Education Solution Provider Empowers
Learning with Social Networking Web Site
―We want to be… the company that makes life easier Overview
Country or Region: United States for educators. Using Office SharePoint Server 2007, Industry: Education
we developed a tool that the entire education industry
Customer Profile can use and rely on.‖ SchoolNet provides the largest K–12
school systems in the United States with Xavier Jenkins, Online Ad Sales Manager, SchoolNet Web-based solutions that help improve school performance and increase student SchoolNet provides Web-based solutions that help improve school achievement. performance and increase student achievement for some of the
Business Situation largest school districts in the United States. While excited to help SchoolNet wanted to develop a Web site educators increase student achievement, SchoolNet noted that that would provide a social networking environment where educators could share, educators lacked an efficient way to share their successes, best review, and discuss resources and best practices, and professional resources. The company wanted to practices.
provide a social networking environment where educators could Solution share, review, and discuss the wealth of high-quality information, SchoolNet used Microsoft? Office
SharePoint? Server 2007 to build, manage, resources, and practices available. SchoolNet used Microsoft? and publish schoolnet.com, a Web portal Office SharePoint? Server 2007 to build, manage, and publish that focuses on empowering student
achievement. schoolnet.com, a K–12 achievement Web portal focused on empowering student success. Through schoolnet.com, SchoolNet is Benefits
; Enhanced user experience enhancing its reputation as a trusted resource for professional ; Easy scalability educators—and contributing to better learning outcomes. ; Better learning outcomes ; Enhanced brand
Situation assessments, or curriculum management, ―In education today, we SchoolNet provides some of the largest and actually use the data to help drive need to learn from the Kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade (K–12) achievement,‖ says Jason Stein, Product
school systems in the United States with Manager at SchoolNet. ―It can help districts people on the front lines Web-based solutions that help improve manage schools, schools manage classrooms, and incorporate their school administration, nurture educator and and teachers manage individual students for staff talent, and increase student achieve-success.‖ successes into best ment. SchoolNet develops and sells practices. We saw an Instructional Management System (IMS) The professionals at SchoolNet are excited to software that provides real-time data, reports, help teachers, principals, and opportunity for tools, and instructional content that school superintendents improve the learning SchoolNet to provide the districts can use to assess student and process for students. However, they noted school performance, develop talent, that educators lacked an efficient way to kind of omni-directional individualize instruction, ensure improve-network or to share best practices, communication that ment, and comply with federal and state professional resources, and past and current mandates. successes. Teachers and school admini-could make that strators had to search hundreds of Web sites possible.‖ Of the thousands of school districts in the to find quality educational content. With so United States, the largest 400 urban districts many sources to choose from, searches were Xavier Jenkins, Online Ad Sales Manager, account for almost 50 percent of all U.S. time consuming and often unproductive. SchoolNet students. Of those 400 school districts, 43 use SchoolNet’s IMS, including Atlanta, SchoolNet recognized an opportunity to bring Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, together an online K–12 education Pennsylvania; and the District of Columbia. community around a single Web site where SchoolNet has been acknowledged by Inc. educators, parents, and students could Magazine and Deloitte’s Fast 50 List as one aggregate, evaluate, and sort available of the fastest growing private companies in content. The company wanted to develop a the United States. social networking site where diverse school
districts meeting diverse challenges could To help meet new education mandates, have an opportunity to share, review, and including the federal No Child Left Behind Act, discuss best practices. To help educators school districts have been collecting large learn from one another what works, how, and amounts of data, student assessments, test for which students, SchoolNet understood results, standards and curriculum materials, that the site would need to promote effective instructional scope and sequence, and peer-to-peer discussion, encouraging input attendance information. Districts use from administrators, teachers, parents, and SchoolNet IMS to aggregate and analyze students.
