The following is the original vision for SchoolTool as conceived by Mark Shuttleworth and the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa. In the subsequent years, the project has gone through a steady evolution in trying to find methods that will marry global open source development methods with sustainable technology infrastructure for schools everywhere.
Our vision is for a common information systems platform for school administration from California to Calcutta, via Cape Town! We hope to provide a single tool that will be readily adapted to the specific regulatory requirements and practices of different countries and regions, but that retains enough common functionality to make a shared development effort worthwhile. The SchoolTool will be freely available under an Open Source licence, and commercial editions with additional functionality might also be available if 3rd party developers wish to build commercial products on top of the universal platform.
SchoolTool will draw members of the education community: staff, students, parents, alumni and administrators into a tight-knit community with instant access to relevant information. SchoolTool will not depend on a technology-intensive environment, but in those schools with broad and deep access to technology in the form of computers, laptops, PDA’s, cellphones and wireless pagers, SchoolTool will leverage those forms of communication and devices to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.
We hope that SchoolTool will eventually take care of all aspects of school administration. We will address basic school operational functions such as student registration, attendance records, student performance measurement, timetable creation and calendaring, society/club/team membership management, and report writing. In later versions we hope to expand SchoolTool to address school financial management, specialised modules for library and cafeteria management, communication between local authorities and schools as well as inter-school information sharing. We will also make it possible to link SchoolTool to your school web portal. Once we have a core useable application we will drive development based on feedback from the school user community.
SchoolTool is not teaching software. You will not use SchoolTool to teach math or chemistry. SchoolTool is not a framework for teaching content, it is a framework for school administration. This is a deliberate decision: there are literally hundreds of research and commercial efforts to create platforms for computer-based training. We don’t want to take on that challenge. In the far-distant future we may expand SchoolTool to be a ‘host environment’ for educational content as well, but for the moment we leave that challenge to the pedagogical experts.