I recently was contacted by Artia Moghbel who had read my comments in an earlier post about Edmodo. Artia is the contact for SchoolRack and so I clicked on over to see what it was all about.
SchoolRack is an online portal that facilitates communications between teachers, students and parents. With a separate account at all three levels, teachers can set up a learning environment that enables the home to school connection quite easily.
Like good utilities of this sort, teachers create a presence by wizard to define a look and feel to their site. Next, you need somewhere to go so SchoolRack lets you set up groups how you define it. It could be just for parents or just for students, or for both. A group join code is created for each group and you share that with those who would join you. Want to join my demo class to look around? The join code is: 153I13QE.
In each class that you organize, you can create assignments and allow students to submit online, a discussion board, calendar, public mailing lists, private messages, and room for file transfer. As a teacher, you have access and control over everything through the dashboard assigned to your account. The resources are available online with a custom URL. In my case, it is http://www.schoolrack.com/dougpete/.
You can monitor traffic to your website through an analytics page to see just how busy the site as become. You can also use your site as a way to distribute files, handouts, etc. Just upload them and visitors can download and use right away.
I did contact Artia and asked the question that always enters my mind when I see resources like this. How are you paying the bills? Advertisements – that’s always my biggest worry when dealing with education as advertisements can be more enticing than the educational concepts (who knew?) and take students off track. Artia responded that they tried advertising but dropped the concept. Instead, there is a free portion of the site and then a paid portion that gives more functionality and storage for about $6 a month.
I like the look and feel of the site. It navigates quickly and the basic functionality that you would need if you want to take your class management to the web and engage students, and potentially parents, in the process.
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