Yesterday I showed our SharePoint 2010 School Calendar which helps simplify communication of all key school dates within a large educational institution. Today I wanted to show how easy it is to edit the calendar using the out of the box SharePoint functionality. On the Learning Gateway the calendar can be seen by any administrator with a series of tabs (see below). These allow the user to enter assemblies, activities, assessment schedules, meetings and planned staff absence from school.
By selecting one of the tabs the administrator will be faced with a very simple editing box which appears in browser and can be seen below.
Details can be quickly inputted into the form and appear immediately in the calendar within the correct category. Although this is a very simple SharePoint solution its impact on a large school is enormous. This ability to access constantly changing information is also enhanced with additions to the calendar showing in red when added after the 1st September.
One of my favourite SharePoint companies at the moment is Muhimbi. I came across them during 2009 via twitter and found them to be one of those companies who have created something special- really useful products which meet a clear need. Since then they have extended their product range further and have a number of high quality products, three of which I wanted to share with you today. The great news is the first one is free!
Have you ever added a custom content to a SharePoint site and then had to add it to every singe site within the site collection manually? SharePoint Infuser overcomes this by automatically adding any custom content to all pages in the site collection. What I like about the team at Muhimbi is their site also contains a blog with great examples of how you might use their product. Cant imagine how you would use SharePoint Infuser? The blog shows you two great examples including adding search as you type to every SharePoint page and cleaning up a new SharePoint site by removing unesessary elements of the page.
PDF converter for SharePoint
My favourite tool as a heavy end user and a real time saver. PDF converter for SharePoint does exactly what its name suggests and converts common document types to PDF. The include the main Microsoft suite of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Visio and InfoPath. End users in education will use this facility endless times within the year and the ease of use shown below shows just how much time you will save.
SharePoint URL Shortener
Have you ever sent an email to staff or students with that ridiculously long address hoping that you copy it correctly? SharePoint URL Shortener overcomes this, again with real ease. A one click function allows you to create a short URL similar to services like TinyURL but within your company network
Email formsgenerated by 123ContactForm
Following on from yesterdays recommendation for a BETT visit, today I wanted to talk about another of my best of breed SharePoint solutions who are at BETT, LP+. Learning Possibilities have been working with SharePoint as a hosted Learning Platform for a number of years and have created a feature rich solution which can often be missing in a hosted model. LP+ Platforms come in a range of varieties tailored for the different phases in education and include:
- LP+ Steps for KS1
- LP+ Safari for KS1 and KS2
- LP+ Symphony for secondary schools
- LP+ Synergy for school clusters and Local Authorities
One of the main challenges with hosting for SharePoint is ensuring enough functionality in the platform to engage staff and students at all stages. LP+ have managed to achieve this with a wide range of options through the platform called LP+ Options. I plan to blog in more detail about individual features but as an overview these include: LP+ SafeMail to enable all learners quick and easy access to highly secure email; LP+ connect deals with one of the biggest headaches for schools in automatically provisioning their users; LP+ e-portfolios provide a safe and secure storage space for a student’s work which can be viewed by teachers; LP+ public websites enable users to connect to the Learning Platform and prospective parents to engage with the school.
As well as this wide range of features Twynham School has been working with LP+ on Online Reporting and have successfully integrated our Online Reporting webparts. To find out more visit LP+ over the next few days at BETT 2010 on stand E46 which is just opposite Microsoft.
SharePoint LMS at BETT 2010 on SW8
During this week at BETT 2010 I thought it would be useful to identify some great SharePoint products and solutions you can check out at the show. SharePoint LMS by Elearning Force is one of my Best of Breed SharePoint products for education. SharePoint LMS is a feature rich Learning Management System built on SharePoint and with full integration to Live@Edu and Office Communication Sever. SharePoint LMS can be used at all levels including an individual school level, cluster of schools and across a Local Authority. I will be blogging in more detail about the extensive range of features in SharePoint LMS throughout 2010 but here are 10 examples of what makes SharePoint LMS a feature rich product:
Individual branding of all site levels
Grade book functionality
Dropbox for document exchange
Multimedia File Reader
Upload and Import of Third Party Content
Real time chat rooms and discussion forums
Live Meeting Virtual Class Room
How can I find our more about SharePoint LMS?
If you are at BETT this week visit SharePoint LMS on stand SW8. You can also see a video tutorial of their product if you are not at BETT here. If you want more details from me you can see me on the Microsoft stand throughout the week on the Twynham School SharePoint pod.