A slight departure from my normally technical posts to give me a chance to get a random thought off my chest.

Rypple is doing it’s best to revolutionize the way in which staff and teams are managed and it seems to be a great tool to do it wit. However lately I’ve been wondering about how it might be applicable is less obvious situations.

I’m going to preface the rest of this post with the admission that I’m basing everything that I write here on a vague understanding (a demo and a brief play) of Rypple. And that I only really have indirect experience of the education sector (I went to school, I worked in a school for a year and my wife is a teacher). Therefore all of this might already exist or be complete rubbish.

The other day someone from my wife’s school was asking her what the best part of being on maternity leave was. I was expecting her to respond with some comment about the joys of raising our son and watching him grow into a small boy but no. Instead she replied without hesitation that it was not having to write reports. It was at this point I realised her disdain for reports was the same as my disdain for appraisals.

A bit more thinking about it and I started to see more parallels between the two processes. Students have targets, generally individual when related to learning but the concept of “table teams” and “houses” also exist. There are also many parties invested in the performance of a pupil, teachers, adminstrators, parents and sometimes the pupils themselves. As things stand the targets are generally set and monitored by the same teacher on a termly basis and the parents on the whole only receive feedback once or twice a year in a formalised “report”.

As I said the parallels to the working world are, to me at least, very striking. So how could Rypple be used? Well targets continue to be set by their teacher however rather than being kept on a dusty piece of paper they are now visible to all staff allowing any of them to contribute to noting that pupil’s progress towards their targets. This could be particularly useful in a secondary school environment where a maths target may well be met in a physics lesson. Then give parents access to their child’s account so that they can quickly catch up on where their child’s progress and goals allowing for more efficient teacher – parent communication and giving parents the best opportunity to support their child. More senior members of staff would be able to get a quicker and more transparent view of the progress of their pupils.

I’m a bit vague on the current ability of Rypple to support this but imagine if when a child switched schools you simply transferred their Rypple record. This would give you immediate access to their current targets not to mention their history. As a teacher you may want to change these targets but at least you have something decent to start with rather than a crumbled piece of paper that may or may not have found it’s way to you.

Yes, I know I sound like I’m piling yet more pressure on teachers to carry out more administration but in reality they should be doing a lot of this already. Couple that with having such an up to date and fluent communication with the pupil, their parents and senior management it should actually start to remove some of the end of term report pressure – hopefully, eventually, removing the need for this big bang communication completely.

There are undoubtedly problems with all of this but nothing that seems insurmountable. In my mind this actually just fits into a much bigger potential revolution of the education sector and the way in which it manages it’s data. For example if we start to think of pupils and parents as a school’s customers then it’s only a short hop, skip and a jump to realise that actually the data fits very nicely into Salesforce.

Anyway these are the genral ramblings of someone that doesn’t really know what he’s talking about but it’s got to be worth getting someone that does know this area to think about it. Hasn’t it?