Today there are tons of tools on the market to support school administration. It can be challenging to sift through all of the different types of software available. There is a lot to consider when figuring out what you need and what you can trust to help manage all parts of your school effectively. Some schools may choose an all-inclusive school information management system and others will want to combine a few powerful tools. Today we will cover some of the best software on the market, what makes it great, and the cost to implement it.
Alma is a high performing software that is designed for individual schools or school districts. It has a student information system, education planning tools, a state reporting component, and advanced data and business intelligence features that you don’t see in other school administration software. It also offers online and in-house training programs, full-service migration onto their platform, and support with integrating third-party software. However, Alma is not free and pricing is not made public. This software is ideal for large and complex institutions with a lot of data to manage.
Gibbon is a great resource management tool for schools. It was created by teachers to solve the common problems that all schools face. It includes features such as extensive lesson and activity planning tools, the ability to track student information, such as attendance and test scores, as well ass individual group academic performance. You can see visual data of how and when your students are learning and excelling across different subjects. It also has an internal messenger and a financial management component for tracking invoicing and billing. Gibbon is a free and open source software.
G Suite for Education
G Suite for Education is an ideal option for primary, secondary, or higher institutions of learning. It is an awesome toolset for schools to be able to connect, collaborate, and educate. Its features include institution-wide email, collaborative calendars, video conferencing, and Google sites, documents, sheets, and presentations. It also offers unlimited cloud storage, high security, 24/7 technical support, and the ability to track and report on user activity.
Starting in June 2018, G Suite for Education will also be available for homeschoolers and homeschool co-ops. One great thing about Google is that they are committed to continually improving their products. Google designs products that are intuitive to use and most users are familiar with the common Google features. It is a free service, and Google has committed to keeping it free. There is a paid version for large institutions that need more capacity.
Renweb is a school administrative tool that boasts more than 300 features. Although it’s hard to imagine being able to use all of them, some schools might choose an option like this to avoid having to use a combination of tools to meet their needs. Renweb has a lot of tools that satisfy private institutions such as admissions and tuition management. It has great human resources tools to manage staff, salaries, certifications, evaluations, etc. It also has selective features such as cafeteria and healthcare management components. Schools can also create a customizable parents portal. Set up for a Renweb system is between $995-7500. Monthly fees range from $80-250.
Edmodo is a modern social media-like tool that allows teachers, students, and parents to communicate digitally. Teachers can manage their digital classroom in one convenient place. They can distribute homework digitally so students always have access to it. Teachers can also share test scores and announcements to ensure families have a streamlined home and classroom connection. Teachers from different institutions can share resources and teaching tips as well. Edmodo is intuitive to use and mobile optimized with unique teacher, student, and parent views. Another great feature is that it integrates flawlessly with G Suite for Education and Microsoft Office. Edmodo is free to use and offers a few different premium accounts with advanced features.
Using quality tools is important to keep all aspects of a school running smoothly and keep staff and students collaborating and communicating effectively. Schools need to consider how they will manage business operations, internal and external communications, teacher collaborations, and classroom management—which is continually becoming more digitized. When choosing software, it is important to consider features, user experience, initial and recurring costs, and product longevity.