SPC11: SharePoint 2010 Solutions for the Public Sector

This morning at the SPC, I attended a session on SharePoint 2010 Solutions for the Public Sector presented  Ken Mallit, Director of Solutions, Public Sector at Microsoft, and his colleague Mark Dunkel. Ken and Mark went through several examples of how organizations are using SharePoint to address challenges in the public sector, including government and education. The government examples included applying for a permit at a city website and submitting a tip or lead to a public safety site. But to me, the most inspiring stories were the ones Mark shared from the Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood Senior High School in Florida’s Pinellas County. The Center for Advanced Technologies is a public school magnet program, with a curriculum that offers advanced mathematics, science, computer education, multimedia applications, and research coursework. Mark showed us several projects that 15-18 year old students at CAT accomplished over a period of about three weeks last year. All these solutions are Microsoft Composite Solutions presented through the school’s SharePoint portal and solve real challenges. They include:

  • A virtual tour of their school. This tour is available via a kiosk at the front door. In addition to providing maps with pictures, it also shows pictures of the people who work in each room, along with a short biography. I’m sure visitors to this school feel warmly welcomed and rarely get lost!

  • A printer map so teachers can find available printers and download the drivers. Previously, teachers would call student volunteers for support when they needed new drivers or had trouble figuring out which driver to use for each printer. Well, I guess those students got tired of answering the same questions again and again so they developed this SharePoint application. Teachers can locate a printer on the map, click it to download and install the appropriate driver, and be printing their stuff in no time at all. It is completely self-service now, and I’m sure the students use all the time saved dreaming up new and even more valuable SharePoint solutions.
  • An Assignments and Submissions application. This uses an aggregated view of calendars to show students (and parents) assignments for their classes. They just choose to include each teacher calendar on their calendar view. As Mark mentioned, it’s a great way to keep up with homework assignments if you decide to, say, take your kids out of school in the middle of October to go to Anaheim and Disneyland!
  • Lesson Planner application for teachers. This application took a little bit longer than a few weeks to develop due to the training of end users, but it sounds like a real winner. When creating a lesson plan, the state requirements for the course are easily accessible. Teachers can even review lesson plans from teachers at other schools in the district for new ideas – that’s using the real collaboration features of SharePoint!
  • A Hall Pass Monitoring and Referrals application. Hall passes at LSHS used to be pretty varied; maybe your teacher gave you a rabbit’s foot or a piece of wood to carry. Well now, they create the pass in SharePoint. Hall monitors (using iPads they acqured via a grant from another large company) can quickly determine where a student should be and how long he/she has been out of class. They even have plans for extending the application to add a dashboard to monitor trends such as which teachers issue the most hall passes, which students get the most hall passes, how long do hall passes typically last, etc.

These stories were truly remarkable. They show the power of SharePoint and composite solutions from Microsoft and how quickly they can be designed and implemented – even people who are new to the technology. They also get me thinking of other similar solutions that we can build and implement in our organizations. I hope they have inspired you too! Find more information at http://mspublicsectordemos.com/.

 

Read our complete coverage of Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011.


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