iPhone App Review: PowerSchoolFebruary 3rd, 2012 by dancemonkey
Communication with your child’s teacher and school can be one of the hardest challenges of being a parent. PowerSchool is the fastest-growing, most widely used web-based student information system, supporting nearly 10 million students in all 50 states and 65 countries. The iOS apps provident students and parents mobile access to attendance, school announcements, assignments, grades, teacher comments, and much more.
How It Works
In order to be able to use PowerSchool, your school district must be using PowerSchool 7.1 or higher. You can ask at your school or check out Pearson Education’s website to see if they have mobile access enabled. The PowerSchool apps are free, so you could also just download them and watch as they automatically search your location for PowerSchool-enabled districts. You will of course need a sign-on to be provided by your school district in order to use the app.
Once you’re in the app and signed into your account, you will have access to tons of features and information. The students in your account (your own children, hopefully) appear on the main screen, where you can tap their icons and be taken to another page full of information. You can see their class calendar, lists of courses and assignments, their teachers and grades, class attendance records, general announcements, and even dollar balances for any meal or other transactions that your school may have enabled to be viewed with the system.
You can “flip over” the student screen with the button on the top-left corner, showing you a week-based view of the students’ data. You’ll see a list of at-a-glance icons that show homework assignments, projects, and the grades for completed work, as well as what course they were for.
The app has a lot of data for each student, giving you quick access to the most basic things you would want to know about your child: what are their grades looking like, are they completing assignments, have they been absent?
Pros And Cons
Assuming that your school uses this system already, the mobile app is a fantastic way to access the information that is being provided by your students’ teachers. The information presented is only as good of course as what is being reported, so if individual teachers don’t keep up with the data entry then you will only get out of it what is put in.
It is a free app though, so even a little bit more information being reported on a semi-regular basis should be welcome for any parent interested in their child’s education, as the only other option are the twice-yearly conferences and the report cards. Sometimes hearing about a problem at report card time means it is almost too late to do anything about it, so having early access to information is critical.
The only problem I encountered with the app was on the login screen. If you accidentally hit login, or even do it on purpose and realize you have incorrect information, there is no “cancel” button. Basically, once you get into the login screen, there’s no way out except to actually log in. I tried to force-quit the app but even then, after launching it, it still took me to the login screen where I couldn’t escape. I had to delete the app and re-install in order to get to the first screen where you initially set up your account.
PowerSchool is a great system for communicating between schools and parents, and there’s even a free Student app that shows much of the same information but adds Facebook wall post functionality. If your school is using PowerSchool you should get login credentials and try this app. If they’re not, maybe they should be.