Move towards personalized education

New ConnectEdBC to benefit students, parents and teachers

A new web-based service will dramatically improve the ability of British Columbia parents and teachers to follow and support students’ educational progress – from kindergarten through to graduation,

Education Minister Peter Fassbender announced recently.

The ministry has entered into a 12-year contract with Fujitsu Consulting (Canada) Inc. to deliver ConnectEdBC, a new hosted student information system. The new online platform will make it easier to engage students in their own learning, for parents to connect with educators, and for teachers to collaborate and share learning materials.

The new service will be built around Follett Corporation’s Aspen Student Information System software, selected for its proven ability to support the BC Education Plan’s focus on personalized learning and other key B.C. requirements, including:

• A secure web-based portal, accessible through all browsers (including mobile device browsers), to provide parents, students and teachers with real-time access to student records, assignments and learning resources.

• The ability for parents and students to monitor progress on a continual basis and communicate securely with teachers and school-based staff.

• A modern, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use interface.

• The ability for students to submit work online and for teachers to collaborate and share learning materials across schools or districts.

• Features and flexibility to support personalized learning, group collaboration, special needs and flexible scheduling options.

• A province-wide solution that maintains a single record for each student throughout their entire education journey, from pre-kindergarten to high school graduation.

• Security and privacy management, backup, archiving, and disaster recovery services, and ongoing user support and training.

While delivering far better features and functionality, the value of the contract is up to $9.4 million a year. The charge to school districts will remain at $10 per student per year, the same as the current cost of maintaining the BCeSIS system.

FAST bytes

• Implementation will begin in April 2014 and run to early 2016, after which the current system, BCeSIS, will be decommissioned.

• Education partners from across the K-12 sector, including teachers, counsellors, district staff and administrators, vice-principals and principals – as well as technologists – were instrumental in developing the requirements and evaluating products.

• The ministry will continue to work closely with users and subject-matter experts from around the province to ensure the new service is configured to meet the needs of the sector and school districts and independent schools have the training and tools they need to implement the new service effectively, with minimum disruption to users.

• Follett’s Aspen software is a proven platform used extensively in other jurisdictions, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and currently serves more than one million students.

• All information collected will remain in Canada, with the primary data centre in Kelowna and backup servers in Regina.