existing data to locate achievement gaps
within student populations and identify The company also wanted to build the Web effective curriculum plans. Teachers can site using technology that would be quick to review the data and the findings and deploy, easy to manage, and scalable enough incorporate new emphases, topics, and best to provide new features as the site grew. practices into their own curriculums. Above all, SchoolNet wanted to maintain and
enhance its reputation as a trusted, reliable ―Using SchoolNet IMS, everyone in the district source for high-quality educational resources from the superintendent to the teachers can by providing a site that would be familiar, find information about budgets, student inviting, and productive for users. ―In edu-
cation today, we need to learn from the technology based on the Microsoft .NET ―We believe that ratings, people on the front lines and incorporate Framework, build the site quickly, and add reviews, filtering, voting, their successes into best practices,‖ says new features rapidly as the site grew. Xavier Jenkins, Online Ad Sales manager at and other social SchoolNet. ―We saw an opportunity for In 2007, SchoolNet began working with Aditi feedback tools will let SchoolNet to provide the kind of omni-to build, manage, and publish schoolnet.com,
directional communication that could make taking advantage of Aditi’s strong partnership the best content bubble that possible.‖ with Microsoft, its experience with software-up to where the most development clients, its proficiency in
building online collaboration applications, people can get the most Solution and its expertise with SharePoint tech-use from it.‖ SchoolNet began developing a social nologies. SchoolNet worked with Aditi to networking Web site where school develop the site, integrating the native blog, Jason Stein, Product Manager, SchoolNet administrators, teachers, and parents could forum, wiki, and search capabilities in Office find information and resources through a SharePoint Server 2007 to build the community focused on empowering student application layer with a custom presentation achievement. However, the company’s which overcame challenges associated with existing Web content management solution browser compatibilities and layout design. would not support key social networking
functions, such as blogs, discussions, and ―We helped SchoolNet envision the wikis. SchoolNet worked with the Microsoft application from both the business owner Technology Center and Aditi, a Microsoft? and the end-user perspective and extended Gold Certified Partner, to evaluate the Web the Web site to support all popular browsers content management capabilities in which our target audience could use,‖ says
Microsoft Office SharePoint? Server 2007. Kavalpreet Ganti, Director Account SchoolNet found that Office SharePoint Management at Aditi. ―With Office SharePoint Server 2007 not only supported key social Server 2007, we gave SchoolNet the networking features like blogs and wikis, but functionalities to easily manage social could also help manage dynamic user-computing content and still have flexibility to generated content through workflows. The develop the customized user interface that company could easily integrate Office the company wanted.‖
SharePoint Server 2007 with its existing
On the ―Viewpoints‖ page, schoolnet.com site members can read, rate, and offer input on blogs targeted at specific education topics.
After launching schoolnet.com in February Every wiki article, blog, discussion forum, link, ―We used Office 2008, SchoolNet continues to work with Aditi and document on schoolnet.com can be SharePoint Server 2007 on site enhancement and maintenance. ―Aditi rated by the online community, and can be really took the time to understand what our pulled in to the Viewpoint pages for to create a personalized goals were,‖ says Stein. ―They helped us discussion. ―We believe that ratings, reviews, experience for users, create a vision for the site, and then very filtering, voting, and other social feedback quickly put it into a workable solution.‖ tools will let the best content bubble up to with relevant and where the most people can get the most use actionable content for a At schoolnet.com, users can view, rate, and from it,‖ says Stein.
offer input on targeted blogs in a ―Viewpoint‖ superintendent with section; participate in moderated discussion In addition, SchoolNet used Office SharePoint 20,000 students or a forums; post questions to the schoolnet.com Server 2007 live search to develop a vertical community; submit, edit, and read education-K–12 search engine that explores content on teacher with a class of related content in a user-owned K–12 wiki schoolnet.com and from other sites vetted by 20.‖ encyclopedia; and upload documents into a the community. SchoolNet developed work-shared file repository. To provide blog or wiki flows that enable community members to Jason Stein, Product Manager, SchoolNet content or participate in discussion forums, nominate a Web site to index on users can register and create a profile page schoolnet.com, and after review and approval that displays biographical data and by SchoolNet and the online community, the information about their areas of expertise or site is added to a list of community-interest. recommended sites. User searches will
generate results that are specific to SchoolNet developed workflow processes to schoolnet.com and the recommended sites. host blogs that are targeted at specific
education topics, such as national and state Next steps include building a method to push legislation, resources for instructional content from the community site into IMS by material, technology in education, and issues integrating search and Viewpoint posts, tying regarding student discipline. Bloggers can the schoolnet.com community to districts that submit topics to the site for approval, and use SchoolNet IMS software. When users then post original material, Web links, and sign in to IMS, they will receive access to a documents, which are displayed with the ―My SchoolNet‖ page. Because the system
bloggers’ profiles. Other registered users can can authenticate identity and credentials, rate and comment on the blogs to share their users can click to and from IMS and own experience and knowledge. schoolnet.com with a single sign on.
