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ProcessFlow School Management System

A Day in the life of SMJK Dindings
“The Right Data for the Right People at the Right Time”

ProcessFlow School Management System is an educational ERP suite and other critical educational management applications
This paper contains case studies of the adoption of ProcessFlow School Management Systems (SMS) in SMJK Dindings, a Malaysian Chinese Conforming Secondary School in Lumut, Perak, Malaysia. It highlights the various administrative principles, planning, implementation, successes and challenges in the deployment of the SMS. The case studies will interest educational administrators planning the adoption of SMS. Each case study provided insights into the different aspects of school administrations and management. The School now considers the SMS to be of strategic importance, given the School’s special interest in using technology to provide teaching and learning as well as administrative services to students, parents as well as school districts reporting.

Student Centric – Student Life Cycle
The concept of designing a Student Life Cycle is about providing students with ‘electronic progress points’ with the schools, as they progress through their education experience and through school life.

Principal – Mr Tiong Ting Ming
The tasks of managing school involves working with information and building on teaching ideas collaboratively. The efficiency and effectiveness of this management task can be enhanced significantly through the use of technology. Teachers in my school had been given intensive trainings to equip them to manage the new facilities, technologies and methodologies deployed in the past few years.

How he deals with Change Management
“You are having people adjust to a different way of doing tasks," says Tiong. "Since the introduction of SMS, we had been giving special training and briefing session to teachers at all levels, from novice users; to teachers who are already fluent in ICT operations from our various continuing ICT training programs conducted both during and after school hours. The key characteristic in my school is the consistency with which our teachers, having agreed to a school policy, apply it”

To Keep the Kids in School
Internet use had become a part of our students' daily routines, in part because today's children have grown up with computers. Computers are integrated into their communication habits and are used to help students work more efficiently. “Whatever the system, it is only as good as the management follow-up; a point emphasised by Tiong; once the kids are attending school again, it's vital to keep them. “Managing behavior was most effective in areas that linked to efforts to improve attitudes to learning and attainment,” says Tiong. We Keep the computers on after schools and allow the kids full access," he said. "It's got to be a school that the kids want to come to learn and study. Nobody ever mentions that."

Internet Monitoring - Keeps Students Online and In-Line
Even though the school is practicing a totally open access for students and staff to the Internet for learning resources and knowledge, he also need to safeguard the school network from abuse, while protecting the students who use the Internet for legitimate study purposes. With the help of the Internet Monitoring module in SMS; Tiong is able to monitor Internet activities on his school’s network, including email sent and received and web sites visited. “Web access in school has a dark side, when Internet use becomes Internet abuse,” says Tiong. The module communicates network activity through online reports that provide details such as the top Internet users on the school network and the amount of time they spend online. Furthermore, reports show the most frequented Web sites visited, e-mail transactions, top virus and spam mail received and will also contain the Instant Messaging traffic in the future. The Internet Monitoring data provide in-depth analysis of students' on-line activities including the restoration of e-mail, site visited and pages visited on the SMS. "I'm not Big Brother," says Tiong. "I am just making sure that the school network is used for what it was originally intended helping kids learn."

Costing Resource Managements Modules
The SMS also has incorporated a series of Costing Resource Management modules like Call Billing Monitoring and Print Accounting modules. We are able to track which phone extensions made the most calls in and out of the schools, who usually stays on the phone for a long time and which department made the most outstation calls. With Print Accounting, we give credit points to all students in the school at the beginning of the month, as students print on any of the school’s networked printers connected to the Samba server, the SMS Print Accounting will automatically debit his credit points. Students who finished his credit points before month end will need to pay for the extra printings. The Print Accounting also inserted the user’s ID on every pages of the printout; this way, we can monitor which user had left a pile of uncollected printouts with the printers.

