You are getting ready to make an important purchase!
Our team will ensure that you are well educated about the process and the options available to you so that you are able to make an informed decision.
As a potential user, we encourage you to consider what you want to achieve now and later as you contemplate “Learning Journey” software. Then, try and correlate this with the various learning journey options that have sprung up from IT companies currently on the market. In our opinion, the benefits should outweigh the cost. When you find a practical tool that correlates to your wish list, you will achieve a return on your investment. Find a supplier that can help you see what is possible beyond what you feel you need immediately. Growing out of a solution could result in curtailing staff practice moving into the future; so choose a company that continues to develop their offering. The software another setting uses may not match your ethos or be suitable for your requirements.
Don’t make an on the spot decision; allow yourself a little time to contemplate about what you need and desire in practical terms.
The Nuts and Bolts!
- Does it emulate the EYFS learning journey you do now on paper, or will it give you more? (more time, savings, efficiency, quality, work: life balance, support weaker team members, etc.)
- What is this going to do for you – now and in the future?
- Do you want just a Learning Journey or other features?
- Are you going to save time? Or will you still need ‘office time’ to finish off observations, cross-referencing and planning next steps?
- Is it going to relieve senior staff time or give them additional tasks (such as checking literacy skills)?
- Are there restrictions? (type/amount of tablets, the number of users, number of children, time of use etc.).
- Is the data presented accurately, and is it easy to decipher?
- Is it software with a proven positive record?
- Your pedagogy – will the tablet hinder the educator’s interactions with the child? Will it restrict the learning flow?
- Are the features useful or just appealing?
- What support is included and offered at the start? Ongoing? In the future?
- Can you talk to someone when needing assistance or is it just video footage?
- Will you have to download new versions and how often will that happen?
- How often is the software upgraded/improved?
- How will you engage parents/carers?
- Do you want to give them photos, comments and links or do you want them to support their children’s learning at home too?
Is it one-size-fits-all for parents?
- Are you able to give parents different tools in line with their lifestyles and aspirations?
How important is it that every parent is encouraged and involved in supporting their child’s learning and development?
- Is there a parent app?
- Do you have a voice to give suggestions on how to improve your expected software experience?
- Will it support staff’s literacy skills, lack of training or experience?
- How can you monitor staff interactions with the software and the quality of these?
- Is it possible to make mistakes?
- How reliant is it on the practitioner’s ability?
- How quick is it to make an observation?
- What other frameworks are provided within the software to embrace now or in the future?
- How are The Characteristics of Effective Learning recorded?
- What criteria do you need within the EYFS trackers?
- What reports do you require to meet your obligations?
- Can the software provider explain the features they are offering in practical scenarios?
- Can you talk to or visit someone using the software already?
- Are your questions about online safety and data security answered understandably?
THE PURCHASING DECISION
- Once you have made your decision, it is time to check out the fee:
- Have you been able to ask as many questions as you need, to make an informed decision on your purchase?
- How long is the minimum contract?
- Will you have to pay for updates?
- Are you aware of what you will have to pay in subsequent years?
- Is there a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it?
sparkPRO is charged by the number of registered places as shown on your last Ofsted report. Alternatively, if you have a school or a nursery abroad, we charge per child per month, based on the number the previous month. There are different options in how to pay to suit your cash flow and packages for larger settings. We ensure you are logged on personally and will help get you started, while also arranging follow up appointments until your team is confident. Alongside your software, you will have sparkTUTOR and we are still always available to give guidance and listen to your ideas!