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SMS alerts for truancy?

By johnboy 10 April 2007 25

The ABC reports that Andrew Barr is flinging $20 million on IT for schools.

Aside from bringing broadband to schools, and some video conferencing gear which might allow principals to spend some time actually in their schools rather than attending endless meetings about all the meetings they’re having, there’s an attention getter:

Education Minister Andrew Barr says the system which monitors student attendance will also be upgraded.

“A new initiative will also include the attendance monitoring project, which introduces electronic roll marking,” he said.

“What this means is that if a student is absent, an SMS text message will be generated to the parents to notify them of the absence and this will communicate real-time information to parents.”

This is, it seems the dividend of slashing and burning the school system last year.

So it’s interesting to see that just a month ago the NT News reported on Palmerston High School axing their SMS truancy system because it was too hard to maintain. I shall quote at length from that article:

“The assessment found there had not been an overall improvement in attendance and it added to the workload of staff. There was a significant amount of additional work required in maintaining the mobile phone data and student data to ensure it could perform its job, like ringing the right phone numbers.

“It was also found in many instances staff needed to follow up on the SMS messages and this was, in effect, double handling. The efficiency of the system was affected by factors such as the high proportion of Defence Force families, who move at regular intervals, and the tendency for mobile phones to change ownership within families at short notice.

“Many parents also did not have mobile phones and this meant a back-up system for contacting parents was needed, imposing an additional workload on staff.

“It was too expensive to operate and maintain with running costs including upgrades, technical assistance and maintainence and call charges.”

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SMS alerts for truancy?
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Maelinar 8:21 am 12 Apr 07

Why Bubzie ?

Your opportunity to stand up and ask what the hell he is doing is now gone.

It may not have been an immediately strewn with benefits concept, and could be a sore point with your peers, but I’m sure your teachers would have given you a few silent upgrades on the sly.

bubzie 7:35 am 12 Apr 07

lol, i can just imagine some random (with like one different number than my parents) getting a message saying something like ‘your child isnt at school today .etc’ 🙂
(that’d be some of the problems with the system, schools would get wrong numbers, students would put their numbers down instead..i remember our teachers telling us not to do that, lol!)

And i forgot to mention, they launched the 20 million it stuff in the classroom next to me on tuesday. Having Andrew Barr and similar walk around your school, and peer into random classes is so not fun, lol.

nyssa76 9:23 pm 11 Apr 07

bubzie, well it did work, perhaps they had the wrong number 🙂

I bet your parents weren’t happy with the absentee transcript attached to your report card 😉

bubzie 7:08 pm 11 Apr 07

yeah, calwell high did (still does?) that sms system in 04 at least, it didnt work then, because i wasnt at school a fair bit, and my parents never got a txt message about it!! 😀

schmerica_ 12:02 am 11 Apr 07

When kids walked out of classes when I was in high school, the teacher didn’t really care… they just kept on teaching.

I guess there is only so much teachers can do to keep kids in class and at school. If a kids is going to wag school or walk out of class, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to stop them. Unless we start bringing in those collars that dogs wear and when they go to leave the classroom they get a little electric shock… hehe.

I used to take notes in from my Mum when i’d missed school and half the time they didn’t ask for the note or question my absence. Maybe it was just my high school.

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