Data Mining – Performance Analysis
The SMS had been in operation in the school for almost two years, with the volume of data currently available, Tiong can now start to perform all sorts of Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) functions like analysis on examination results by class, level, subjects, year or race. He can also choose to perform analysis on Library data like the number or type of books read; so that decisions can be made to purchase the right number of books for each category in the coming school year. Starting 2005, he will be working on getting the attendance record analysed, looking for patterns, to know which of the age groups and family background of students that usually skip schools.

Data Mining – Behavior Management
These Data Mining functions provide a new chance to develop behavior policies and management strategies in schools, based on hard data," says Tiong. "For you to effectively teach, you need to know what triggers certain types of behavior and what is disengaging children from learning ... not what you think you know but what you actually know” “Since we started using the SMS, we have found it to be very powerful in area of behavior studies; the bigger picture is beginning to emerge, outlining fascinating trends. We are now making decisions affecting the curriculum and other areas based on up to date information," says Tiong. "To us, it is the Right Data for the Right People at the Right Time”

On School Attendance Recording
While all the evidence indicates that school truancy is linked to educational failure; collating the attendance information in a paper register is an arduous task, evidence also shows that teachers need to react to absences on the same day if they are to have any effect. Tiong know that the most successful solutions would have ICT at the core. The school had fitted a proximity-card e-attendance system for pilot run for a year to all the staff; at the end of 2004, he installed the new RFID readers to all the classrooms, library and science labs. Previously, the teacher log-in to the SMS, calls up the class list and takes the absence list; when the names have been called the teacher presses the "submit" button, closes the folder and gets on with teaching. However, Tiong is aware that the biggest impact was on internal truancy, Kids were turning up, getting their attendance recorded and disappeared," said Tiong. "The RFID cards had a dramatic impact on that, since they have to clock-in and out of the classroom" The SMS e-attendance system would typically deliver an absentee report minutes after the morning registration, and would allow the register to be updated through the day. Initially, the main concerns about RFID cards are the vulnerability of the readers to vandalism, alongside problems caused by lost of forgotten cards and students clock in for others. But we have severe punishment for vandalism in schools," says Tiong. "And currently 96% of the kids are remembering to bring their cards every day. merit points will be giving for student who report fraud clock-in for others"

Student Profile Management – Student Activity Life Cycle
The Student Profile Management involves building an online repository for the school to store the students’ personal information such as their mailing addresses, photographs and exam results. Coupled with this “Personal Profile” information will be “Capability Profile” data that records students’ development of generic attributes and skills. “Student Activity Life Cycle”

On Disciplinary Actions and Monitoring
Most teachers would assume that there was little that ICT could offer in behavior management. But they would be wrong. In our system, the obvious answer is to log behavior incidents so that you can first see the patterns and then make the appropriate management decisions. The Disciplinary module of the SMS goes some way towards this and is specifically targeted on the problem; it offers categories of misbehavior, from violent incidents to smoking to talking out of turn. Teachers log incidents and the software collates the information to allow us to see patterns, either for the individual or the age group. "Form 5 students were traditionally a difficult year group," says Jones. "They had the highest number of incidents, but the least number of students placed on report. Using the Disciplinary module, we were able to identify that it is always the eight students that were causing the problems. We've been able to work with these eight and they have calmed down." Another advantage of the system is the instant access and reporting possibilities. This is especially useful when parents come into school. "The Form Teachers are finding that this information is invaluable," said Tiong "Parents often claim that it's a clash of personalities. They say that one teacher is 'picking on' their son or daughter. But we can show them the print-outs, and they can see that incidents have been reported by several teachers."

On Open Source
The benefits of open source include cost savings, buyers typically pay only for support, not for the software itself. There's also little of the haggling over long-term licenses and upgrade rights that comes with commercial software from Microsoft and other companies. Additional applications are easy to plug in as schools grow. Schools need to understand they will save on licensing costs, on maintenance costs because of increased reliability, on security, and on training costs for both technical staff who support the system and for teachers and administrators who use them.

