The Magic of Open Data: A 60-second signup form for schools
When someone applies for their passport they need to provide their PPS number. When a company makes a tax return they need their VAT registration number. When schools conduct business or make returns to the Dept, they use their School Number. This is a code using five digits and one letter, something like 01234A or 98765B, and so on. The School Number is sacrosanct and identifies each school across Ireland. What’s beneficial for us is that the list of schools across Ireland is published on the Irish Government’s Open Data Portal, data.gov.ie (which links to Dept of Education's website). This data includes the Roll Number along with a series of other school information. From here we can reuse this data in a number of efficient ways.
What is Open Data?
"Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. Governments, businesses and individuals can use open data to bring about social, economic and environmental benefits."
As a technology provider, we always want to increase the benefits to schools and open data helps us achieve this in a very simple way.
How can do we help schools using open data?
Nobody likes filling out long-winded registration forms. School secretaries and principals are challenged with time constraints every day so a little thing like filling out a long online form is an experience they’d prefer to avoid. Meanwhile, we need to know some background information about any school that uses our system. The following is a flavour of the information we require:
- School Name
- Contact Phone & Email
- Ideally, we’d like to know the principal’s name
- Number of pupils
To include this information in a registration form would require a lot of form filling on the part of the school. And this is where the Roll Number comes in. Because we know the Roll Number and all the above-mentioned data from the Open Data on Department of Education’s website, we simply ask the school to type in their Roll Number and we join the dots from there. We turn this into the shortest registration form possible that only asks for 5 digits and 1 letter.
So if you are a school looking to use our system and you don’t like filling out forms, then we have you covered. You can register for a SchoolAlerts.ie account for your school here.