Top 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Technology Solution for your School
August 26, 2021
Running a school isn’t easy. Educational institutions are moving away from a one-size-fits-all solution to adopting solutions that meet their unique requirements to stay modern, and relevant.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies across all sectors, especially the education sector. During the initial phase of adapting to the new normal, many schools scrambled to use new technologies to assist with remote learning. Soon, the realization has set in that their back-office systems don’t match the simplicity, easy implementation, and interoperability. Now many schools are rebuilding from the ground up.
The right technology will help you simplify tasks and reduce your source of frustration and expense. It will help you manage school processes, track students, communicate with your stakeholders in real-time, analyze dashboard reports, and derive actionable insights. By streamlining your school operations, your staff can focus on what matters—deliver their educational responsibilities and engage their students better.
So, which factors should you consider when choosing a technology solution for your school, and where does a platform like Orah come in?
1. Powerful feature set
To get the most of the tool you will be using, it is pertinent to ask yourself what are some goals you are trying to achieve. Narrow it down and understand if the desired tool has the features that will help you achieve your goals.
Orah’s solution-oriented products and their plethora of features help you effectively implement student engagement in your school system. Some key features include:
- Enriched student profiles to create a single view of the student
- Customize and schedule surveys to gather insights about your students' well-being
- The ability for staff to log pastoral notes to capture student well-being data in one place and effectively share this information with colleagues to improve everyone’s interactions with the students
- Form builder to automate how you gather information and enrich student profiles with custom data.
- Workflows to automate multi-stakeholder processes to improve efficiency and maintain accurate record-keeping.
- Reports and dashboards to generate actionable insights from your data
- Simplified attendance tracking and reconciliations.
- Permissions and approvals to streamline leave requests
- Checkpoint solutions to enable students to sign in/out via an iPad kiosk, swipe card, or via our popular checkpoint tiles
- Events to provide visibility of all the activities taking place and make it easy for students to sign-up
- Real-time communication channels
However, do not get carried away by checking off things in the feature checklist. Ask yourself if you would enjoy the experience of using the product as that drives the successful adoption across your different stakeholders. This leads us to the second important factor to consider.
2. Intuitive UI
What do we mean when we say intuitive? When you first start using the product, you are not struggling to figure out what each feature does or how to navigate the tool. It is quick to respond, performs actions with minimal effort, and easy-to-use.
As you get started with a new tool, we understand that you might need time to acclimatize. While our support team is always geared to go above and beyond to help you seamlessly take over, we also want the product to be simple for just about anyone. Therefore, the Orah platform is built with you, our users, in our minds. We are constantly improving our features, providing in-app product help where needed, and maintaining an extensive self-service knowledge base for you to refer to. Anyone can get started with Orah (no matter what your age or tech abilities are) with little or no training.
Symantec cited that 24% of global data breaches are on education networks. So it is essential to consider security when you choose a tool to complement your processes.
Orah is deployed in the cloud. That means enhanced data security, easier disaster recovery, and significantly reduced cost of buying and maintaining hardware.
In 2019, Orah became ISO 27001 and ISO 27018 certified to further demonstrate our commitment to providing security aligned with industry-standard frameworks. ISO 27001 certificate is recognised worldwide as an indication that our ISMS is aligned with information security best practice. ISO 27018 ensures that our organisation is best placed to protect your personal information to the highest level.
We are GDPR compliant, and that means we take greater accountability for the data we collect and take consent before performing any action outside of normal school procedures. We also provide means to restrict access and permissions for different users to protect the privacy of your students. To know more, you can read about it here.
4. Integrations and customizations
To efficiently automate your internal processes, you need your systems that can talk to each other. Therefore, the integration of your student information system (SIS) with various tools that you are using is a must-have. It will help you provide a consistent experience to your staff, parents, and students and improve productivity.
Orah was born in the cloud, and we’re completely API-based. Our product Unify helps streamline integration with existing systems to build enriched student profiles, visualize large sets of student engagement data and automate tedious workflows that require multiple data sources. Having a single source of truth will help decision-makers uncover insights and make data-driven decisions to transform student interaction and behavior. You can use our out-of-the-box integrations or build custom connections with our simple and robust Open API.
5. Mobile app
Today we can't imagine our lives without our phones. So it only makes sense that your stakeholders (staff, parents, and students) can do everything on their smartphone that they can do on their computer. That's what Orah provides. The staff can do virtually everything from their phones but the highly requested capabilities are roll checks, logging pastoral/behavioral notes, and viewing student profiles. The parent app can be accessed by parents to approve requests, view student progress, and collaborate with staff with ease. Students can use their mobiles to sign in/out in real-time, respond to surveys, request counselor help, sign up for activities, and more.
Are there people behind the tool who is going to help you get onboarded and support you when you run into any issues? A good onboarding program and long-term support from the service provider will go a long way in making the most out of the technology you had bought.
Orah has a brilliant support team who will be there for you every step of the way. We have an onboarding process to train and acclimatize staff to the new tech environment. Down the line, if and when you run into an issue, the team is just a chat away.