The Learning Journey Decision…
We encourage you as a potential user to consider what you want to achieve now and later as you consider Learning Journey software. Then to try and correlate this with the various learning journey options that have sprung up from IT companies currently on the market. The purchase, in our opinion, should not be by price but on what benefits the Learning Journey will bring. Cheap options may seem to be great now but may not allow the setting to grow and improve practice moving into the future. The software another setting uses may not match your ethos or be suitable for your requirements.
The Nuts and Bolts!
- Does it emulate the EYFS learning journey you do now on paper, or is it going to give you more? (more time, savings, efficiency, quality, work: life balance …)
- 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 REALLY going to save time or will you need ‘office time’ to finish off observations, cross-referencing and planning next steps?
- Is it going to relieve senior staff checks before sharing or give them additional tasks?
- Are there restrictions? (type/amount of tablets, the number of users, number of children, time of use …)
- Is it Learning Journey software with a positive proven record?
- Your pedagogy – will the tablet be on your lap or between you and the child for more than a moment?
- Will the software stop the interaction between the practitioner and the children; and also perhaps lose the learning flow?
- What support is given 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?
- Is it one-size-fits all for parents or are you able to give parents different tools to support their lifestyles so they really get involved?
- Do you have a voice to give suggestions on how to improve your expected software experience?
- Will it support staff’s literacy skills and/or lack of training/experience?
- Is it possible to make mistakes?
- How reliant is it on the practitioner’s personal ability?
- How quick is it to make an observation?
- What other than the Development Matters Statements are provided within the software?
- How are The Characteristics of Effective Learning recorded?
- What criteria are included within the EYFS trackers?
- What reports does it produce?
- 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 in an understandable way?
THE PURCHASING DECISION
Once the decision has been made to sign up and 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!