TIM Tools have been successfully used in individual schools and entire school systems around the world. Although the original version of TIM Tools was designed with American public schools in mind, the current version includes customizable roles and zones making it easy to configure a TIM Tools instance to match the structure of just about any type of school system.


1. Create the Structure You Want

A single TIM Tools instance can easily be configured to support a centralized system of school administration—even at the national level. If a national system has only a few hundred schools, it may be that there would be no need to even use the zones feature. In most cases, however, the zones feature will help with the organization, management, and reporting of school data. A ministry that has no geographical grouping of schools may wish to group schools by level, for example:

    • Directorate of Primary Education
    • Directorate of Secondary Education
    • Directorate of Technical and Vocational Education

Or schools may be grouped by some other combination of characteristics, for example:

    • English-speaking Catholic Schools
    • English-speaking Public Schools
    • French-speaking Catholic Schools
    • French-speaking Public Schools

And, of course, where the schools are administered by geographic area, an education ministry might create zones for each district education office, academic region, or local authority. You can give any name you want to the zones you create within a TIM Tools instance. There is no limit to the number of zones you can create and there is no limit to the number of schools you add to any zone.


2. Define the Roles You Want

Each new instance of TIM Tools includes eight predefined roles: Super Administrator, District (system-wide) Leader, Zone Leader, School Leader, District Observer, Zone Observer, School Observer, and Teacher. These default roles were created to support a typical school district client in the United States and work well in other countries with similar school system structures such as Canada. With a bit of tweaking, however, the member roles can be redefined to work in just about any situation.

Any default role can be duplicated and renamed to match your organizational structure. The permissions for a newly-created role can then be adjusted so that persons assigned to that role will have exactly the set of privileges you desire for them. You may want some roles to have permission to add new members or to re-assign existing members to new schools or new positions. You might want other roles to have permission to download data from the TIM Tools system. 

And, of course, you can define the permissions to match the structure you’ve created. You might give a school principal access only to the data from his or her own school. You could create a position of regional director and give that person access to the data from all the schools in that region. Or maybe you want to create a role for a national researcher with access to all data. Each type of permission is assignable to the school, zone, or system-wide structure you created.

Additional information about using zones and roles is available in the TIM Tools Administration Guide.

If you would like to know more about how TIM Tools can be used within your school or school system, please do not hesitate to contact us at TIM@fcit.us. We would be happy to explain how TIM Tools can help to make more effective use of the technology investments you have made or plan to make.


Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh.