Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Free Online Gradebook Learn Boost Goes Live

Last month I reported on a new free online gradebook program called Learn Boost. Today, Learn Boost went live to the public so I signed up and gave it a test drive this evening. The current version of Learn Boost doesn't have all of the promised features activated yet, but what is activated is quite good. The most outstanding feature of Learn Boost is its very intuitive user interface. At no point during the processes of setting-up my class roster, creating a seating chart, and entering gradebook assignments and grades did I have to guess or wonder what to do next. The one feature I do wish it had live right now (it appears to be in the works) is an option to import student lists from an external file. You do have to enter student names manually the first time you use Learn Boost. Overall, on a scale of one to ten for ease of use, Learn Boost gets a ten!

Aside from the ease of use, Learn Boost has some excellent features for day-to-day use. When taking attendance in Learn Boost you have the choice of recording in list view or in a seating chart view. The Learn Boost lesson plan function allows you to upload documents and files that you need in order to conduct your lessons. Coming soon, you'll be able to share lesson plans with other teachers through Learn Boost. Recording scores in your Learn Boost gradebook is very easy too. You control the scoring system and grading scale that you use in Learn Boost. You can export and or print your gradebook at anytime.

Applications for Education
I've worked with teachers using the expensive gradebook systems Infinite Campus and Power School. The biggest complaints that I hear from teachers about those system are about how steep the learning curve is for simple tasks like recording grades or updating class rosters. In fact, in my school we've had entire staff development days devoted to training teachers on how to use Infinite Campus. That is time that could definitely be better spent on any number of alternate activities. Learn Boost will make it easy for teachers to easily do their daily administrative tasks instead of struggling to navigate an difficult user interface. If your school is looking for a new gradebook system, consider giving Learn Boost a good long look.

And I almost forgot, I tested it and Learn Boost works equally well in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. I did not test it in IE because even on my Windows machine I've uninstalled IE.