Choosing the right school management software is not the easiest task to accomplish. There are a lot of things to consider, from the experience of the provider, useful features available, ease of use, all round functionality and its pricing (let it be stated that if the developer’s drive is passion for providing a solution and not money, then the price for the software in question will not seem like a ripoff). Don’t be carried away into deploying any school management software for your school without a thorough assessment of your needs and what it does.
With the proliferation of ICT, there are so many software packages out there and schools are struggling to find the best suited for their needs. Most at times, schools had to abandon more than two software before finally getting it right. Having seen so many variations of this software, it is incumbent to provide you with simple things to look for when embarking on your school software quest so as to not repeat the mistakes of others.
In order not to repeat those mistakes and avoid being a victim of adopting countless systems with no results after wasting not just your time but, more importantly, your money, don’t rush in adopting any solution you come by. Take time and carefully look out for these pointers to get your dream solution to school management problems.
The rate of development of ICT is taking place with considerable speed. With the introduction of new devices and technologies, new user requirements always emerge and existing ones keep changing.
When choosing a school management software, it is necessary to adopt a solution that will keep evolving and continue getting better with time. Applications that are constantly upgraded, taking into consideration the trends in new technology, usually meet this criterium.
The school system & processes can and usually change. Better methods and standards are always adopted in order to improve the system. When your school adopts some software, it is necessary to understand the level of flexibility that comes with it. Changes in standards or methods should not be a reason to dump a solution or compromise old records. The software should adapt to changes in the school rather than the school adapting to what the software offers. Look for the software that is flexible and robust to conform and take along all existing data from day 1 of your school’s establishment.
In choosing a school management software, it is important to go for the tested and trusted. As a school owner, I will like to know how long other schools have been using the software. Has it been solving their needs and been reliable at the most critical time? These are some important questions to consider. Having a solution that works for at least 5 years is good enough, but the more the years the better to make a decision.
Another important factor is also the evolution of the application over the years. Will my students be the pioneers of some great functionality available to a few elite? Has it been serving schools in accordance to needs of society and the changing era? Can the software evolve to fit the growing needs that the society expects of our students? These are questions that need to be answered.
Long Term Support
Many school owners may have had a bad experience with some software. When the school needs a critical update or support, the designer of the software will be nowhere to be found. He has either gone for studies or got a job offer and is no more supporting the application. In such situations, the schools usually have to start all over or even worse decide to go back to the manual method.
Ensuring that the solution is from a well-established company that specialises in a software solution for schools is key. In that way, you are not risking your records and becoming dependent on an individual or reverting back to primitive ways of operation.
Web-Based Solution (Accessibility)
Depending on your requirements and available infrastructure, it may be more effective to host the school management software offline or online. Both methods have their pros and cons. If you have Internet challenge in your school, the offline model will be more effective since the application will not depend on the availability or speed of Internet. The key advantage of online deployment is that the application is accessible anywhere, making it possible for staff, students and parents access from home.
Even if the school decides to go with the offline method, a web-based application is recommended. The same application can be easily hosted online whenever the school is comfortable with the stability of their Internet and other users.
Initially, when you adopt software in your school, you may have a few students and staff. As the school grows, the records also keep growing. The number of staff and parents that will also access the application will increase. If the application was not designed to scale, it will become unusable. The best method to determine if a solution is scalable is to look at its track record as mentioned earlier. Determine the school size of existing clients and the duration that the software has been in use.
Ease of Use
The user friendliness of a software is very important in determining the level of benefit a school will derive from it. When you have a very complicated software, teachers may find it very difficult to adopt, and instead of making the work easier it ends up complicating it.
Important tasks on the software should not take more than 2 steps to locate. The search feature will also greatly improve the user experience in using the software.
It is important to be careful not to get carried away by the features listed as available in a product. It is always a more profitable investment in a solution that has fewer features but almost 100% of them are useful rather than having numerous features with just about 20% useful ones.
The features should also be solving problems in reality, not just for frivolous fantasies. “All that glitters is not gold”.
Impact on Learning
The primary objective of every school is to pass knowledge to its students. Any software application that is not positively contributing to the school’s knowledge base does nothing but hinder its growth in all aspects.
These are the things you should look out for in a quality school management software so as to avoid costly mistakes.