Category: Blog


Version 10 has arrived!

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SchoolBench V10

Version 10 has arrived, and for all SchoolBench clients, simply visit the admin panel to upgrade to the latest release. Here’s a summary of the new features available, improvements, and two new student management systems that can integrate to SchoolBench.

Multiple Calendars are now supported

 

New Members to Integration Family

SchoolBench can now integrate two new SIS’, Edumate & PCSchool

 

Rendition Download

If you have defined a rendition in the admin panel, you can now download the rendition alongside the original:

 

HEIC and HEIF formats are now supported

 

Facial Recognition

 

Improvement

The system is now much less hungry on resources to run thanks to the creativity of our tech team!

 

Resizing of Photos

SchoolBench will resize photos that are too large when initially finding faces. We found that the RAM usage of large photos was causing the service to perform sluggishly with no added benefit.

After faces are found, the full resolution face is used for comparison.

 

Admin Panel

If you want to increase performance of face detection, you can now choose the number of tasks to run in parallel and size threshold:

The “Winter is Coming” Release

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Winter is coming SchoolBench release

Parashift will be launching version 9 of SchoolBench this week. Our move to more regular releases continues unabated and winter is no exception. For schools yet to joint the SchoolBench family, “as Ygritte said “you know nothing Jon Snow”.

The GOT inspired release includes two great new features and some minor bug fixes.

New Features

Information Continuity – Attach metadata from your original digital asset to derivative versions.

SchoolBench metadata mapping to derivative

Naming Captions – To assist the identification of multiple people in photos, SchoolBench now enables users to further classify people by location (e.g. row) as well as their position in the school e.g. student/teacher, all of which is then presented in a legend associated to the image

Naming Caption

Naming Caption

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EduTech Sydney June 6-7th 2019

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EduTech 2019

Parashift, the makers of SchoolBench will be at the 2019 EduTech conference in Sydney 6-7th June.

Come to our stand #541 and meet SchoolBench’s Technical Director, Peter Lesty for an insightful and deep dive into the technology being adopted by schools all across Australia, as well as hear what on the cards for the future.

Parashift’s EduTech 2019 Special Discount

 

SchoolBench Parent Portal is Released

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Designed by and for schools, the Parent Portal helps to build a closer rapport with your community by publishing more regularly a child’s educational journey, securely, safely and directly to their parents.

The Parent Portal can be provided to the school either as a standalone portal or embedded into your existing portal as an iframe.

To provide the school’s parent community with a seamless experience, the portal supports theming with the use of your School’s logo and colours. And with a simple and clean interface for parents, the portal automatically organises the photos by year and by child – handy for those families with multiple children.

Both automated publishing to parents and a more tailored approach can be adopted, with the community relations team curating the images before publishing.

SchoolBench’s Parent Portal connects the dots, by identifying the students through SchoolBench’s built-in facial recognition engine. Together with the student management system and event calendar integrations, children and their activities are identified and connected to their parents, all the while taking into account media consent, so that images featuring children with restrictions are not openly published.

To book a demo email us at contact@parashift.com.au or call 1300 769 809

 

SchoolBench Parent Portal

SchoolBench Parent Portal

 

Parent Consent – The Case for School Photo Management

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Parent and children reviewing photos

Communication teams are increasingly demonstrating the day-to-day value of their school through photos, and as the saying goes, “a picture tells a thousand words”.

This development has necessitated large amounts of time being spent trawling through a vast array of folders in Explorer or Finder. Feedback from our client schools has this between one to two days a week which also includes the manual task of correctly identifying the students so that parent privacy considerations can be applied.

Parashift’s research into photo school management and particularly the privacy views of parents has highlighted that parents’ concerns to privacy are in fact layered and speak more to control than actual risk.

When delving deeper into this, we found that parent concerns are greatly diminished with internal publications such as newsletters, bulletins and end-of-year books. Where they have the majority of concern is with public communication such as social media and traditional advertising, such as billboards. When we drilled down, the primary objection pertained to social media with fears of cyberbullying, predators (reinforced in regular news coverage) and special family situations

For school marketing with parents with highly restrictive requirements, we have found they too can often be used. A need for control has the parent imposing a restricted policy to the school; however, a personal request with an explanation of the image’s intended use, including the controls you have in place to protect the child will dramatically increase your chances. An example of a control is removing all metadata for identification reasons.

The simple permission classification of opt-in and out has the school limiting their creative content as well as their communities’ intimacy potential with the school. Surprisingly we found less than 3% of assets created are actually ever used.

In next month’s blog, we’ll cover off a multi-tiered permission approach when managing parental consent that takes into account the modern-day challenge.


