their homes and they need not go to the school during enrolment time. This means efficiency in every level of the enrolment process. Furthermore, the data collected will not be lost or misplaced because the computerized data management system can sort out data much faster and less prone to error than a human worker doing the same task.
In just a few clicks of the mouse a typical data management systems can provide administrators instant access to important information. For instance administrators will not only know the exact number of students that are enrolled in every level but they can also have access to demographic data allowing them to plan ahead or make critical adjustments. Administrators will be able to know pertinent information regarding a particular class or the work load of a particular teacher. Administrators will be given advance notice with regards to the things that are required to be purchased or prepared in advance based on the number of students enrolled in a particular course or a special program.
Data Collection and Data Storage
There are two crucial aspects in any data management system and it is data collection and data storage. As mentioned earlier one way of collecting data is the use of an electronic form that can be filled up using the school’s computer or online where students and parents can fill it up with pertinent information. The ability of the data management system to collate data and store it for future use and retrieval is the heart of every data management system (Digital Media Initiatives, 2009).
Data collection and data storage would mean nothing if school administrators will not be able to access and manipulate data to give them the information that they really want to know. Thus, an effective data management system’s software can utilize data and aid administrators in their decision-making process.
One application is to use information stored in the data management system to make decisions regarding scheduling and curriculum management (SchoolMation, 2009). The number of students enrolled in a particular course is indicative of the popularity of that particular field of study and can affect the distribution of resources. A particular teacher can find himself in a class full of students while others may find themselves in a class that is half-empty.
The administrator with a computerized data management system will be informed with this kind of information in a flash and therefore can also make adjustments quickly. This can be in the form of more efficient allocation of resources such as scheduling of classes and this can also result in decisions with far-reaching consequences such as changes to the current curriculum.
It has been made clear that computerized data management systems can help improve the decision-making capabilities of school administrators as well as increase the efficiency of the school. Gone are the days of manually filling up enrolment forms and related problems such as errors in recording information or worse lost data due to mishandling or improper storage. These problems are eliminated in a computerized data management system where administrators can store data in computers and make redundant copies that can be stored in multiple locations. Data can be protected from man-made disasters and other hazards.
The only thing that must be done is to invest in new technologies. This will also require investment in terms of time and training given to learn the intricacies of a new tool. School administrators must not shrink back because this is the future and without a doubt the best way to do school management in the 21st century.
Blackbaud. (2009). Education Administration. Web.
Digital Media Initiatives. (2009). Education Management Systems. Web.
SchoolMation. (2009). SchoolMation 2.3 and SchooMation Transcript 1.1 are released. Web.