Tips for making a change to a new Classroom Management Software platform
The average classroom uses anywhere from 3-10 digital tools to facilitate learning. But very few applications do as much heavy lifting as classroom management software (CMS). If you’re not getting enough benefit from your current CMS provider, it may be time to switch.
A good CMS solution helps teachers address the administrative challenges digital devices can introduce. For example, it can improve visibility into each student’s work in real time through a central dashboard. It even supports easier digital collaboration by enabling teachers to push everyone’s browsers to the same web page or allowing students and teachers to message and broadcast their screens to the rest of the class.
Playing such a central role in classrooms means that your CMS can affect everything from teacher satisfaction to student outcomes and providing the right solution is more important than you might think.
Four reasons to switch to a new classroom management software
Making the move to a new platform can feel like an intimidating prospect if your IT time and resources are spread thin. But there are a few situations where the payoff is well worth it:
- Your current provider stops supporting their CMS.
EdTech is a multi-billion-dollar industry prone to attracting new and unproven startups, not all of whom will survive for the long haul. It’s not uncommon for CMS and other software providers to shut their doors or sunset support, leaving their customers high and dry.
Finding an established provider with a long history in the EdTech space is a great way to ensure you don’t have to switch products due to a lack of continued support. Look for solutions with a proven track record of success, including customer reviews, award recognition, and a longer-term competitive presence in the market.
- Your current software offers limited features.
Some platforms choose to differentiate themselves by offering a robust suite of features, where others offer lower-cost, more pared-down functionality. As technology use becomes a bigger presence in your classrooms, teachers may not benefit as much from a bare-bones software. If it’s too limited in functionality, they may even stop using it altogether, negating the cost savings.
If you have classrooms that are approaching a 1:1 device ratio, a more robust CMS may prove to offer a better value. As you’re vetting software options, ask a core group of teachers which features appeal most to them. Ideally, choose a solution that tracks teachers’ daily usage so you can determine and enhance your return on investment.
- You need compatibility across a broader range of devices or operating systems.
Not all solutions support mixed-device environments, making this a major reason people switch. As you build out a 1:1 or BYOD program, you will likely need software that can support a variety of devices and operating systems.
Even if your school isn’t currently using mixed devices, choosing a CMS solution that works across virtually any device will pave the way for your future needs and make device management seamless for educators and your IT team.
How you choose to host your new CMS is another important factor. There are good reasons to choose a cloud-based solution or host the software yourself, depending on your needs and priorities. In fact, you may want to consider a platform that allows mixed deployment, hosting at some school sites and opting for the cloud at others.
- Your current CMS provider isn’t strong on support.
Whether you’re dealing with broken functionality, a lack of self-serve help articles, or a support team that never answers your calls, your software experience is only as good as the people supporting it. Unresponsive or ineffective support teams can waste countless hours of your already-limited time and make your software investment worthless.
Find a provider who prides themselves on quality service and support. You’ll be able to tell from your earliest interactions whether they’re dedicated to helping you succeed. If they take too long to get back to you or it seems difficult to get the answers you need, look elsewhere.
Preparing to switch to a new classroom management software
Once you’ve chosen the software, you’ll need to do some preparation to make the launch as easy as possible.
Plan your implementation
Every software is different, so talk to your provider to find out what decisions you need to make to prepare your environment for the change. Ideally, your provider will have written best practices to coach you through pre-planning your installation.
Read your implementation instructions
As you move forward, your provider should be communicating with you frequently to ensure you’re ready to implement the software. They should provide you with more detailed setup instructions for implementing the software on different types of devices and making sure your launch is seamless.
Install the software on teacher and student devices
If you’re using a self-hosted software, choose a time when devices will not be in use to gather up and install the CMS. It’s a good idea to approach installation in “batches” per type of device, as instructions may vary slightly for different operating systems.
Test the software and adjust
Once installed, open the software on each device to ensure it’s running. This could be an opportunity to introduce the software by asking a select group of teachers and students to help you test it. If you hit any snags, reach out to your CMS support team for help.
Train your users
While good CMS solutions should be easy to use, offering training will help ensure even those technophobic teachers adopt and use the software. You can run your own training sessions, point teachers toward online resources, and/or ask your software vendor to provide onsite or online training.
Switching to LanSchool is easy
Choosing the right classroom management software takes some legwork, but launching it should be smooth and painless. Don’t let the fear of implementation stop you from providing the best-possible classroom management experience to your educators.
As one of the workhorses of digital learning, your CMS matters a great deal — so much, in fact, that it’s almost always worth switching if your current CMS isn’t pulling its weight.
If you’re thinking about making a CMS switch, we invite you to reach out and hear how LanSchool can meet your needs. For a limited time, LanSchool will match any competitor’s price for classroom management services. Contact us to learn more.
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