By James Leckie

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In a recent pitch we were asked what is the vision for the future of Schoolbox.  It was such an interesting question that we had to catalogue our thoughts. Our vision for Schoolbox is divided up in to 3 main areas; access, technology and learning experience.

Access

Over the coming years we look to make Schoolbox more accessible in more situations and expose more information in open formats.  We hope to enable our users to access information the way they want, when they want.  Specifically this will include the development of a specialised mobile interface delivering information to hand held devices in and outside the school.  Supporting this we will expose the entire filesystem of Schoolbox via the WebDav protocol to enable mobile devices and desktops to save and edit directly to the CMS and LMS.  We will also continue our efforts to implement export and import functions that support a wide range of formats; RSS, vCAL, CSV, XML and SCORMM.

Technology

The technology landscape is always changing and education has always quickly adapted to teaching utilising the latest tools.  Schoolbox is committed to adopting and integrating the latest technologies as they become available.  We may not be able to predict the next big thing, but we will be among the first to implement it into our product. We have already adapted wiki’s, podcasts and online chat.  In the future we see social media being a large influence.  We will continue to integrate existing social networks and develop our own internal social services such as ePortfolio’s.  There is a trend towards increased participation in collaborative content generation from not just the teachers but the students aswell. We hope to support this trend with tools that will enable people to contribute, collaborate and share content.

Learning Experience

The last and most important goal for Schoolbox is to improve the learning experience and optimise the process.  From the perspective of teachers we would like to see a reduction in paper handouts, more efficient grading process and streamlined reporting.  Teachers should be freed of the mundane classroom administration to enable them to teach and interact directly with students.  Meanwhile students will learn via access to dynamic and creative resources in a range of different environments.  Our system should provide assistance with time management and workload, ensuring all students are keeping upto date with the curriculum.  Students will also be encouraged to learn not only from their teachers but their peers, parents and the internet.  Our vision recognises the important role parents play in the educational outcomes achieved by the student.  In the future parents will be actively engaged in the day to day activities of their students.  Parents will be able to freely communicate and access resources to assist them in achieving the best outcomes for their children.

Over the next few years we hope that our vision becomes real and that online technology becomes part of every classroom across the country.  We still have a long way to go but with a clear roadmap and a stable product we believe we can make it happen.