30 October 2014

Kalmström Attendance At World’s Children’s Prize Ceremony

World’s Children’s Prize iconMy daughter Elsa has strong feelings for all children's right to an education and a safe childhood environment, so she felt both proud and happy when she was selected to represent her school at the World's Children's Prize ceremony the other day. This is her story about the event.

Worldwide educational program
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation is a Swedish independent, non-profit organization that manages a worldwide educational program to teach children about their rights and also about democracy, environment and global friendship. So far 59 748 Global Friend schools in 110 countries have joined the program, and my school is one of them.
World’s Children’s Prize ceremony
World's Children's Prize
As part of the program we voted on who should receive the World’s Children’s Prize. This prize is given as an encouragement for the winners to continue their good work for children's rights.

Three candidates were selected among many more nominated by a jury of 15 young people who have their own experience on violations of children's rights. At the end of the program we could give our votes to one of the candidates.

Malala Yousafzai won the World’s Children’s Prize, this year. She has recently been awarded a shared Nobel Peace Prize, and she is the only person ever who has received the Nobel Peace Prize and the World's Children's Prize in the same year. Nelson Mandela has also been awarded both Prizes, but not in the same year.
Malala Yousafzai
Malala is well known to everyone for her fight for girls’ right to go to school, but even if she is an admirable person she did not get my vote. She already gets so much media attention, and  I wanted the prize to go to someone who deserves the same attention but does not get it.

The two other candidates were John Wood, who has built 1 700 schools and 15 000 school libraries in some of the poorest countries in the world, and Indira Ranamagar, who was nominated for her 20 years of fighting for the rights of prisoners' children in Nepal.
Indira Ranamagar and Elsa Lonngren-Kalmstrom
I decided to vote for Indira Ranamagar, because she had taken the children she rescued from prison into her home and raised them as if they were her own children. It was an honor for me to meet her and get a chance to tell her in person how much I admire her work.

Audition for the ceremony
When my school decided to send three representatives to the prize ceremony in the Gripsholm Castle near Stockholm I wanted to be one of them. There was an audition, where I was asked about children's rights and why I thought I would be a good representative.

two friendsI pointed to my good English skills, which I have practiced not only in school but also during visits to relatives in the U.S. and to the team in India.
This image is from Indore and shows me with one of the team members, Neha Gupta Kaushal, who I know is also interested in children's rights.

Ceremony and dinner
I was selected to go to Gripsholm, and it was a fantastic experience. All the children in the jury were there, and Queen Silvia of Sweden helped them present the winner. Before the ceremoni the Swedish prime minister Stefan Löven held a speech where he greeted us all.

After the ceremony there was a dinner, and I could meet not only Indira and John Wood (Malala could not be present) but also the Swedish singer Loreen, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. Loreen is a patron of the World's Children 's Prize and supports the construction of schools in Afghanistan.
   Elsa and Loreen    Elsa and John Wood
Being present at the World’s Children’s Prize Ceremony was an experience I will never forget. The whole program has been very interesting and I have learned a lot!

Elsa Kate Lönngren-Kalmström

28 October 2014

Study Manager for SharePoint – New Solution

Study Manager for SharePoint logotypeLet students study in their own pace with the help of SharePoint and material especially adapted for them by their teachers. This will be possible with a new Solution under development.

We are often asked to develop customized products for certain companies or organizations, and when we see that the requested software can be useful to many, we normally suggest development of a standard product instead. The company that requested the product will then sponsor the development.

A sponsorship will be less costly than a customized product, but a standard Solution also has benefits when it comes to future development and upgrades. A Solution will be kept alive and adapted to future versions of the platforms we build on.
Tallstugan icon
Swedish for immigrants
A sponsorship was the obvious choice when teachers in a Swedish town asked me for help. They use a SharePoint intranet, and they wanted immigrants who study Swedish to have a possibility to work with exercises on that intranet as a complement to their lessons.

We of course already have our Swedish grammar site, but these teachers wish to be able to add and administer the content themselves.

I decided to build a solution that is easy to manage and use and that works for any subject – not just language learning. We have now delivered the first parts to the teachers, who are very engaged in the project and eager to start filling Study Manager with their content.

Teacher admins
Study Manager will have example data for evaluation, but its success for each organization will depend on the real content it is filled with. The teachers are the experts on that content, and therefore they should be the ones who add it to Study Manager.

We have made an effort to make the content addition quick and logical, so that all teachers can contribute. We will also facilitate exchange of files between teachers in different schools or towns. This way Study Manager will be administered by the teachers, not dependent on a SharePoint administrator, who might not know much about the subject at hand.
Study Manager hierarchy
The content of Study Manager is arranged in a hierarchy. The top level is the course, which has several parts. Each part has chapters, and each chapter has exercises. There is no limit to the number of items on each level – they can be as many or few as needed.

An exercise might be an image or a text. At the bottom level there are different kinds of tasks: multiple choice, drag to column, select correct alternatives and more. Each exercise can have any number of task connected to it.
SharePoint logo
SharePoint features
Study Manager makes use of SharePoint standard features as much as possible, so it will be easy to learn. The installation of Study Manager only adds the specific Study Manager features to SharePoint.

More than self-studies
We will integrate the inbuilt SharePoint functions for cooperation in Study Manager, so that teachers and students can have discussion fora online. There will also be a "write text" part, where the Microsoft Word features for text editing and review will be used, and parts where students can listen to sound.

Study Manager is a big project, and it will not be finished until next year, but I feel so excited about it I had to tell you. Only our imagination sets limits to the possibilities of this new Solution!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

21 October 2014

Archive SharePoint List Items With New Solution

SP Archive for SharePoint logotypeSharePoint lists cannot contain an unlimited number of items, so for a sustainable data management, organizations need to archive old or unused data that cannot be deleted.  To help organizations handle the archiving in an efficient way, is developing a new solution SP Archive. Today the documentation work has come so far that I can show a demo on how SP Archive works.

Customized archiving to database
The best storage option for archived SharePoint list items is a database, and SP Archive supports both the Access and SQL Server database. Often all fields and items don't have to be archived, and with SP Archive you can select exactly which items and fields should be archived at each occasion.

Kanban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeThe SharePoint version of Kanban Task Manager allows teams to work with projects and tasks on a kanban board in SharePoint. Color coded tasks are dragged between phases as work on a project proceeds.

When Kanban Task Manager has been used for a while many of the tasks have been finished. Kanban Task Manager can hide any phase from the kanban board, and many teams choose to hide the finished phase. These tasks can still be used in the Kanban Task Manager Excel reports.

Eventually, when there are many finished tasks and projects, most organizations want to archive them. However, an ordinary workflow cannot be used with the Kanban Task Manager task list, so that was the original reason for developing SP Archive. We soon decided to create a powerful tool for all SharePoint users. SharePoint Solutions HelpDesk OSP icon Business Solutions has more products for SharePoint. The first one was HelpDesk OSP, an add-on that connects Outlook and SharePoint and makes it possible to create SharePoint list items directly from Outlook. TimeCard icon
Recently we published TimeCard for SharePoint, a time tracking solution for SharePoint calendars. Two more SharePoint solutions are under development, but I will save them for later blog posts.

SP Archive can of course be used with all these products, and we have decided to let it be free for subscribers to a SharePoint Solution. Organizations who are not subscribers can subscribe to SP Archive separately.

Released soon
The development of SP Archive is finished, and the solution is now in the testing, bug fixing and documentation phase. We hope to release it by the end of this month or in the beginning of November. In the meantime you are welcome to watch the demo!

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions