Common Sense Review
Updated November 2015

PowerSchool Learning

Full-featured LMS great for instructional design
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Teachers have free limited access that can be upgraded.
  • Creating new classes is easy.
  • Class pages can include various types of content and stay organized by published view.
  • Add content blocks from various websties or different file/media types.
  • Create and design differentiated assessments.
Great tools for embedding content and staying in touch help to connect students with teachers and course content.
Building pages and assessments can be a timely process due to the overwhelming amount of resources and material that can be embedded.
Bottom Line
With planning for content and design, and some restraint, teachers can create and manage relevant pages ideal for extending and transferring learning.
Kirstin Sobotka
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The sleek design and variety of embedded content and media invite students to interact. Teachers can build appealing, resource-rich pages to welcome student engagement long after class has ended.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Differentiated instruction is easy with the site’s features for embedding and transferring content from over 40 websites. Use the site's tools to create and embed varied assessments, rubrics, and tasks.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Most student questions are answered through site tutorials or messaging with other students and teachers. With great features for viewing gradebooks and weekly tasks, students can easily stay on top of their work.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Plan and create pages for units or projects or even specific classes. Embed files to review lectures or further lessons; attach lessons, media, polls, and discussions from other sites. Take-home tests? Using the site’s assessment tools, create an assessment using multiple choice, true/false, matching, and short response. Determine the weight of each section and even add hints to questions. Design point-based and qualitative rubrics based on assessment type. Need substitute plans? Got a snow day? Create a page for the daily lesson that includes direct instruction via media and an independent research-based task. Aside from student uses, teachers can use these pages as newsletters to parents that include content refreshers to help their students at home. Virtual professional development or PLC meeting? It's possible with the tools and innovative setup you'll find here.

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What's It Like?

PowerSchool Learning is a cleverly designed LMS geared toward extending learning beyond the classroom. The system lets teachers embed content from over 40 websites into pages they can custom-design for their classes. In addition to creating and managing their classes, teachers can create rubrics, assessments, and tasks using sophisticated but straightforward built-in creation tools. Keep up a gradebook, attendance rosters, and inter-class communications in this centralized, cloud-based learning hub. The site integrates well with dozens of websites and online tools, and it's especially well integrated with Google Apps for Education; teachers and students can use their Google log-ins to access the service. Features for standards-based grading are also built in.

Keep in mind that your pages are only as good as the content you embed within them. Be thoughtful about what content you embed on your site, since your page will change when that source page changes. Also, consider your students' Internet access and your school's network firewall. If you embed sites that are blocked by your school's firewall, those sites will also be blocked when you visit your PowerSchool page at school. Most of the basic features are available for free; teachers, schools, or districts can add upgrades (such as scaled-up versions of all the features, such as more storage) for a fee. There's also a free app for iOS and Windows that students and teachers can use to access the service from a mobile device.

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Is It Good For Learning?

PowerSchool Learning offers an inviting learning experience with seemingly boundless possibilities. That abundance may initially overwhelm teachers, but the step-by-step tutorials and intuitive features will quickly help them get their bearings. Teachers can design websites with almost endless variation, embedding resources, posting tasks, and including assessments to promote review or extend in-class activities. It's also great that you can schedule when pages appear; that way, teachers can plan and create their pages days (or even months) in advance, revealing them exactly when students need to see them. 

Perhaps most importantly, the student experience with PowerSchool Learning is excellent, especially when teachers embed rigorous assessments and offer up-to-date information. Students can see their progress through the gradebook, personalized feedback, and qualitative rubrics. Quick question? No problem. Students and teachers can send messages in a snap, making it easy to stay in touch with students who don't always check their email. Really, the only drawback to this site is its potential for overuse. Resist the temptation to go overboard and overload your page with content; be thoughtful about what you embed. If you use the great tools here wisely, you and your students will be richly rewarded.

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