Looking Ahead
Since the implementation at SMJK Dindings is already completed and had attracted so much attention, Tiong is now going out to share his experiences with other educators and help to duplicate existing resources for similar technical implementation, this time on a much wider and bigger implementations. Working with a group of Open Source system consultants, he is giving the on-the-ground experiences in a day-to-day operations capacity. “Our goal is to provide pragmatic information on our existing implementation models that will facilitate decisions making for these schools when they took on similar implementations. He had been giving consulting views for a few Colleges and International schools in rolling out their much bigger plan. He is currently working with the SMJK School Council to implement similar School solutions to all the 78 SMJK schools in the country, a secondary school community with 120,000 student populations and 7,500 educators.

Systems at a Glance

Servers at a glance
School Management System Dell Precision Workstation 650 Dual Xeon 3.06 GHz CPU 2GB ECC RAM 2 x 73GB 15K RPM SCSI HD RedHat Enterprise Linux Apache web server PostgreSQL RDBMS PHP scripts OpenSSL Proxy Server Dell PowerVault 755 Dual Pentium III 1.0Ghz CPU 1GB ECC RAM 2x18GB 10KRPM SCSI (RAID 1) 3x73GB 10KRPM SCSI (RAID5) RedHat Enterprise Linux Squid and SquidGuard Print and File Server Dell PowerEdge 2800 Dual Intel Xeon 2.8GHz CPU 2GB RAM 8x36GB 10K RPM SCSI HD RedHat Enterprise Linux Samba 3.0 Print and File Email / Web Server (Cyberjaya) Dell PowerEdge 2550 Dual Xeon 2.4 GHz CPU 1GB RAM 5 x 36GB SCSI (RAID 5) RedHat Enterprise Linux QMail, SpamAssasin, ClamAV Antivirus Storage Server Dell PowerVault 220S Storage 14 x 73GB 10KRPM SCSI HD Firewall Server IBM Personal Computer 300PL Pentium III 400MHz CPU 192MB RAM pfSense ( Bootable CD Version

LDAP/DNS/DHCP/BACKUP Server Dell PoweEdge 830 Pentium 4 3.0Ghz HT 2GB ECC RAM 2 x 80GB SATA HD 2 x 250GB SATA HD RedHat Enterprise Linux OpenLDAP

Personal Computers at a glance

Computer Lab 1 - Sapura 22 Dell Optiplex GX280 Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz /HT 1GB RAM 80GB SATA HD CD-ROM / Floppy Administrative PCs 12 Dell Optiplex GX520/GX620 Pentium 4 3.0 Ghz /HT 1GB RAM 80GB HD CDRW-DVD Combo / Floppy

Computer Lab 2- NetPrep 25 Dell Optiplex 170L Intel Celeron 2.66Ghz 512MB RAM 40GB IDE HD CD-ROM / Floppy Library 6 Dell Optiplex GX520/GX620 Pentium D 2.8Ghz / EM64T 512MB RAM 80GB HD CD-ROM / Floppy

Programming Lab – Form 4T / 5T 20 Dell Optiplex 170L Pentium 4 2.8Ghz CPU 512MB RAM 80GB HD CD-ROM / Floppy Teaching / Learning 8 Unit Dell Latitude C640 Notebook 2 Unit of IBM ThinkPad R40 1 Unit Apple iBook G4 2 Unit of IBM ThinkPad R41 8 Unit of Compaq Presario M2000

Network at a glance
LAN Backbone – Server Room 3Cm Core Builder 4007 Layer 3 Modular Switch (CORE) 3Com SuperStack 4900 Layer 3 Switch LAN Backbone – Classroom Blocks 3Com SuperStack II 3900 24 / 36 Port 3Com AccessPoint 7250

WAN – TMNet Streamyx Enterprise 2.0MB 2.0MB Downlink, 384K uplink 5 fixed IPs WAN – SchoolNet 1.0MB 1.0MB Downlink, 384 uplink

