After spending last year implementing and learning about PS Learning in our district, we have just turned on Unified Classroom. My question deals with the Calendar feature in PS Learning vs the Calendar feature in Unified Classroom. They don't seem to talk to one another so what is best practice going to be? I see major confusion for students, parents and teachers if we have two different calendars basically living in the same world. In addition, I hear the UC may have a Google calendar integration coming soon as well? I asked this question at PowerSchool University a couple of weeks back but nobody had an answer for me. I guess "messages" would be another area of duplication now that I am thinking about it as well... thanks for any info!
Thanks for posting in our community!
When it comes to the calendar, we would typically recommend that you use the Unified Classroom calendar as it is the most front facing and will include other Unified Classroom information such as assignments. Additionally, there will be more expansion to include more elements eventually. I don't have any real timeline to provide with regard to the things from the SIS or Google Calendar that may be introduced, but those are normally called out in the Release Notes which are available in the Admin help for Unified Classroom as they are going to be released. So keep an eye there for updates and newly added features.
Hopefully, that gives you a little more of an idea what to do and where the best place to go would be.
Kevins - I was told we could disable the Calendar, Messaging, and attendance in UC Class Pages but I can't seem to do it even though I did it within Domain Control via Learning. Can anyone help?
Updating the Class Features that are available for Classes at the Domain Control level will only effect new classes going forward.
There isn't a way to do that in mass currently for the already existing classes right now. For classes that have already been created, those will need to be updated from the Class level in the Class Settings.
Hopefully that answers your question for you!
Our district started out very similar to yours. We started with the stand alone Learning product and then transitioned to UC. While it gave our teachers the opportunity to learn to set up their class pages... I feel it also came back to bite me. Previously our teachers used either Google Classroom or Moodle for their class pages. Both stand alone products as well so their habit was to bookmark their class page and have students use the bookmark. So... once we went Unified Classroom, the bad habits were already formed. Teachers continued to use the same bookmark and wondered why students couldn't see new items, or they kept being kicked out, etc. In addition, by bookmarking all their individual classes students missed out on the beautiful functionality of the Unified Classroom product and the WHOLE reason the product was developed!! That one stop shop experience of having everything you need right at your fingertips... simplifying processes, improving communication and ultimately improving student performance!
My #1 pet peeve when teachers do this is that students miss out on the whole dashboard experience. That dashboard page is basically one big electronic agenda! All their past, current and future assignments are right in front of them... no more excuses of, "I forgot to write it down... or I couldn't remember what page we had to do...". The teacher has created all the assignments for them and ALL of their classes' assignments are combined on that one calendar to make it a one stop shop for both students AND parents! The teachers that use only the calendar found on their Learning Class page force students and parents to visit each individual class page to see what homework is due that day. By using the Unified Classroom Dashboard, teachers can post announcements, office staff can enter school wide events, and students can add personal reminders like, "Remember gym clothes on Monday." Teachers can add class reminders for field trips or to study for upcoming tests... the list goes on and on! Can you tell I'm excited about this feature??
It frustrates me to no end when I hear my teachers complain about something only to discover they're using an "old dog" backdoor trick to get where they want to go instead of using the product as it was intended. I mean come on... the class picker at the top of the screen is your built in bookmark!
So, in a nutshell... I suggest turning off/disabling anything that is a duplicate option that doesn't have a two way sync (i.e. Learning calendar, messages, gradebook, assignments and assessments!)
The ONLY down side I've encountered is with the extracurricular or resource pages we have. If it's not a rostered section in the SIS the class doesn't show up in the class picker. The only way you can find it is to go to the Learning My Portal via Quicklinks and select the Extra tab from the class list. Our Student Services staff created some great resource pages and many of the sports teams and after school clubs have their own pages too. I wish there were an easier way for students to see these. Additionally, by not being a rostered class, the teacher/page owner isn't able to add events to the UC calendar. They could embed a Google calendar into their page, but again... that won't sync to that dashboard in UC. That's the only "missing link" for me in regards to the calendars.
Hope this helps explain the difference between the two and why I personally recomend using the Unified Classroom calendar!
Great discussion thread. Our teachers were also confused by this and other duplicated functionality between the UNIFIED classroom and Class Pages. They assumed because of the name UNIFIED Classroom that things automatically populated in both places. Unfortunately that is not the case. The goal is to drive people to the Unified Classroom dashboard for a more immersive experience of the product. However because of the lag time going from the Unified Classroom to Class Pages, over 90% of our students just go directly to the class page and bypass the dashboard. Hopefully the teachers will utilize some of the additional functionality of Google Handouts, etc. and that will drive people to the dashboard. Becasue of the poor design, slow performance and other issues of the Unified Classroom, half of our teachers class pages just redirects the students to visit their Google Classroom. (They basically are telling us the free Google Classroom product is more user friendly and functional that the expernsive Unified Classroom that we bought a year ago.) Again, I'm hopeful some of the new features might make a more complelling case for use of the UC.
I was also intrigued by the statement "office staff can enter school wide events," How is this done? On the UC Admin Dashboard there is a calendar management link but it has never worked. We would love to add school wide events to the dashboard!
Agreed. The lack of communication between 2 components also reduces usability for our teachers and many still use Google classroom or canvas rather than class pages.
I had one of my school secretaries test the school wide event feature for me last week. The problem I ran into was that all of my accounts were both Teacher AND Staff. Apparently only a person w/ a UC STAFF ONLY account has access to the school wide or district calendar. Which... for a secretary makes sense. She tested it out by adding a sample event and when I logged in as a teacher I was able to see the event on my dashboard calendar. Here's the link to the help page that I found the instructions on:
Fascinating. I need to figure out an alternative because all of our admin people also teach! I know I can access the Admin portal in the Unified Classroom for other purposes. It doesn't make since I can't Calendar Management and add a system wide date.
Thank you for providing this information!
To post district-wide events into the Unified Classroom calendar, you will want to disable to feature to have teachers sign in to PowerTeacher Pro so events are added into the Unified Classroom calendar.