SchoolBench Summer Release 2019 is here

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Summer Release

In case you didn’t notice, Summer is here! Anyway, we did, so it’s time for SchoolBench Summer Release to help you organise the new school year’s photos.

For clients, simply visit your Admin Panel tomorrow, and click the Updates button to receive access.

Here’s a summary what will be available, with more information made available in your online documentation.

 

         For the School Marketeers

Facial Recognition Management

  • Management of the bounding boxes for facial recognition has been made easier. Users can now make bulk changes to an image such as unassigning, removing and verifying people.

Event Suggestions

  • Like any busy school, sometimes events overlap. If SchoolBench is unsure about what event a photo relates to; it will provide you with a suggestion or a list of options should multiple events be on at that time.

Sort Order

  • Users can now edit their search results by sorting in the order of their preference.

SchoolBench Share Drive & Photoshop

  • Accessing your images in a Share Drive and applications like Photoshop has been overhauled, and now better reflects the folder and file layout you are familiar with.

Custom Tags Protection

  • Due to the growing usage of custom tags, SchoolBench now protects these amendable fields automatically when applying new custom tags.

 

     For the System Administrators…

 

Single Sign-on (SSO)

  • You can now implement SSO via Kerberos and Open ID Connect. This supports transparent login on premise and also using cloud providers like Azure AD and Google.

Nested LDAP Groups

  • LDAP now supports nested groups, so you can reflect your permissions and roles much easier.

Trigger LDAP Sync

  • Rather than waiting a day, you can now trigger LDAP Group/User Synchronisation from the Admin Panel whenever you make major changes.

 

Footnote: As SchoolBench is often an on premise solution; if you experience any issues upgrading due to your local environment, our support team is here ready to help. Merely log a ticket at support@parashift.com.au.

 

2018 – The Year That Was

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Once again I am reminded as I write this year’s summary, it has come round all too quickly. While I am not complaining, as most of us are about to enjoy some well-earned rest, time does appear to be speeding up – perhaps it’s a symptom of getting older?

2018 was a challenging and fruitful year, with several significant events that took place.

Alfresco Community
Parashift’s board approved an important change in our strategic direction to extend support to Alfresco Community and launch a new proactive managed service. Supporting Community is prohibited under the Alfresco partnership agreement, which necessitated a termination of the partnership.

Our focus and commitment to Alfresco shows no sign of abating, as we extended our service offering for all things Alfresco. Pleasingly, all our Alfresco clients elected to continue with Parashift, with the majority upgrading to the new managed service. This outcome is a testament to our delivery team and a validation of the confidence our clients have in Parashift.

SchoolBench
In February, we released SchoolBench GA (General Availability), our digital asset management system designed with, and specifically for, the education market. As a trailblazing solution, the take-up was initially slow; however, since visiting hundreds of schools across four states and attending several conferences, the market has embraced SchoolBench with much vigour.

Since February, two further releases have taken place, adding significant functionality, most of which was requested by our ever-growing list of client schools.

SchoolBench finishes the year with clients in all Australian states and New Zealand. We have broad representation including: Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Jewish as well as non-denominational, at both primary and secondary levels.

An eye to 2019
In January, Parashift will be launching SchoolBench’s Summer Release with some fantastic new features requested by our clients.

In Term 1 (Feb – April), Parashift will be launching a Parent Portal providing schools with a secure and innovative way to share student photos and movies with their parents.

Term 2 (May – June), SchoolBench will be enhanced with an Archive module designed by school archivists of our client schools. The purpose is simple: to provide an intuitive system for the long-term preservation of both their digital and non-digital collections

On the Alfresco front, Version 6 GA will soon be available. Parashift’s support team will soon be helping our clients as a matter of priority to upgrade to Alfresco’s ‘latest and greatest’ while ensuring a smooth transition is achieved.

In conclusion as the year closes, I reflect on all the ups and downs of the year, and hold much hope and enthusiasm for the year that lies ahead.

To the leadership team of Peter Lesty and Henri Guillaume, I acknowledge their outstanding contribution to Parashift in the year. Their passion for client service and the innovative approach to solving problems is inspiring.

I wish staff, clients and partners a safe and enjoyable Christmas and prosperous healthy 2019.


Rabbit Season! Duck Season! No, it’s SchoolBench Spring Release Season… Fire!

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SchoolBench Spring Release

Parashift is pleased to confirm SchoolBench Version 7 (aka Spring Release) will be made available next week. To upgrade, simply visit the Admin Panel and click the Check for Updates button after the 15th of November.

