As we move further into the digital age, more schools are turning to technology to better organize themselves and their learning environments. Educational technology, in its many forms, is today providing both administrators and teachers with capabilities and conveniences that their predecessors – just a few short generations ago – would have described as unthinkable. One example of helpful edtech is the student information system.
Sometimes otherwise known as school management software, SIS is typically a backend piece of software designed to help instructors manage student data. These systems range from small to robust and, thus, their feature lists may contain only a few items or several hundred; it all depends on the needs of the school. The more comprehensive systems provide capabilities far beyond simply managing the student data of one school, though. For instance, administrators may rely on their SIS of choice to also serve as the go-to digital educational portal – i.e. a Learning Management System (LMS) – for entire districts.
A learning management system is an application used in administering and documenting educational coursework. 7 So, how is that different than SIS? Think of it this way: If SIS is considered to be backend or administration-focused, LMS, then, can be thought of as frontend or classroom-focused. Over the past few decades, the rise of eLearning sparked widespread development of LMS aimed at allowing teachers and students to interface more easily during the learning process. For instance, these systems enabled features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, discussion forums and more. 9
Adoption of this software has grown tremendously since it first became popular in the early 2000s and new generations of students expect their learning to happen, at least partially, on a computer. With more people on either side of the learning process using this software, the push is now to shine in terms of convenience, reliability, interface smoothness and so on.
For example, most LMS, as well as SIS, previously required educators to download software before getting started. This is less common today, however, due to advances in cloud-based computing. The ability to access a LMS or SIS on many computers – as opposed to only the ones it downloaded on – gives teachers and administrators more opportunity to stay connected to their students and vice versa. To put it plainly, it has never been more convenient to find and implement an LMS; a tool which makes the learning environment portable and widely accessible.
The bulk of schools in America are already using some version of SIS or LMS; so, it’s no surprise if you’re already familiar with what some of these systems can do. On the flip side, perhaps your school is just beginning the process of scoping out potential learning management systems. If that’s the case, there is no doubt that implementing such a system will positively impact your school’s organization and effectiveness. As with the schools who are already using these systems, though, the question is: which system is best for my school? Sycamore prides itself on offering an all-in-one cloud-based system boasting a 300+ feature list. We’ve been faithfully serving schools of all sizes for nearly twenty years and have built a reputation as a people-first company. Sycamore’s versatility and outstanding customer service are a perfect match for educators looking to trust their software and get back to focusing on what they do best: teach! To try free for 30 days click HERE