Classroom management software is quickly becoming a staple of the classroom as teachers look for ways to amplify and manage students’ use of digital devices. Depending on the software, a classroom management tool can help teachers support student-led learning, provide discreet private instruction and behavioral feedback, facilitate collaborative learning, and so much more.
Choosing the software that’s right for your school usually means going through a proposal process, whether you’ve narrowed the field down to one vendor or a few. We polled our customers and asked about their buying experience and top tips when purchasing their classroom management software. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Do your research
Picking a software solution is not only about finding the best product – it's also about finding the product that’s best fits the specific requirements for your school. Every vendor will offer slightly different features and benefits, so it’s a good idea to prioritize your goals first.
Ideally, you’ll take a multi-pronged research approach that includes:
- Carefully reviewing each vendor’s website
- Reading online reviews
- Asking teachers from other schools for their experiences with classroom management software
- Talking with other teachers and admins at your school to see if they’ve done any research themselves
- Watching demos of each product you’re considering
2. Leverage Free Trials
Many software vendors offer the ability to try their solution free for 15 to 30 days, which is a great way to test out a product and begin determining whether it fits your needs.
There are a few things to keep in mind when conducting classroom management software trials:
- Make sure your teachers are trained and ready to begin using the software on day one. Trial periods can go by very quickly, and you want to ensure you’re getting as much information as possible out of the experience.
- If possible, recruit multiple stakeholders to undertake the trial. It’s best to get a variety of opinions and experiences from different roles, including administrators, IT staff, curriculum directors, and teachers.
- Ask trial participations to take notes on what they like and don’t like about each software.
- Keep your own notes about the experience of working with each vendor.
- Running trials of multiple different software solutions at the same time can be challenging, so we recommend spacing them out.
3. Develop an RFP
When you’ve narrowed down your software options, it’s time to develop your request for proposal (RFP). To develop a good RFP, you’ll need to do a few things:
- Organize a task force of teachers, IT staff, administrators, curriculum directors, parents, and even students.
- Work together to define what you’re looking for in a classroom management software.
- Establish a clearly defined process for vendors to submit their clarifying questions and final answers.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
If you’re looking for more information on how to approach the RFP process and what to include, we’ve created the Request for Proposal Tool Kit that provides high-level questions you should ask yourself, a checklist on how to approach the process, and a template you can use to help you write your proposal.
And if LanSchool is on your consideration list (we hope it is!), here are a few additional resources that can help: