A new music education technology company, iSchoolBand, will attempt to solve many of the problems we talk about in music education with their highly boasted productivity platform due out this fall. The platform offers band and orchestra programs a slew of features, offering a new paradigm in communication, organization, and management for any director brave enough to try new things. The platform attempts to provide an intuitive approach to web applications and claims, "The system is simple and painless. It is a great first introduction to web based networks and setting up your network requires no time at all. Your school network and database sets itself up as students and parents sign up."
At the core of the iSchoolBand platform is a social network reminiscent of Facebook. The big difference is that the network is private to each school and secured using a series of codes and passwords. Social networking technology offers a form of communication that is yet unprecedented. The iSchoolBand platform uses that technology to offer five major communication features: messaging, group messaging, comments, announcements, and status updates. In addition, it offers a dynamic address book and email notifications to make sure no one misses an important message. They will be extending the notification reach to the cell phone sometime this fall.
The iSchoolBand platform has been tailored to fit the needs of school bands and orchestras by offering features for individual instrument groups, boosters, parents, and other support groups. It automatically organizes students and parents into groups as they sign up. This saves hours of work for the directors when it comes to setting up the network database. It also allows administrators to easily specify who media items (sheet music, audio files, and drill charts) and documents (permission slips, medical forms, sign in sheets, etc.) are for by simply checking the name of a group. This allows our system to automatically organize media & documents into user backpacks, group profiles, and student profiles. Never again will directors have to reprint a document.
The Administrator Control Panel allows directors to manage every aspect of their school's network. The platform allows directors to specify student and parent administrators, allowing star parents and students to help carry the administrative load. Individual permissions can be set to allow admin groups to only have access to areas the director specifies. A content filter has been included to keep the content clean and comments and news feed items can easily be deleted by administrators. In addition, every bit of content on the network can be edited including: group, student, and parent profile information. A dynamic event management package is due soon as well. They had inteded to include it in the initial release but time constaints forced them to put it on hold. Look for it this fall.
With any luck, the iSchoolBand platform will change the face of music education and provide a foundation for a new generation of school bands and orchestras. The network is currently in a private BETA phase of development. It is due to launch in September and plans to officially release the service this December at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. You can learn more by visiting their website: http://www.ischoolband.com.