As SchoolBench is a collaborative project with school marketers, the Spring release includes a number of new features and enhancements to existing functionality, as requested by our client schools, as well as a few bug fixes.

New Features

  • Newly created signature images will now initiate an automatic scan of your existing image repository to identify even more people.
  • A popular request has now been actioned. New signature image logic extends auto tagging and facial recognition to teaching staff and school guests.
  • To help improve accuracy with SchoolBench’s machine learning, verifying a student’s image will become easier with a pop up of their signature image, so you can run a visual comparison and make the right decision even easier.
  • Another popular request has been keyboard shortcuts – we’ve listened!
  • SchoolBench’s Admin Panel can now run tests on your Synergetic database to check for errors and report them back to you.
  • A new Published To field makes it easier to track where images have been used, either in the Yearbook, on Facebook, or in newsletters. Of course, you can also filter on that field, making publication analysis now a breeze.
  • The Admin Panel allows you to configure SSL for your SchoolBench site to improve security through encryption. 


Feature Enhancements

  • Parent Permission, Tags and Published To fields now includes auto-suggestion to minimise the proliferation of names for the same classification.
  • The Date and Size values in the table view have been formatted to make them more easily understood.

 

 

 

SchoolBench at the Educate Plus Conference in Auckland

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Parashift’s Henri Guillaume and I attended the Educate Plus conference in Auckland this month, and what a fabulous conference it was!

Coincidentally, being our first Education Plus, it was also my first trip to the land of the long white cloud, but alas, we were too busy to play tourist. We were there for four days and based at Sky City in the heart of the city.

Each day, the conference delegates kick-started their morning with a keynote speech. Day one, Corrinne Armour discussed Fearless Leadership, and day two, Sally Thibault spoke on Women in Leadership – The Reality, The Challenges, The Possibilities. Two very impressive and passionate speakers.

Parashift held a stand, and over the conference, pleasingly we were well visited by people from all other Australia and New Zealand, with great discussions on SchoolBench and the challenges faced in school marketing.

A highlight of the conference was the Gala Evening held at Eden Park. The event had the theme of wearing your team’s colours; however, some preferred to use the opportunity to frock up. An entertaining night that allowed people to let their hair down and enjoy each other’s company in a more relaxed forum.

Educate Plus Gala Evening
Judy-Ann Quillian from Loreto, Neil McWhannel of Educate Plus,
Kieren Fitzpatrick & Henri Guilluame of Parashift



3 Tips to Tracking School Published Photos

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Tracking School Published Photos

One of the challenges that schools face today is tracking their published photos. Considering how many times you post every week, and how many channels that you publish to, if faced by a parent to immediately remove all images of their child, how would you go about it?

The reason for their change of heart can vary. They may be disgruntled with the school, there could be a change of family situation, be media-shy, and perhaps the school itself requires the change due to a recent event that could cause embarrassment.

Will you have to drop whatever you are doing and begin a long game of hide and seek? Keeping in mind that Murphy’s Law might have you doing this, at a time not of your choosing, and when other deadlines are also pressing.

Proper governance requires that records are kept in a way that image/photo management continues after publishing. There are many ways to do this, from using a simple spreadsheet all the way to using an image management system to track – the key is to start!

Here are three suggestions to help you effectively track your published images:

1. WHAT did you publish?

We search by context, so it makes sense to store by context. Is the image a school building, a particular student, a school event and when was it taken? Cataloguing what is in the picture will help you find it again down the track.

Example:

  • Year: 2018
  • Term: 3
  • Term Week: 2
  • Student: Name
  • Teacher: Name
  • Event: Scuba Diving
2. WHERE did you publish       ?

When meeting school marketing teams, I often recall my time at school during the 80’s, where there was much less communication between the school and the community than now. We would receive the occasional newsletter and the end-of-year book, and not much else.

Nowadays, in addition to printed material, schools publish to parent portals, websites and social media channels of all kinds. Furthermore, the frequency has increased dramatically, to multiple times a week and even several times a day. Keeping track of where school images are published is key to having them either updated or removed.

3. WHEN was it published?

Newly published items can quickly hide historical content stored on websites, and more particularly on social media. However, it doesn’t mean the image has disappeared; you just have to go back further to locate it sometimes. Leaving it there means it can suddenly resurface: Facebook, for example, stores images in chronological order of publishing, but can be brought forward on newsfeeds, as reminders and on actions such as likes and comments.

Knowing when the image was published will assist you in also determining the parent’s consent rights at the time of release. And this could come in very handy, should the matter have the potential of becoming litigious.

If you would like to read more with regards to image management, here is a case study from our website on how a SchoolBench client, Seymour College, manages their images: Seymour College Case Study