School Information at a glance
Web URL School Address SMJK Dindings 32200 Pundut, Lumut, Perak, Malaysia. User Info Statistics Students: 870 Teachers: 66 Administrators: 23 Parent Access: 50 Racial Percentage Malay : 25% Chinese: 53% Indian : 20% Others : 2% Contact Number +605-6835670 - School Office +605-6812118 - Principal Office +605-6834617 - Teacher Room

Open-source Technologies implemented in the school
Open source is not just about cost savings, since the code is open, it offers the flexibility for organizations to modify the code as needed for specific uses, open source can also provide superior security than closed source. We had adopted the Open Source components since 1998 and had deployed in every part of our operations and had since created a tightly integrated technology to run the ProcessFlow SMS suite of applications on various hardware platforms

Linux is an open-source operating system within the Unix family. Because of its
robustness and availability, Linux has won popularity in the Open Source community and among commercial application developers.

Apache Web Server is an open-source HTTP server for modern operating systems including UNIX and Windows NT. The goal of this product is to provide a secure, efficient and extensible server that provides HTTP services in sync with the current HTTP standards. PostgreSQL is an advanced open-source database tool with sophisticated
object-relational database management system supporting almost all SQL constructs, including transactions and user-defined types. PostgreSQL is able to handle their most valuable data and mission critical applications.

PHP is an open-source, server-side HTML embedded scripting language
used to create dynamic Web, it is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.

OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols. OpenSSL is used by Apache HTTP Server for https support and by PostgreSQL to provide secure database access. OpenLDAP an open-source implementation of the Lightweight Directory
Access Protocol. It provides a stand–alone LDAP server, a stand–alone LDAP replication server, libraries implementing the LDAP protocol, and other relevant software.

Qmail is a Linux/Unix mail transfer agent that, like a post office, collects mail
and figures out how to move it further along. It is a commonly used program on the Internet for sending e-mail via the SMTP protocol.

Squid is a popular open source proxy webcache. It has a variety of uses,
from speeding up a web server by caching repeated requests, to caching we b, DNS, and other network lookups for a group of people sharing network resources. It is primarily designed to run on Unix-like systems.

ClamAV AntiVirus is a GPL anti-virus toolkit for UNIX. The main purpose of
this software is the integration with mail servers for attachment scanning.

SpamAssassin is an extensible email filter which is used to identify spam. Once identified, the mail can then be optionally tagged as spam for later filtering Samba is a free software implementation of Microsoft's networking system. As of
version 3, samba not only provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients but can also provide domain services, either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or as a Backup Domain Controller. It can also be part of an Active Directory domain

The Shoreline Firewall, more commonly known as "Shorewall", is a high-level tool for configuring Netfilter

The Strength of the ProcessFlow School Management System
Most of the modules developed under School Management System were evolved from years of involvement in school processes and discussion with users on the ground, this is somewhat similar to conducting a business process reengineering in corporate and mirror the ERP type of operations in schools A successful ERP implementation reduces the fragmentation of systems and data across an organization. Sharing data across multiple systems is labor intensive and disruptive, often requiring manual re-keying and reformatting of critical data. Incompatible software programs must be debugged and recoded, and uploading information must often be done in batches requiring exclusive use of mission critical operating and communication systems.

Student Centric – Student Life Cycle
The concept of designing a Student Life Cycle is about providing students with ‘electronic progress points’ with the school, as they progress through their education experience and through school life. The Student Profile Management involves building an online repository for the school to store the students’ personal information such as their mailing addresses, photographs and exam results. Coupled with this “Personal Profile” information will be “Capability Profile” data that records students’ development of generic attributes and skills. “Student Activity Life Cycle”

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For more information about Perridot Systems’ products and services, email our Information Center at To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: For more information about SMJK Dindings, visit the Web site at: © 2007 Perridot Systems Sdn Bhd. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. PERRIDOT SYSTEMS MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. ProcessFlow, ProcessFlow Enterprise Portal and ProcessFlow School Management Systems are trademarks of Perridot Systems Systems Sdn Bhd. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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