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Linux Schools, Take Notice

FekaraBecause you use Linux as your school’s operating system of choice doesn’t mean you have to get a second-rate school management system. The Web-based Fekara can handle everything from setting up the schedule and attendance to integrating email and messaging. There’s a free trial Fekara Lite version to get started and getting the fully licensed version costs $350 for an unlimited number of teachers and students.

Streamline your School

JitasaThe modern school runs not on chalk and blackboards, but on data, and the K12 Jitasa Enterprise Suite does it all, allowing the institution to run more efficiently. In addition to governmental reporting of scores, the software can bill students for fees, handle payroll and handle all the intricacies of human relations. The company will do a remote demo for you.

Teaching is Trending

EdthenaWhile statistics is a popular math class in most high schools, teachers and admins often ignore the lessons taught by numbers. Edthena’s Comment Stats tool builds on the company’s classroom observation video platform to turn comments by observers and coaches into statistically significant items aimed at fine tuning the teaching process. Comments by others as questions, suggestions, strengths and notes, all of which can now be reported on and graphed.

Deep Data Dive

EdsbyBy looking deeply at test results, Edsby Analytics can not only create grades but it can reveal the big picture and many smaller ones based on who’s learning, who’s at risk and why. It goes beyond producing informative graphs by giving alerts to identify at-risk students and pointing to areas where incremental improvements can be made. It works for everything from a single class to an entire district.

Open and Ready

Sis_nexg_dashboardIf you like DIY projects, openSIS’s school administration package is for you. Built from open-source software, openSIS covers a school’s life from pre-K to graduation with demographics, health records and instant access to emergency contact info. Along the way, openSIS can schedule a full school of classes, while keeping grades and creating transcripts when needed. It can archive lesson plans and record discipline problems for later action. It’s all summarized in a compact Dashboard. In addition to the expected, the program can upload current data, easing the transition from old to new. In spite of all this, the basic school-wide CE version is free, but you might want the company to customize it for your district with things like state reporting and Moodle integration.

Freebee Friday: Free and Easy Tracker

Cellabus aKeeping track of every student and their computers is a daunting (and often expensive) task at schools. Cellabus does the basics for free, although I suspect you’ll want to spring for the upgrade edition. The Basic service is free, has no ads and includes a comprehensive Dashboard that lets you see who has up-to-date software and manage systems as a group. The upgrade costs $5 per system and digs deeper with the ability to control individual computers and show whose battery is running out of power or disk is running out of space.

All-in-One App

School appIf having to accommodate parents and students on a variety of platforms has you down, the School Info App can connect via software for iOS (iPhones and iPads), Androids or via a Web connection for everyone else. In addition to the expected calendar and contact info, the app can connect teachers with students or parents while administrators can send information and material directly to employees. It costs from $500 per school with district and long-term discounts.

Freebee Friday: A Big Boost for Schools

Learnboost reportingWhile every school needs a digital infrastructure for enrolling students, holding grades and even organizing curriculum standards, many can’t afford a commercial service. That’s where LearnBoost comes in. It is a freebee that uses Google Apps and other software to create as close to a comprehensive approach to school management as is possible. There’s software for everything from student lists, attendance and grades to lesson plans and parental inclusion. There’s even a nice section that can graph student progress for reporting purposes. It’s free and provides a nice counterpoint to commercial school software.

Freebee Friday: Focus on Education

FocusUsing the Focus School Software system, teachers can concentrate on teaching and not the intricacies of several apps. The Focus system has three components (Student Information System, Enterprise Resource Planning and Learning Management System) that fit together like a hand in a glove to make using it second nature. It’s scalable from a small elementary school to an entire district and because it is browser-based, there’s no software to load, update and maintain and it will work with just about any computer.

Self-Service Set Up

Casper-focus-focus-on-app_800_531_84_1396010603If setting up apps on your school’s systems is killing too much of your time, let the users do most of the work. JAMF’s Casper Focus software can simplify the situation by sending iPad apps and ebooks to a group of students and then recalling them when the class is done. The app can lock a classroom’s worth of screens on a particular site or text, increasing the time spent teaching. The app is a freebee.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.