There’s no doubt that there has been a massive rise in the use of digital education platforms in schools, and there are some incredible statistics that illustrate this. Worldwide there are now more than 170 million student and educators using Google Workspace for Education and over 100 million students using Microsoft Teams.
This mass-adoption was of course accelerated by the pandemic. A topic we’ve written widely about in several of our other blog posts, particularly in regard to the Department for Education’s (DfE) platform provisioning programme – which interestingly is responsible for a staggering 2.5 million of these accounts.
It’s clear from the research and school feedback that adopting these platforms have been extremely beneficial for schools, but they of course bring with them a number of challenges. With the new academic year starting, the focus of this post is to talk about one set of these challenges: keeping the data in these platforms up to date.
Though not new solutions for schools, when the pandemic hit many schools did not have the capability to provide remote learning, and so almost overnight, schools had to make massive changes. This is shown by some statistics released by the DfE that show a staggering 86% of primary schools surveyed, introduced, increased or upgraded a learning platform to set and receive pupils’ work in response to Covid. There was no time for planning. Schools had to be reactive to ensure teaching and learning continued.
Now after all this time has passed, and the crazy year schools have had, how many of these platforms have not yet been updated for the new academic year? How many students are without accounts, or arguably worse, how many leavers (including staff) still have access to data on these platforms as their accounts haven’t been disabled? Or perhaps, how many schools have gone to the great effort of manually updating their data in these platforms over the summer? After all, they can be time-consuming and difficult to administer – requiring technical expertise.
What is needed is a simple, cost-effective, secure and time-saving solution to automatically keep school data up to date in these platforms. A solution that removes the inconvenience, or the technical expertise required, to create accounts when new starters join and disable accounts when people leave – whilst also ensuring that things like Classrooms/Teams and group memberships remain current.
Hence AdEPT Nimbus, our new product family of in-house developed solutions that simplify the sharing and management of school’s data with, and access to, third party applications. Nimbus Sync, the first product to launch, solves this problem by being the simple and easy way for schools to sync their MIS data into Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
This is an area we have a lot of experience in. Not only are we Google and Microsoft partners, but we also currently provide Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 syncing services to over 900 schools. Historically we’ve only been able to offer these services to a limited number of schools with specific connections. With Nimbus Sync, we’re able to help any school in the country.
Using our experience, expertise and school feedback, we’ve built upon what we were previously able to offer, to provide a single portal where schools can configure the sync from start to finish – whilst benefiting from a whole host of improvements, enhanced functionality and customisations.
Setting up the sync is easy. School simply set up the import of their MIS data to us (if they are not one of the 3000 schools that do this already) and then configure the export of data to Google and/or Microsoft – which includes the automatic provisioning of accounts, Classrooms/Teams and groups. Changes made in their MIS are then automatically updated in their platform. It’s really as simple as that.
Leading the development of Nimbus Sync is our Head of Software Development Manuel Cristelo. He said: “We’re really proud of the work on this project. Nimbus Sync was designed as something schools can set up and then forget about, so we believe it’s going to help save schools a lot of time and have a great impact. We can’t wait for schools to get their hands on it and are looking forward to developing more enhancements to Nimbus Sync in the future, as well as the other products we have planned for AdEPT Nimbus.”
Nimbus Sync is an affordable, beneficial, scalable, deployable and dependable service specifically for UK schools, and we are very excited to bring it to the market from September 2021. Find out more at nimbus.adept.education or give us a call.