New Feature: Cut off date for Parent Responses to ParentPaperwork online school forms

We have released a new feature in ParentPaperwork, the ability to configure a cut off date for Parent Responses when they fill out and submit their online forms.

2015-05-14_10-34-54b

Until now there has no been no restriction on when a Parent can submit their Form, yet often events and activities need to have all Forms returned by a certain date.

The Close Responses after this Date option allows you to set a hard cut off date, after which Parents who click through to the Form will not be permitted to submit a response.

cut-off

 

ParentPaperwork announces Single-Sign-On for Google and Office 365 users

ParentPaperwork is pleased to announce the availability for both Google and Office 365 Single Sign On (SSO).

Increasingly schools in Australia and around the world are moving to implement a range of cloud-based technology services, it is not unusual for a school to have a couple of dozen online tools and services deployed including student and learning management systems.

This week ParentPaperwork joins the list of technology providers to schools offering both Google and Office 365 sign in capability. School staff can log into ParentPaperwork using the same user name and password they use across other applications in their school. The login is seamless and gives instant access to ParentPaperwork’s unique online forms platform without the school’s ICT staff configuring and managing individual user accounts within ParentPaperwork.

Schools wanting to enable SSO for their ParentPaperwork account should email support@parentpaperwork.com, including their SSO domain name. There is no additional cost to schools for this feature.

New Feature: Duplicate Form Templates

The Form Templates in ParentPaperwork are extremely flexible, enabling you to capture all manner of information from parents. Many schools have built quite complex Templates with many fields, but one obstacle has been the inability to re-use a Template by copying it.

We have now enabled a feature to copy a Form Template.

Click Form Templates on the main menu at the left hand side, then click to Edit the Form Template you wish to copy.

Click the Action drop down at top right, and select Duplicate Template.

A complete copy of the Template will be created.

New Feature: Resend Slip Log, plus Resend from Student View page

Back in November last year we announced a new feature, Resending Slips, which enables you to resend the emails to a parent for a specific Student and Slip. We’ve had great feedback from schools – and the number one request has been the ability to know which ones you have resent.

Today we have released an update that fulfills this request.

Every time you resend a Slip to a parent we log this information in the database, and now we give you visibility to that log.

On the Slip page, when viewing the list of Responses, a green envelope icon will display if the email has been resent, hover your mouse over the icon to see the date/time the email was resent.

We have also update the Student View page, the Resend link (and log icon) now is also available on the list of Slips sent to that Student – just to make life easier and saving you having to click back to the Slip View page to resend for a particular Student.

 

New Feature: Managing Parent and Student Identifiers

We’ve introduced a new feature to ParentPaperwork that should make life easier for schools regularly importing data, both manually and via integration to their school management systems.

The import system is reliant on unique identifiers for Parent Contacts and Students, these are described in our Help articles about importing Contacts and Students. When a record is processed by the import queue these are the identifiers used to look up whether a record already exists in ParentPaperwork – and if so, that record is updated with any changes, for example, if a Contact’s email address has changed.

Until now the unique identifiers have not been accessible to users via the interface, and on occasion this has caused problems. For example, you might have imported your Contacts and Students, and these are all being tracked via their unique identifiers. You might then enrol a new student and manually add them via the interface. But because you could not enter their unique Id, the next time an import runs, you would wind up with two records for the same student – one from the import with the unique Id, and one you manually entered.

We have now added both the Contact and Student Id fields to the ParentPaperwork interface. Please take care modifying these values, if you alter an ID from the one in your import (and thus the one you have in your school management system) the possibility will remain that the system will not be able to correctly uniquely identify each Parent Contact and Student.

 

 

 

New Feature: Archive Slips

Australian schools start their new year this week, and a number of them have spoken to us about the need to ‘archive’, or otherwise somehow file away their Slips from last year. A busy school sends dozens of online forms out, so it makes sense that from time to time groups of Slips can be hidden away in an archive, as they most likely will not need to be accessed frequently.

Today we have released a new feature, to group Slips as either ‘Current’ or ‘Archived’.

move-slips

On the Slips we have added a new drop down list in the Search area. By default the page will list Current slips, you can change to display Archived Slips.

There are now checkboxes down the left, one for each Slip, and one at the top to select all the Slips on the page. Clicking the Action drop down at the right now shows two additional options:

  1. Move Selected to Archive
  2. Move Selected to Current

To move Slips to the Archive, select them with the checkboxes, then click Action and ‘Move Selected to Archive’. You can view the archived slips by changing the drop down to ‘Archived’, and clicking the Search button.

Slips can be moved out of the Archive by reversing the process. Select them with the checkboxes, then click Action and ‘Move Selected to Current’.

Lessons to Teach your Kids Over the Christmas Break

The holiday season has always been a bonding time for families around Australia. Being able to share these special moments with your children and create unforgettable memories on Christmas day are some of our fondest and most cherished times.

While there is lots of excitement and fantastic activities for the kids to participate in this holiday season we can also use this time to teach them some valuable life lessons that will carry through into adulthood. These lessons include learning about:

“Giving” and not just “Receiving”

One of the best things about the holidays is our ability to give back to charities, hospitals, the disadvantaged and family and friends. There are a number of creative ways you and your children could come up with way to give back this December including:

  • Have your children purchase and special toy and donate it to another child or group such as “The Salvation Army- K-Mart Wishing Tree Appeal.”
  • Take some time to arrange for you and your kids to volunteers at a homeless shelter or food bank.
  • Create a charity jar that the entire family can donate to. Encourage your children to fill it with spare change or a portion of their allowance?

