With so many digital tools out there for teachers to use, why use ClassMax? Let’s find out…
First, ClassMax is the only CMS (classroom management system) that turns teacher observations into tangible data. Administrators want data to drive instruction, which means there is added step of collecting the data. Be it from a test, a quiz, a formative assessment, an activity in class, or an exit slip, there has to be something that a child submits and a teacher processes or grades in order to gather data. With ClassMax, that step can often be eliminated because data is input based on teacher observations. So, instead of having groups submit their assignments and the teacher having to grade them all (when she probably already knows on her own who is struggling and who is mastering…), ClassMax teachers can input the data based on what they see kids doing in class, as they are working. Did Abigail ask a low level question? Did Michael lead his group using academic vocabulary and complex understanding of the standard? Teachers don’t always need to give an assessment to know how their students are doing. With ClassMax, those observations are quickly input on our four-point learning scale and they become data that is as effective as those formative assessments you were about to spend three hours grading. Not only does this save instructional time, but it also gives professional control back to the professional educator (imagine that!).
The second major difference that ClassMax provides is the ability to track just about anything that happens on a daily basis in a classroom in the same place. Raise your hands, teacher friends, if you have more than three websites used to collect student information, more than three spreadsheets holding data from your students, and more than 10,000 Post-It Notes stuck to your desk with random things you need to remember to log somewhere. (Raising my hand!) Data collection is one of those hot issues right now in education and so the solution for many schools has been to COLLECT ALL THE DATA! But what that translates to in a classroom teacher’s day is pieces of student information in lots of different places. It makes utilizing data difficult, cumbersome, and time-consuming, which is why so many of us, ultimately, decide it isn’t worth the effort. With ClassMax, all of your information is stored in one place – ESE accommodations, IEP goals, behavior, attendance, seating charts, hall passes, standards-based progress, and so much more! With the use of our custom standards upload, teachers can load in any element they want to track on a four-point scale. Assessing performance within a group? Looking for research skills in addition to the paper they have to submit? These are skills that should be assessed, even if they aren’t standards-based. Using our custom standards uploader, teachers can assess on these skills quickly and efficiently. The only other tool you should need is your school or district grade book program and you are ready to roll.
Lastly, ClassMax is different because of the structure of our company. We were founded and created by an 8th grade language arts teacher who needed a tool that collected everything she was required to track in one place and that actually saved her time. This means that our product is teacher-centric, while so many other CMS platforms are student or district focused. Our platform uses simple lines, bright colors, and easy to see buttons so that busy teachers can use it quickly on the go. Along those same lines, ClassMax was originally distributed and sold directly to the classroom teacher at a price point that teachers could afford. Most CMS programs are marketed and sold to districts or school administrators, which often means that by the time it gets into the hands of the teacher, it is no longer teacher friendly. Our first and most important customers are teachers. Always and forever, amen. While we have ClassMax Schools, the product itself continues to be driven and developed by teachers, making it easy to use on the go and as adaptable and fast-paced as your classroom has to be.
Admittedly, ClassMax isn’t for everyone – no product is. It works best in a classroom where a teacher has a laptop, tablet, or phone with wifi. A desktop computer can be difficult to get back and forth to – though we’ve see it done by some of our superusers! It works best on Chrome or Firefox (or really anything other than Internet Explorer). It works best with teachers who are self-driven and motivated to improve learning outcomes in their classrooms or by struggling teachers who need some guidance in their classroom management. But if you can make ClassMax a regular, consistent part of your teaching day, we know that you, too, will understand why ClassMax is different and will see the difference in your own classroom.