Top criteria for choosing a virtual learning software for schools

Districts and schools have a lot on their plate when choosing how to spend their money. Budgets are tight, leading to reluctance to choose vendors. There’s a lot to consider. Here are a few places that organizations see hangups and delays when selecting software or new technology:

    • Differentiating the similar and competing products on the market
    • Not having enough time to test out new tech
    • Worrying about choosing the wrong product and making a costly mistake

Often the most challenging step is making a decision. We’ve rounded up some tips for choosing and adopting tech for schools.

virtual learning software for schools

Have clear goals and objectives

In education, we are constantly pushing teachers to focus on objectives. It helps create a more purposeful classroom environment. 

But how school systems purchase tech should be no different. Here are some questions to consider in your software search before you even start looking at options:

    • What do you need the virtual learning software to do? Many people look at software before considering this question. But consider what you must have.
    • What are your school’s pain points? Is it difficult for your teachers to use new software? Is it difficult for your students to access tech from home? Consider what your struggles are concerning virtual learning and technology. 
    • Is the tech worth it? Make sure the tech solution is worth the cost. Evaluate things like benefits, cost savings, and time. 

Don’t ask these questions without consulting teachers first. Often, teachers have the best view of whether a new software will be beneficial before administrators do. 

Establish a list of virtual classroom software requirements

You’ll never find the perfect software. It doesn’t exist. But you can write down your school system’s requirements for your virtual classroom software. Here are things to consider at this step:

    • What is the goal of the software? What do you need it to do?
    • How easy should the software be to use?
    • What tech requirements do your schools have? What tech requirements do your families have?
    • How much are you willing to spend? Sure, low cost is nice. But it would help if you have already established a value for this new tech investment. 
    • What will reports look like with this system? 
    • Can the vendor handle the size of your school system?
    • What type of support do you need?
    • Will this software protect student data?

Start your software search

You’re not evaluating software yet. Instead, you’re just compiling a list onto a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet will help with comparisons later.

You can find software via Google search. But also be sure to include trade publications. Within the edtech space, you can look at Education Technology Insight and Tech & Learning for recommendations.

Start crossing off apps from your list

Go back and reference your must-have list. Use this list to start crossing off software that doesn’t fit your criteria. This way, you won’t waste time with demos on solutions that don’t fit your organization. Easy ways to narrow down your list include:

    • Budget issues
    • System issues
    • Student privacy issues

As you cross off options, make a note as to why. Your circumstances may change, and you don’t want to have to redo your research.

At this time, you should have a more manageable list. If it’s not a small enough list, revisit your requirements list.

Begin trials for virtual learning software

Once you narrow your list, it’s time to test drive your software. Focus on assessing the apps and software on your list based on your predetermined criteria. 

Many software providers will give demos to show how their software works. Take advantage of these demonstrations, but ensure that the software rep addresses all of your requirements.

From there, you and your team should test out the software. Here are some things to consider as you test the software:

    • Is the software easy to learn, or will you have to spend a lot of time training your organization?
    • Is the software quick to use?
    • Will your organization be able to remember all of the steps of the software?
    • Does the app or software experience a lot of errors? 
    • Does your team enjoy using the software?

As you try different virtual learning software, make notes of each program. Additional programs will begin to blur together.

Double check your research

Once you have a frontrunner, make sure unnecessary features do not blind you. Stick to your list of needs and priorities. Evaluate the tech carefully. 

Negotiate the final deal

At this point, it is time to negotiate the final details of the deal. Make sure you consider issues with student privacy, support, service, payment, and price. Remember, time costs money. If a lot of time is needed for teaching others how to use the software, that can add up. Factor this into price negotiations.

Choose a virtual learning software that checks all of your boxes

TeacherMade is the premier tool for converting your PDFs into online interactive activities. You can use TeacherMade for:

    • Creating worksheets quickly for virtual learning
    • Gamify teacher materials to have more formative assessment opportunities
    • Have better coordination between PLC groups with our co-teacher feature
    • Auto-score assignments to get quick feedback and results
    • Convert PDFs from the state to do summative testing online