School Management Software in Australia and the Issue of Technological Adoption

School Management Software in Australia and the Issue of Technological Adoption

Bill Davey (RMIT University, Australia) and Arthur Tatnall (Victoria University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6126-4.ch010
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Abstract

Approaches to innovation adoption often fail to explain why similar technologies in a single environment can have very different adoption outcomes. In this chapter, the single environment of education management systems in one country (Australia) are used to show how outcomes of similar technologies can be very different. An Actor-Network approach is used to explain how some technologies succeeded and others failed. Understandings reached in this case illuminate the power of the approach that includes listening to the technological actors in addition to the human. The chapter identifies actors and interactions and shows the connection between those interactions and the final outcomes of the innovations.
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Research Method: The Cases

Three information systems were analysed from an ANT perspective; CASES21, a Victorian Government financial system for schools; The Ultranet, a communications system intended to connect parents, schools, teachers and students; and MySchool, a Federal Government system intended to provide the general community with school performance data.

CASES21 (Victoria)

CASES21 is a successful information system at the Victorian Government level. To manage an education system at State level requires management of financial information. This has been difficult in systems such as the Victorian State system as schools were traditionally independent in the management of their administrative data. In particular, getting consistent financial data from schools when they each had their own accounting system was almost impossible (Birse 1994). This is why CASES (Computerised Administrative Systems Environment in Schools) was introduced in the mid-1980s and mandated for use in all Victorian government schools. Whereas, previously each school was able to keep their own financial and student records in their own way, now they would have to use a common system provided by the Education Ministry. All Victorian Government schools now make use of the latest version, CASES21, for school management purposes including school administration and finance (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 2011a; Tatnall, Michael and Dakich 2011).

The Administration Module offers management facilities such as: storing student and family data, maintaining attendance records, recording student achievement, detailing school activities, basic timetabling and daily organisation. The Finance Module creates and receipts family and student invoices, manages debtors and creditors, manages the school’s asset register, processes and manages the school’s payroll and manages school finances and budgets. It also generates appropriate financial reports. CASES was developed as a tool for overall school administration and as a means whereby schools reported back to the Department of Education (Tatnall 1995). Its prime purpose was to enable reporting from schools back to the Department of Education, rather than to directly assist schools with their own administration (Birse 1994; Tatnall 1995).

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