Solutions

Teacher in one of the nation's largest school districts finds new and dynamic classroom uses for FileMaker Pro

Tarpon Springs Middle School

With over 5,000 teachers and over 100,000 students, Florida's Pinellas County School District stands as one of the largest in the United States. But like any school district, Pinellas County faces ever–tightening budgets and the need to get absolutely the most from every dollar spent. At the district's Tarpon Springs Middle School, an innovative technology teacher uses FileMaker Pro to build unique and cost–effective classroom solutions.

Overview

  • Part of K–12 school district covering Pinellas County, Florida
  • Based in Tarpon Springs FL
  • Over 5,000 employees district–wide

Industry

  • K–12 Education

Solutions

  • Teacher–developed FileMaker Pro online testing/quizzing system allows students access to math drills anytime.

Benefits

  • Easy access to self–testing materials encourages students to build classroom skills on their own time and at their own pace.The ease of development of FileMaker Pro allows for innovative classroom applications at minimal expense.
  • Potential for significant future savings as district uses FileMaker Pro as foundation of bookless classroom plan.

Our school is just beginning to implement a policy of computers instead of printed textbooks…And if we're all using FileMaker Pro, there's no worries about compatibility! FileMaker Pro is the one software that keeps up with all the curriculum developments.

— Manny Klimis, Computer Teacher, Tarpon Springs Middle School

Business Challenge

It's an old saying — but true nonetheless. Necessity is the mother of invention. Just ask Manny Klimis, an energetic computer teacher at Tarpon Springs Middle School. He knows only too well that, large or small, every school faces the same problem: in these days of ever–tightening budgets, there's never enough money to do what needs to be done. "My classroom budget for the whole year is $100," he reveals. "So how am I supposed to go out and buy instructional software? Anything I might want to buy to use in my class could cost $1000, and I just can't afford that."

It's the same problem throughout the school — but for Manny, it's a chance to improvise, a chance to put his mind to the problem and come up with innovative solutions all his own. "We've already got a district license for FileMaker Pro," he explains, "which we use to prepare Individualized Lesson Plans as mandated by state law. So I started looking into using it to create solutions that fit what we need to do."

Successful Solution

Manny's first FileMaker Pro application helps students in his class sharpen their math skills — anytime and anyplace. "I have a FileMaker Pro application that's set up to generate random math problems," he explains. "The kids can log in, and take the test. The application then corrects and grades the test for them, shows them what problems they got wrong, and records the results so teachers can check in to see how they're doing. Because the database randomly selects the math problems, every time they take the test it's different!"

Right now, the system's being used only in Manny's class, but plans are in the works to implement it schoolwide in the fall of 2007. "I've already created a spelling program along the same lines," Manny continues, "and I'm doing another that focuses on fractions."

Manny's applications, drawing from a total of twelve FileMaker Pro databases, run on a variety of Dell Optiplex 280 machines, all of them using the Windows XP operating system.

FileMaker Pro is a godsend because it does it all. It can do everything that I want it to do, so far as instructional purposes go — I can use it to create instructional software, I can do all the things I want to make a curriculum. And then if the state comes along and says 'we want to go this way,' I can take it and change it and it won't cost me a dime.

— Manny Klimis, Computer Teacher, Tarpon Springs Middle School

Customer Benefits

Flexibility, functionality, and affordability. FileMaker Pro brings them all to the classroom, and for Manny, they're all essential. "FileMaker Pro is a godsend," he declares, "because it does it all. It can do everything that I want it to do, so far as instructional purposes go — I can use it to create instructional software, I can do all the things I want to make a curriculum. And then if the state comes along and says 'we want to go this way,' I can take it and change it and it won't cost me a dime."

Students enjoy being able to test their own skills — with the FileMaker Pro self–testing application, math becomes a game, and Manny can sense his students becoming ever more enthusiastic as they match their skills against the computer. "When they get done with their regular assignments," Manny observes, "they do the math drills for fun!"

The success of his self–testing applications puts Manny on the leading edge of a coming wave of technological innovation at his school, and he expects FileMaker Pro to play an essential role in the move toward a bookless classroom. "Our school is just beginning to implement a policy of computers instead of printed textbooks," he notes. "Already we have two sixth grade classes that use nothing but computers in the classroom, and we figure that's going to save at least $600 a year per student. And if we're all using FileMaker Pro, there's no worries about compatibility! FileMaker Pro is the one software that keeps up with all the curriculum developments."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Tarpon Springs Middle School:

Manny Klimis
Technology Instructor
Tarpon Springs Middle School
727-943-0306
klimism@yahoo.com
http://www.tarpon-ms.pinellas.k12.fl.us