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Future Development Plans for Abraquest

Year 2017 on a tablet computer
What will the future bring for Abraquest customers?

This page contains information on the upcoming development plans for Abraquest.

Our vision is to continually improve Abraquest to give it the most useful features, at the best value for money on the market.

How do we do that? We always listen to our customers, so the information on this page might change slightly, especially priorities. The next two releases are normally finalised, but releases after that could change. Also the technical work going on behind the scenes to cloud enable Abraquest has the potential to upset the timescales. Please keep an eye on the blog, this page, or contact us to tell us about it, if there is a feature that you would like.

If you would like to know about what has been recently added, you we have a Recent Developments page, there is the Abraquest Blog, or you can goto the Abraquest Release Notes in the schools area.

The following features are planned, please subscribe to the Abraquest Blog if you wish to know more about these as and when they are released.

We have installed many new schools in the past few months, and have much inspiration from talking to many people from chartered librarians to watching school children use Add Books.

As a result we have a large backlog to sort through and at the time of writing (October 2017), we plan a release once a month for the next few months to get through this backlog.

Here are some of the highlights:

Year End

Year end is the process of moving pupils up a year removing those who leave and adding the new intake.

We have got it organised for most schools (those who don't have tutor groups where pupils can go anywhere are the most demanding), the existing Year End has worked well for many years and has recent enhancements to make it easier to understand, bearing in mind you only use it once per year.

We are going to compliment it for next year with one that just takes your entire pupils from SIMS on a Excel spreadsheet... and just sorts it out. It will give you a report saying what it will do and if you press Confirm, just do it! So we will have reduced it to about 3 mouse clicks!

Use of Pupil Ids

Unattended Issue/Returns has introduced the use of Pupil Id's which can be barcoded either on a sheet of A4 or on labels to be added to Pupil ID badges.

We are going to offer a third option: Teacher Issue/Returns will accept pupil barcodes. So you can scan the pupil, scan the book, Next pupil?

As always with Abraquest, you can decide which options you actually want to use by logging in as sysadmin1 and selecting the appropriate options in the System Configuration option on the Base Data Menu.

Pupil Identification

Pupils currently identify themselves by choosing their class and name on screen in Issue/Returns when teacher is logged in. Unattended Issue/Returns currently allows pupils to be identified by a bar code / number which can be on ID badges as well as on sheets of A4 in a book next to the computer if ID badges are not required.

The possible options are:

  1. Existing methods
  2. Identify using username and password
  3. Identify using name and date of birth
  4. Identify using fingerprint recognition

We think we already have the most popular covered, but as always welcome your views. Please contact us if you would like to comment on this.

Another reason for offering these options is that with better identification, it will also be possible to offer further features aimed at pupils, such as "what books are pupils my age/gender reading (that are in the school library)".

Do we Offer Web Based as an Option?

We felt initially that we should connect Abraquest to the cloud so we could offer many benefits from that such as online backups and access to an online book database.

Most of our customers just want to keep track of books in the easiest possible way, so far we haven't had many requests for web based software where the data is in the cloud and you access Abraquest via a web browser.

We see the main benefits are of making Abraquest web based are:

  1. Allowing access from the class room, e.g. to view Key Stage Reading histories.
  2. Security of data - its not on the local PC and will be automatically backed up.
  3. Allowing Abraquest to be used with different devices other than PC's, e.g. Chrome Books, iPads.
  4. Preventing problems with installation (some schools have locked down PC's that you need help from IT to install software on).
  5. Many of our customers have specifically said they are not bothered about having parents view reading histories etc. Do you agree with this?

Due to web hosting costing a little extra, web based Abraquest when its ready will be available as an option. We will not force any changes on our existing customer base if there are cost implications, EVER.

Keeping Track of Key Stage Reading

Many of our customers don't allow key stage reading books to leave the library, instead they have these books in specific places in the school, individual classrooms etc. If the school is just using Abraquest as a tool to keep track of books that have been borrowed, putting these books onto Abraquest doesn't make sense to them.

At some point we would like to offer an additional module that can be used in the class room and to be used to keep track of key stage reading books, whether these are allowed to be taken home or not.

This would allow good records to be kept of pupils reading history and skills and maximum effort focussed into individuals as and when required.

Other Ideas:

Recording Other Types of Asset

Abraquest has a media code and format code, that allows you to define additional media types, e.g. musical instruments. Does it offer all the facilities required for these different asset types? We are not sure, so this area needs some thought and liasing with customers who would like to use Abraquest for these kinds of things.

Making Abraquest Multi Lingual

Customers have asked for this from time to time. The big cost for us is getting absolutety everything translated correctly. If we use Google Translate to translate the text and ask the customer to review it, then this could keep costs down.

Please send us your Feedback

Nothing happens here at Spherical without feedback from you the customer - about this website and especially about the product itself. 

At some software companies, if you have a requirement, you could pay a lot of money to get it implemented in your system. Here at Spherical we turn that idea on its head. If a customer makes a suggestion to improve Abraquest and its implemented, then not only is it FREE for all Abraquest Software Assurance customers (sometimes enabled via an option so as not to interrupt customers who don't want a particular feature), we would thank the customer concerned by giving them additional months for FREE on their Abraquest Software Assurance / Abraquest Automated Backup agreements.

If you would like something on this page, or would like something not on this page, if you are a customer, or are considering buying, we would love to hear your views. Please contact us and we will always do our best to serve you.

 

 

 

 

 

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