Press release: Software as an educational purpose
The digitization of schools proceeds slowly, Germany is in the middle of the pack in this area, despite the Digital Pact, despite the various efforts of the education ministries to introduce learning with digital media as “distance learning” during the Corona pandemic.
That there are projects that make hope was shown by the AlekSIS team at the Katharineum zu Lübeck. Here, software was presented which emerges from the field. Students and teachers are participated in the development process, program themselves, or give feedback for the application. Professional developers are coordinating the process and ensure compliance with data protection and quality criteria.
What can be expected?
The official version of AlekSIS can manage persons and groups, lessons and substitution plans as well as digital class registers. It contains a support system and integrations with the most important school management software. This is not about just the simple transfer from a paper process to a web application, stresses Domnik George of the Teckids e. V. Rather every process is examined together with the users to see how it can use the advantages of digitality without losing the simplicity of the familiar way. That has been done at the Katharineum in the last school year for the first time.
The deputy headteacher, Frank Poetzsch-Heffter, underlines the sustainability of this process. By the fact that a binding to a profit-orientated company is not necessary, they are independent in the development, can develop ideas, and directly implement them. Thus the fix of errors and the implementation of new features is faster as with purchased software.
More transparency and sustainability
The new software also provides advantages for students, as Jonathan Weth reports, a student of the Katharineum zu Lübeck and one of the main developers of AlekSIS. You can now always see which homework has given and for which missed lessons one has to provide excuses.
Dominik George, who checks the quality standards of the software and accompanies schools with the process of digitization since 2005, adds that this is not about binding students to a specific product to generate profits for the own company. Instead, the support of educational processes is in the foreground. That refers to the use in the management, but also the illustration of software development in class. Through a manual that will be available soon is shown how AlekSIS can be used in computer science classes.
At the Katharineum this has been already practiced. Hangzhi Yu and Julian Leucker, graduates at the school, developed in their project “Porta Segno” digital door signs that show due to the connection to AlekSIS what is taking place in this room. The modular extensibility of AlekSIS makes it possible to realize applications that students can see and use in their daily life.
Technical implementation and support
AlekSIS is a progressive web application on base of the web framework Django. As a base for integrations to other applications LDAP is supported, but AlekSIS also serves as an independent identity management server that offers OAuth2 and OpenID Connect support. An API for the connection to Moodle courses and Matrix chat rooms as well as BBB and Jitsi conferences is planed.
Especially interesting for school authorities is the possibility to provide AlekSIS in a Kubernetes cluster for multiple schools at the same time. This could be used, for example, to make a class register entry for a course that is offered by schools together.
For the setup of demo versions and any other questions for support, you could contact the association Teckids that supports the use and the creation of Free Software since 2013: firstname.lastname@example.org
AlekSIS is a joint project of Teckids e. V. and Katharineum zu Lübeck.
Translated for the AlekSIS blog by Jonathan Weth