STEARsoft's primary 4 goals are:
STEARsoft's secondary goals are:
STEARsoft has evolved to hit all these targets and has seen successful deployment in a few schools now. Although any system tries to achieve the primary goals (to lesser or greater effect), STEARsoft was chosen ahead of other systems for the strength of its secondary goals; particularly its flexible ability to integrate and run alongside existing data systems, and for its easy deployment.
The development of STEARsoft
Although it has always been structured from the start to be a whole-school attendance system, initial development was focussed on single teacher use. We feel the initial four years of development and trials in this area has paid off with an easy to use, yet powerful teacher interface. Working with a web interface has been more challenging to bring the desired feel and features to the finger-tips of a teacher, but the effort has paved the way for some of our ultimate goals.
The initial teacher-centred interface has remained while, in phase two, the full school product was developed around this. At this stage, the web interface became very powerful, as STEARsoft only needs to be installed on a single server machine. Within minutes (rather than hours), you can have a full school deployment operational and usable throughout the school. Equally important, any updates only need to be done in one place, and take just seconds.
The resulting strengths of STEARsoft
There is much to be said for an electronic school attendance system over a paper one for a few immediate benefits:
How STEARsoft has been received
The nicest thing has been positive responses from teachers. The fact that STEARsoft has been initially inspired and created by a teacher and trialled with input from numerous other teachers has been reflected back in these comments. The real testament though has to be that STEARsoft is being used, and continues to be used, and not just by individual teachers but also in whole school deployment situations. In one school deployment, STEARsoft was chosen ahead of far more expensive systems even though a large budget of several thousand had been already allocated and authorised. Part of the reason for STEARsoft being chosen in this case, as mentioned above, was its flexibility and ability to easily fit alongside and work with the existing school database.
Thoughts about training and support
Chauffeuring a racing driver, clothes shopping for a fashion designer, installing a sink for a plumber, giving medical advice to a doctor or legal advice to a judge are all uncomfortable tasks which somehow seem a bit cheeky unless the circumstance is right. Similarly, going to a school to teach something simple doesn't feel quite right when there are numerous people already there more than qualified to do that. Using STEARsoft is very straightforward. You click on the class you want to mark attendance for. You click on the sheet to put in present, absent and late marks, and right-click to put in more detail. Yes, there is a little bit more to it than that, but in a one-to-one environment it is possible to train someone to be comfortably using STEARsoft in under 5 minutes, and most people will then explore further when they are ready to.
Teachers are smart, educated people and can also communicate and teach (train) effectively, so we suggest that you ask one of your teachers to read the (relatively short) User Guide, follow the online interactive tutorials and generally become familiar with STEARsoft. They should then have little difficulty in 'training' the rest of your staff, with the added bonus that you then have a permanent expert on site to help people if questions arise.
Equally, any expertise required to integrate STEARsoft to your school database will be best provided by your school IT administrators. The interface at STEARsoft's end is very simple, well documented and uses the widely standardised ODBC interface to connect to your school database. The challenge (if there is to be a challenge) will be finding the appropriate data within your school database to extract, and making it available though the ODBC standard. This will be most efficiently done by someone familiar with your system.
So in short, we would like you to reward and professionally develop your own staff to help yourselves, as we believe this will give you the smoothest long term operation, whilst also enabling us to keep prices low and our efforts focussed on developing the product of STEARsoft. If your home-grown experts do need help, they can turn to the STEARsoft Forum for relatively quick support in the vast majority of situations.
Ordering a trial and getting started
No need to arrange an appointment for someone to visit or discuss your needs. Just go to our Download page to download and install STEARsoft now. An automated registration of your email address will allow you to activate a trial of 100 attendance sessions. This registration process also gives you access to the STEARsoft forum, which you can use to contact us should you require a more extensive trial situation. Our pricing is also very straight-forward.
We hope you will like STEARsoft and find it to be a useful tool. If you do have any feedback or suggestions, good or bad, please do communicate them to us via the Forum, as all comments help build a picture to further improve our product to fit your needs.