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Reading, writing and communicating

A new knowledge management tool is improving communication at Gilmer High School in Ellijay, GA. One of its key functions is to enable the easy collection of data and information, regardless of medium, and make it available through a Web browser.

The new system, called Masterfile from Concord USA, is designed to allow teachers and staff to post a variety of school information quickly on the Internet. It will enable students, parents and the local community to access information relating to course curriculum and school activities.

Says Principal Mike Bochenko, “We have been looking for a way to provide information to parents and students quickly, easily, effectively on a 24/7 basis. Traditionally our staff has spent an enormous amount of time providing this information by phone and by producing printed materials. Much of this information is needed after hours and on weekends. Our teachers are frequently contacted at home while on their own time. Now a parent, student or a school activity supporter, with access to the Internet, will be able to get a wide variety of information directly from our system by using a simple Web browser.”

One of the first uses of the new system will be to make curriculum materials available online--a goal Bochenko expects teachers to reach by the end of the year. Having the information available electronically will help the school ensure it meets mandates.

“We see the need to improve curriculum material productivity issues by making all material available in electronic format for easy updating and editing,” the principal explains. “It will allow us to expand the curriculum content to other online resources, such as recommended Web sites, while keeping the knowledge in one centralized location. Once we have our curriculum materials online, we plan to expand the use of the system to manage other knowledge resources for our school.”

Features of the new communication tool include levels of security and automatic notification of a new posting.

Another key feature, according to Laurie Shufeldt, business development director for Concord USA, is the speed at which contributors--usually teachers and staff, but sometimes students and parents--are able to post items.

“Contributors continue to use the same word or document processing system they are used to,” she says. “When it comes time to contribute or publish, they file it in Masterfile following a few simple steps. No complicated conversion to HTML, and there is no extra burden on the school’s Webmaster.”

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