Why it’s time to commit to just one School Management System
Everybody has an opinion about technology, and teachers are no exception.
Here are three typical schools of thought:
- It’s awesome, and I couldn’t live without it!
- It’s a necessary evil.
- Everything was fine before computers.
Any of these represent you?
Maybe all three at some point or another.
Let’s take a look at a teacher’s point of view and see how effective her school’s management system is.
A Day in the Life
It’s Monday morning and Mrs. Smith steps outside of her door preparing to greet her students. She has prepared her lesson, has all of the programs pulled up on her computer and is ready to go. She begins to greet her students as they pile in and get settled.
Then, she goes to her computer and opens Zoom where her virtual students are waiting. After greeting everyone on the screen, she pulls up Infinite Campus and takes attendance before she forgets.
Next, she informs the class that they will be taking an assessment on Mastery Connect and to pull up that program and wait as she downloads the codes.
After she writes the codes on the board, she reminds them that when they complete the assessment, they need to sign in to Google Classroom and work on their practice assignment as they wait for the rest of the students to finish the test.
In the meantime, she helps four of the students that couldn’t remember how to access the testing program and goes to her desk to make sure her YouTube opener video is ready for the beginning of her lesson.
Finally, with everyone working, she goes back to her computer to begin collecting the data from the test. This assessment program automatically populates the scores as each student finishes. (That’s magical.) But those happy thoughts are immediately erased as she hears an announcement for all teachers to check their email.
Lockdown, of course.
There is a protocol for this, and she starts looking for the program they use whenever a lockdown occurs to let the front office know if her classroom is in distress or that it’s ok. This doesn’t happen that often, so it takes her a minute to remember the name of the program as well as her code to get in. She finds it and lets the front office know all is well. (It’s just a drill.)
Now, she is trying to remember what she was doing before the announcement, but before she gets there, a student has an issue with his Chromebook. She helps the student and returns to her computer scanning the open tabs in an effort to get focused.
Scores. She will need to collect the data and analyze the test results before her meeting with the principal after school. She opens up the assessment program and begins copying the student scores and pasting them back into Infinite Campus. Unfortunately as brilliant as this program is in scoring the test, it doesn’t put the score in the grade book. (Wishful thinking.)
Why is she doing this now instead of during planning? Because during her planning time she has been scheduled for professional learning on a new computer program the school has just purchased.
If you’re confused about what she is doing at this point...so is she. But, if you were able to keep up with all of the programs she is using so far, you will know she’s using six… and she hasn’t even started teaching yet.
This is just a sliver of the technology that she will incorporate into her day of “teaching.” It may seem over the top, but this story actually came from a teacher.
How Schools Use Technology
There is absolutely no argument that now, more than ever, technology is an essential part of education. For the most part, technology is a beautiful thing: it’s been used to create much more engaging lessons, aid those that need extra help, keep student records at teachers’ fingertips, and much more.
However, with the good there ultimately comes some bad. (Like using a vacation day - that’s great, but planning for a substitute…is not.) Often schools use completely separate systems for student learning management, student information management, and school management. And many of them don’t integrate easily or even at all.
There is such an overwhelming amount of programs to choose from in addition to the school’s mandatory programs that many days teachers are using a piecemeal of multiple solutions that can lead to chaos, a breakdown in communication, and ultimately inefficiency. For technology to be beneficial, it has to be accessible, safe, and easy to use for everyone involved. And now, because of Covid-19, It’s no longer just a teacher problem.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this recent surge of Covid-19 increases the likelihood that there will be a new wave of school closures.
“Great!”...says none of the parents that just got back to work.
Parents had to make major sacrifices with the first round of school closings from figuring out who will watch/teach their child at home to finding a computer that works well, and those without internet had even bigger problems.
Parents stepped up to the challenge, though, and made those sacrifices. Many of them had to teach their own children. When technology and all of the different pathways become overwhelming to a teacher, imagine how a parent must feel.
Teachers that are working in school systems that haven’t streamlined their technology into an all-in-one school management platform are constantly juggling multiple programs all day long that all do different things. This is stressful and causes chaos in the classroom. Teachers are already bogged down with more and more data to compile, paperwork to fill out, meetings to attend, and a laundry list of other things on top of teaching.
In this article from We Are Teachers, educators talk about the main reasons they are quitting and the workload is one of the biggest reasons.
In another article from The Best Schools, one of the reasons teachers say they are quitting was related to technology especially, “A rush of new supposedly “time-saving” technologies. In fact, such technology actually robs teachers of time as a consequence of all the reporting requirements and other strings attached.”
That same article also discusses the alarming rate at which teachers are leaving the profession which “negatively affects student achievement” and “consumes economic resources,”
Technology should be making teacher’s lives easier. But is it?
Benefits of Streamlining Technology
There is good news.
As our world makes this shift online, more companies are coming up with solutions to streamline school technology making it more efficient not only for teachers and students but for administrators, the staff, and parents as well.
Studies have shown that the most efficient systems would compile this “flood of data” from remote learning into one platform making it easy to access with security measures that make it safe.
Here are just a few of the benefits of an all-in-one system:
- Saves valuable time
- Less stress and confusion
- Teachers can focus on teaching and building relationships with students
- Organization is easy
- Communication is seamless and includes, staff, admin, students and parents
That sounds like a win-win.
If you want more reasons on the benefits of a learning management system, check out this article by Christopher Pappas at eLearningIndustry.
Remember the teacher from the beginning? This is what her day would look like with an all-in-one learning management system:
She opens her learning management program and sees a brief message from the principal and notes it. She prepares her virtual class and uploads the assessment link to the whole class. The practice lessons are ready as well, and students with questions can instantly message her. As students finish, their grades are automatically exported to the grade book that parents, students and admin all have access to. The data is already collected and put into a report that she will simply need to review before her meeting.
Sound like something from the future? Here are just a few of the features your school could be enjoying by using a streamlined, standalone online school management system:
- Customizable grade reports
- Homework and assignment sharing the school, students, and parents have access to
- Rock-solid security
- Easy Invoicing
For more information on how MySchool can be your all-in-one system, book a free demo.