Developing their creativity

Rather than going to the store and buying readymade cards and Christmas accessories why not arrange projects for your kids to create their own Christmas cards and presents? Not only will your children have a great time and lots of fun creating their pieces they will also be able to use their creative skills to begin a project and see it through to completion. This will test their time management, prioritising and planning skills preparing them for their future careers. Handmade presents are a great unique gift for your family and friends and can be a great bonding exercise for the entire family.

Becoming the next great Chef

These holidays’ families will celebrate the holiday season with a variety of different foods and recipes. Rather than slaving away in the kitchen while your kids sit around bored why not include them in the process? Being able to help will not only keep them busy and engaged it will also build their cooking skills which is an essential skill to develop as they grow older. Who knows these cooking sessions could one day lead to your kids becoming the next great Australian Chef’s!

Here are some helpful links to help you and your kids give back during the holiday season:

The K-Mart/Salvation Army Wising Tree: You can donate, download kids activates and locate your closest K-Mart wishing tee via this link- http://wishingtree.kmart.com.au/

Mission Australia: “Christmas Lunch in the Park” is a fantastic Perth event where in-need children are able to receive gifts from Santa and enjoy a fantastic lunch. You’re able to donate online or participate on the day as a volunteer. ihttp://www.christmaslunchinthepark.com.au/donate-now/

Exodus Foundation: Volunteer, donate or run a canned food drive- http://www.exodusfoundation.org.au/

Coast Shelter NSW: Help the homeless in NSW on Christmas day through a variety of ways! http://coastshelter.org.au/christmas.html

Melbourne City Mission: Make a donation or give a gift to the Melbourne City Mission here- http://www.melbournecitymission.org.au/get-involved/give-this-christmas

 

 

New feature: ParentPaperwork now remembers parent responses from one online form to the next

forget-knot-finger

Today we are pleased to announce new functionality for parents completing their online forms with ParentPaperwork.

There is nothing more frustrating as a parent to receive endless paper forms from school endlessly asking the same questions. “What’s your emergency contact phone number?”, “What’s your ambulance subscription number?”, “What is your child’s swimming ability?”.

With paper forms you need to handwrite each answer every time, which is a huge time waster and inconvenience. Now ParentPaperwork solves this problem, adhering to our mantra “a parent should only have to tell us something once”.

In the Form Builder, when editing a Parent field, you’ll see a new option where you can select the Default value for the field:

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 1.34.32 PM

If you tick ‘Enter Value’ then you can enter or select the default value for the field. Tick ‘Use value last entered by parent’ and when the parent clicks through and fills out their online form, if they have previously filled out a form from this template, they will see the value they last entered already pre-filled in the field.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 1.41.58 PM

Of course if the parent wants to edit the values they can do so.

This new feature should be a fantastic time saver, just remember to select the ‘Use value last entered by parent’ option when you are setting up Form Templates.

 

New features: Resend online forms. Add more Students to online forms. Paging for long Response lists

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 9.20.46 AM

Today we are announcing the release of a raft of changes to the way you can view, list and manage the Responses submitted by Parents.

High on the list of requests from schools has been the ability to deal with situations where a particular student for some reason or other did not receive their Slip. Typically there are two scenarios:

  1. The Student was not allocated to the Student List when the Slip was emailed out.
  2. The Student did not have a Parent Contact allocated, or the Parent Contact did not have an email address configured when the Slip was emailed out.

The new features released today address both of these situations. We have substantially overhauled the Responses list when you view a Slip. The two big changes are:

  1. You can now Resend the emails for a particular Student by clicking the Resend link.
  2. There is a new section called Other Students that will display if there are Students on the Lists selected, but who have not been sent the Slip. You can click the Send Slip link, they will be sent the emails and be moved to the list of Responses above.

In the situation where a Student appears on the Other Students list, but their Parent Contact(s) don’t have email addresses, you will be told this, and will not see a Resend link until email addresses are configured.

In addition we have also made the following changes:

  1. The Responses list now has paging. We’ve noticed schools sending hundreds of Slips out, so the list becomes very long and unwieldy. It made sense to introduce paging, you’ll now see 100 Responses at a time, and can move through the list by clicking the page numbers at the top right.
  2. The Student and Parent names now are clickable links so you can jump to their specific records. This is particularly handy when you are working to resolve a problem, for example dealing with a missing email address for a Parent. Previously you would have had to go and search for the Parent’s name, now you can just click through.

ParentPaperwork’s data now stored in Australia

aus_kang_1

We are pleased to announce that as of today all of ParentPaperwork’s data is stored in Australia.

ParentPaperwork is hosted by one of the leading cloud web hosting companies, Microsoft Azure. Microsoft operates a bunch of data centres around the world, but up until now did not have facilities available based in Australia.

We chose Azure hosting for many reasons, they are one of the major cloud hosting companies in the world along with Amazon and Google, and provide a fantastic range of services and options, along with a high degree of availability and reliability. As they are global, we are able to provide a great ParentPaperwork experience to schools located everywhere. They also give us the ability to scale up our online services at the click of a button to cope with spikes in traffic and demand.

Microsoft has a comprehensive approach to data security and publishes a white paper detailing security, privacy and compliance for the Azure hosting service but the lack of an Azure facility in Australia has been an obstacle to some schools in Australia, education departments are becoming more cautious about schools using online services where student data might be held outside of Australia, and thus potentially outside the jurisdiction of Australian privacy legislation.

Earlier in 2014 Microsoft announced that they would open data facilities for Azure in Australia, and we’ve been waiting with baited breath for them to come available. And finally they have!

Over the weekend we moved all of the ParentPaperwork databases used to hold Australian customer data into the Azure Melbourne hosting facility, meaning that any student and parent data in ParentPaperwork is now stored in Australia.