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The Cutting EDGE of MUSAC – Education Management Solutions on the Academic Cloud
Access to multiple, standalone databases is not enough for effective school management. Information must be current and immediately accessible to everyone in the school community. All users need one simple interface – one that analyses data in meaningful ways and keeps it secure. Schools want and need this cutting-edge technology, yet they still must work within budgetary constraints. In answer, MUSAC’s new suite of cloud-based EDGE solutions fulfill all these criteria and more.
EDGE is an application platform that’s now taken to the academic cloud as the EDGE School and Library Manager. For the first time, New Zealand has an effective platform to unite students, caregivers, teaching professionals and administration in the priority vision of quality education.
Integrated School & Student Management Solution
MUSAC created EDGE to support education-based technology developments well through the coming decade. It’s software as a service (SaaS), freeing schools from responsibility for expensive, in-house hardware and information technology (IT) support. With intuitive ease of use a priority, the EDGE Cloud solutions incorporate standard, modern Web architecture and navigation to give users powerful customisation, personalisation, analytical assessment and management options – all through any device with access to the Internet.
How the EDGE Cloud Works
Thanks to its Microsoft technology architecture, the EDGE Cloud is a powerful integrated database system. What does that mean for schools?
- EDGE stores all data in a single secure database, rearranging it to answer users’ queries. When users enter or alter a piece of information, EDGE automatically uses that one, single entry to update all the applicable sub-databases.
- EDGE is also able to store information for use through any number of other applications, draw information from multiple sources and generate custom yet cohesive analytical reports.
Because it’s a complete database management system, EDGE also holds all the tools and protocols its varied users need to view, enter, manipulate, analyse and control their data.
Student and Library Manager in One Platform
MUSAC’s EDGE Cloud is the school management system where users can access everything they need to operate or attend New Zealand’s schools. MUSAC’s CEO Greg Twemlow explains, “EDGE provides seamless, real-time interoperability with every standard program that New Zealand’s schools use. EDGE’s cloud-based computing applies each piece of information to the database as soon as it’s entered. That means it’s constantly updating and making new information immediately available, so every school’s data will always be current and accurate.”
EDGE SM – Student Manager. As a portal to the cloud, EDGE provides seamless access to records for every New Zealand student, regardless of school or change in enrollment. EDGE SM supports every application needed, and educational standards and requirements are automatically incorporated and updated through centralized, cloud-based data interfaces:
- ENROL for student enrolments, transfers and status.
- eAR for the electronic attendance register.
- POLi for school fee payments online.
- PayStation for online credit card payments.
- TXTStream for notifications.
- NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement), NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) and NZCER (New Zealand Council for Educational Research) for uniform standards and assessments.
- e-asTTle for online student learning and assessments.
- PB4L (Positive Behavior for Learning) School-Wide for pastoral reporting.
EDGE SM also provides staff management tools – allocating responsibilities or scheduling events, for example. All information appears in real time, so education professionals can budget time effectively with the best dedicated resources.
EDGE LM – Library Manager. The latest to take to the cloud, EDGE LM is a boon to librarians, administration, teaching professionals, caregivers and students alike. Incorporating barcoding, EDGE LM tracks every book or learning resource and every student’s reading list. Students – and caregivers – can see the books that they’ve read, search for books they’d like to read and reserve them at any time from any location. It even supports ISBN and SCIS MARC records for tracking and searching.
Addressing IT and Security
MUSAC’s Twemlow stresses that “EDGE allows schools to provide everyone involved in the educational process with up-to-date information without the overhead of in-house IT staff or aging hardware.” The EDGE Cloud delivers information securely, freeing schools from on-site hosting issues; MUSAC retains responsibility for all server and database maintenance, data security, SaaS implementation, operating costs, outages and down time. “We maintain all data and the security for that information through our site at Massey University in Palmerston North,” Twemlow says, adding, “MUSAC’s EDGE has been part of New Zealand’s educational vision since 1989. What’s equally important is that EDGE’s financial benefits flow back into New Zealand’s educational system through the university.”
Giving New Zealand’s Schools the Educational EDGE
Administrators, teaching professionals, support staff, students and caregivers all benefit from EDGE. “When something’s easy to use,” Twemlow points out, “and you can get all the information you need from one seamless interface with multiple secure portals, the question becomes not ‘Why?’ but ‘Why not?’” MUSAC’s EDGE Cloud pulls all the data together for every school and stakeholder. It’s a single solution for a myriad of educational challenges. “What once was deemed castles in the clouds is now a vital cloud-based school management system that can put all of us onto the same page. EDGE gives us an opportunity to make New Zealand’s educational system the best it can possibly be.”