Using out-of-the-box functionality in Office
Benefits SharePoint Server 2007, SchoolNet
With Office SharePoint server 2007, developed a K–12 wiki site for schoolnet.com,
SchoolNet developed a Web site that a community-owned encyclopedia that
empowers educators to build a better focuses on education. Educators, parents,
learning environment and drive student and other schoolnet.com community
achievement, applying social networking members can use the wiki to submit, expand,
concepts like user-generated content and and edit articles. Inaccuracies, unreferenced
user-generated ratings in easy-to-use but material, and other inappropriate content can
powerful ways. SchoolNet customers can use be removed quickly by the community or Web
schoolnet.com to find instructional content, site staff.
resources, materials, and tools from all over customer demand and integrate the Web site ―Our target markets are the Web and the education community. with its IMS software. As schoolnet.com those 400 districts that attempts to reach the nation’s 3.5 million By using Office SharePoint Server 2007 to teachers, it can start with the teachers who represent 50 percent of develop and manage schoolnet.com, are already using SchoolNet IMS. By the all students. The ability SchoolNet created a satisfying customer beginning of the 2008 school year, SchoolNet experience, enhanced its brand, and is anticipated integrating all of its current to get something to contributing to better learning outcomes in school districts with schoolnet.com, serving market quickly, add in classrooms throughout the country. ―We used more than 150,000 educators and hosting 1 Office SharePoint Server 2007 to create a million unique visitors a month. new features rapidly… personalized experience for users, with and handle increasing relevant and actionable content for a At the same time, schoolnet.com is superintendent with 20,000 students or a attempting to reach school administrators, site traffic will help us teacher with a class of 20,‖ says Stein. teachers, and parents throughout the country. reach them.‖ SchoolNet can use the flexibility and Enhanced User Experience scalability capabilities in Office SharePoint Jason Stein, Product Manager, SchoolNet SchoolNet and Aditi made a quality user Server 2007 to meet the demands of experience a primary goal, and developed an increased traffic as the Web site serves more intuitive and elegant user interface for the teachers, schools, and districts. ―Our target site. By providing a central location where the markets are those 400 districts that education community can evaluate resources represent 50 percent of all students,‖ says within one application, SchoolNet offers Stein. ―The ability to get something to market users seamless navigation across multiple quickly, add in new features rapidly, and functionalities. ―Early feedback from users is handle increasing site traffic will help us that the navigation is very simple and reach them.‖
intuitive,‖ says Stein. ―We wanted to make
the site appealing and professional, and we Better Learning Outcomes
accomplished it quickly and easily with Office For SchoolNet, the most important benefit of SharePoint Server 2007. It’s something we’ve using Office SharePoint Server 2007 is the gotten a lot of positive feedback on, and we opportunity to help improve K–12 education
consider it a big win.‖ in the United States. By equipping
schoolnet.com with powerful social Easy Scalability networking capabilities, SchoolNet provides Because Office SharePoint Server 2007 is tools that district administrators, teachers, easy to deploy and integrates seamlessly with and parents can use to improve learning the .NET Framework, SchoolNet can easily outcomes among students.
add features to schoolnet.com in response to
At schoolnet.com, site members can use personal profiles to share their backgrounds and interests and to track their recent site activity.
For More Information Microsoft Office System ―Educators now have the opportunity to For more information about Microsoft The Microsoft Office system is the business communicate best practices back and forth, products and services, call the Microsoft world’s chosen environment for information learn from the data in a different way, and Sales Information Center at (800) 426-work, providing the programs, servers, and communicate with other districts and people 9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft services that help you succeed by around topics that support K–12 education,‖
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-transforming information into impact. says Jenkins. ―By integrating the community 2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of- site with our existing IMS solutions, we are hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone For more information about the Microsoft aggregating a powerful audience together (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in Office system, go to: that is singularly focused on educational the United States or (905) 568-9641 in www.microsoft.com/office improvement.‖
Canada. Outside the 50 United States and
Canada, please contact your local Enhanced Brand
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information By building an education Web site that using the World Wide Web, go to: complements its existing IMS software and www.microsoft.com offering an underserved set of professionals
the opportunity to share experiences, For more information about Aditi products expertise, and educational resources, and services visit the Web site at: SchoolNet is contributing to its reputation as www.aditi.com a reliable resource for school districts. By
building and managing schoolnet.com with For more information about SchoolNet Office SharePoint Server 2007, SchoolNet products and services, visit the Web site at: can get new Web site features to market www.schoolnet.com quickly so that it can be more responsive to
the schoolnet.com community. The
company’s goal is to make schoolnet.com the
most trusted education Web site in the world.
―We want to be the solutions company, the
company that makes life easier for
educators,‖ says Jenkins. ―Using Office
SharePoint Server 2007, we developed a tool
that the entire education industry can use
and rely on. It shows that we value this
Software and Services
; Microsoft Office system ? Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published September 2008