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2017 Post Conference Spider

 

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18th September 2017

2017 Post Conference Spider Newsletter

The 2017 Conference Release of Spider Now Availabe
The new Spider is now available for download from the PCSchool Website – see link below. Although the new features showcased at the conference are incorporated into this release, they are set to be disabled by default in order to give your school time to educate your staff about them. Help documentation is available here – Recent Help Document Updates – which has links to the the major changes. Please share this link with all your users.

To enable these features, the relevant keys are within the “Portal Management > Configuration” section of the Spider, within the web config dropdown. Please be aware that when saving changes within this section, your Spider will restart, so please choose an appropriate time (ie. not during roll marking or assessment reporting).

Download the latest Spider from our Website – click here

IMPORTANT: Spider .Net Framework Update
With the increasing demands from schools to integrate their logins with third party vendors, such as Microsoft’s Azure service, as well allowing PCSchool software to benefit from new technologies, Spider will be moving to .Net Framework 4.6 with Spider versions released from September 2017. It is critical to check that your Spider server is compatible with this Framework. A list of compatible Operating Systems is available at: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/8z6watww(v=vs.110).aspx

If required, the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6 (Offline Installer) is available here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48137

New Features Showcased at the Conference
Booklets and presentations from the PCSchool Admin, Curric and IT conference in August are available for download from our Help site here – the password is ‘2017’.  Below we have outlined some of the significant changes released.

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Single Tab Option

When opening new controls / modules within Spider, schools can configure the controls to either open a new tab each time (current option) or open the selected control within the current tab. This new option has been created to eliminate having multiple tabs open (sometimes of the same control). For a video preview of the single tab option and how to activate it, click here.

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Communication – SMS, Email & Push Notifications

Major advances have been made to the communication options within the PCSchool Spider including a new email interface, general and EN SMS messaging and push notifications via the PCSchool App. View a video here – watch now

NOTE: SMS Messaging in the Spider will now be done using the ClickSend Gateway. Schools subscribing to Spider SMS Messaging will be issued with a ClickSend account through PCSchool and invoiced at the end of each month $Au0.08 (+GST) per message, rather than pre-purchasing credits. This is a significant saving of 3 to 8 cents per message. Those schools who still hold credits with The SMS Engine can still use these via the Back Office SMS Messaging control, and are encouraged to contact PCSchool to register with ClickSend once these credits are used.

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eForms Advancements

PCSchool eForms now have added functionality such as pre filling existing data from database, upload of files, use of image plotter (eg for personal injury forms), dynamic controllers, custom message/template within the workflows and much more.

View the eForms manuals here or watch a video here.

We are also creating a library of eforms that users can import into their Spider – click here to view. This library is based on interesting or complex eforms schools have created and others may wish to use with out having to ‘reinvent the wheel’. If you have an eform you think would be useful to other schools please contact help@pcschool.net to arrange to have your form added to the library.

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Attendance Flow

PCSchool have now made all areas of student attendance available in the Spider, from logging absence calls from parents, entering bulk absences for class/year groups, viewing unmarked rolls and early notification of student absences to parents.

The Attendance Flow User Guide is available here.

We recommend that schools encourage attendance officers / administration staff to start using this control, in preference to the Back Office, to familiarise themselves with the the upcoming move to PCSchool becoming fully web based (admin & curric) in the next 12-18 months.

NOTE: See information on ClickSend in the ‘Communication’ article above – If your school uses The SMS Engine and still has credits available we suggest you continue to use the Back Office for sending the Early Notification messages to parents, however the other processes (entering parent phone calls & bulk absences, checking unmarked rolls, reviewing absences) could still be done via the Spider.

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Financial Reports Wizard & Cash Flow

At the conference Cole Accounting demonstrated the capabilities of the Financial Reports Wizard and Cash Flow tools within the Spider – see video. This control is now fully functional and available for schools to purchase. Note: schools who pre-purchased the control at the last Financial Conference have already had this activated in the past few weeks- please contact kate@pcschool.net if this has not yet happened.

Schools wishing to have a demonstration of the Financial Reports Wizard and Cash Flow controls can contact Wendy Limbert at Cole Accounting – wendy@coleaccounting.com.au

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Parent Payment Portal

A new Payment Portal screen has been created that provides a much cleaner and clearer interface for parents. This new format is available once you have updated your Spider, to have it activated please contact PCSchool. We suggest you notify parents of the change. Preview the new interface here – watch now.

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 Keep Up-To-Date with Recent Changes
 To keep abreast of recent changes to the Spider, Back Office and new documentation be sure to visit:

Have You Had Your Health Check?
FREE Health Checks are available to all PCSchool schools. A health check involves PCSchool reviewing your database and checking the following;

  • Does your data require significant tidy up (eg removal of old records or reordering of codes)
  • Are you using the modules you already own effectively
  • Are there other modules available that could improve your productivity / efficiency

Once a health check has been completed on your system we will provide you with a report on recommendations and changes.

To arrange your Health Check contact Karen@pcschool.net

Kind regards,
PCSchool Team
E: helpdesk@pcschool.net
P: 07 4939 5995 (Aust) / 09 974 9624 (NZ) Fax: 07 4939 3315
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