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ERIC Number: EJ842180
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0192-592X
Out of Site, Out of Mind
Schaffhauser, Dian
T.H.E. Journal, v36 n4 p34-40 Apr 2009
Hiring substitute teachers used to be an early-morning calling burden for staff members at schools in Oregon's Coos Bay School District. Now that work has been passed off to Aesop, a service from Frontline Placement Technologies, which springs into action upon receiving a notification, either by call or log-in, from a teacher reporting an absence. The system works down a list of names of substitute teachers provided by the district, and makes automated calls until it locates a suitable replacement. This article describes the use of software as a service (SaaS) in many school districts. Delivered online rather than on a CD to be installed on district servers, SaaS requires no extra hardware and no software aside from a browser. If servers in the school district operations go down, the service still works, since it is hosted off-site by a third party. Every time an application is updated by the host company's programmers, users get access to the new functionality without the district IT staff having to worry about upgrading or installation. Plus, web-based software frequently adds tracking and reporting features that old processes or applications may not provide. Despite the conveniences of SaaS, some of the usual barriers to technology adoption exist. A lack of bandwidth, for one. The price tag can present another obstacle. SaaS may offer a means to getting out from under massive, up-front software license expenses, but the cost becomes a recurring monthly charge. Plus, starting up any kind of SaaS implementation has expense, either in the form of vendor setup fees or by virtue of the work that the IT team or others will need to do in moving organizational data into the service and setting up workflow. Perhaps most crucial to a school district's use of SaaS is a change in mindset. Most people like having their belongings around them--and that includes their digital belongings. When an application is hosted by a third party, it is out of one's control. Should that service go down or that company go out of business, one may lose temporary or even permanent access to one's data. Fortunately, there are free or fairly low-cost services one can try out before making any major investments. School districts that make the leap find themselves getting back many benefits in return.
1105 Media, Inc. Available from: T.H.E. Journal Magazine. P.O. Box 2170, Skokie, IL 60076. Tel: 866-293-3194; Tel: 866-886-3036; Fax: 847-763-9564; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Intermediate Grades; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon