K-12 Online Learning Platforms


K-12 Online Learning Platforms Overview

What Are K-12 Online Learning Platforms?

K-12 Online Learning Platforms encompass many systems that K-12 schools to facilitate student learning. It includes products that focus on administrative or learning management functions. The key unifier for products within this category is that they are primarily or singularly focused on serving K-12 academic institutions.

K-12 vs. Higher Education Technology

There are some key differences between education technology focused on K-12 and higher education. Distinctions emerge from nuances in each use case. For instance, parents or guardians are more likely to be directly involved in students’ affairs for K-12 students. The platforms themselves may also need to be easier to use for younger students. The administrative side may also be different, since teachers may manage fewer student records, especially primary educators.

These differences will usually lead to unique features among K-12 focused platforms. For instance, parent/guardian portals are usually standard for any platform that includes students’ personal or academic information. The interface and user experience may often more heavily focus on accessibility and ease of use for students and teachers compared to higher education counterparts.

Despite these distinctions, there are some products that bridge the divide between K-12 and higher education. This is most common among products that serve both secondary ed and higher ed. These products usually focus on the learning management component of education, such as assessments, grades management, and class discussion forums. Primary education platforms are far less likely to overlap with higher ed products.

Types of K-12 Online Learning Platforms

There are several standard areas of online learning platforms for K-12 schools. Many education tech vendors offer one or multiple products to serve schools’ needs across multiple areas simultaneously. Others specialize as point solutions and rely on integrating with other vendor’s offerings.

The “core” platform for schools is usually their Student Management System, also known as a Student Information System. These systems are the central repository for student data, including class schedules, student enrollment information and personal data, and provide students, parents, and staff access to this data.

School Management Software is more focused on serving the administrative side of K-12 schools. It is also called “School Administration Software” for the same reason. These systems help staff manage or automate administrative tasks around admissions, scheduling, billing, internal and external communication, and other tasks.

K-12 Learning Management Systems focus on the teacher, student, and classroom experience. They specialize in helping teachers create and manage course materials, often including assessment management. LMSs also allow students and parents/guardians to track students’ academic performance. In contrast with Higher Education LMSs, K-12 focused products will often offer more features to facilitate in-classroom learning and engagement.

K-12 Online Learning Platform Comparison

When comparing different K-12 online learning platforms, consider these factors:

  1. Centralized Platform vs. Point Solution: Does each product provide a one-stop-shop for multiple functions a school needs, such as SIS and LMS capabilities? If it does not, how well does each point solution integrate with the other systems that the school or district uses? Comparing products’ scopes will help buyers understand the total investment needed to support a K-12 institution and what IT management or maintenance may be required to support multiple systems in the long term.

  2. In-Person vs. Remote Learning: For primary education platforms in particular, are there features tailored to the school’s learning environment, whether that is in-person or remote learning? Many products serving younger learners have built out more robust classroom support features of in-person learning, but they may be less helpful or unusable in a remote context. This can leave schools paying for unused features.

  3. Pricing: School budgets for education technology can be a substantial limiting factor that varies from district to district. When comparing products, consider the total cost of outfitting a school or district with the necessary education tech, including SMS, LMS, and other needed administrative functions. Evaluating the entire package holistically can help education buyers find the ideal platform deployment to meet their needs.

Pricing Information

Per-student or per-school pricing, usually billed monthly or annually. Individual products can start a $2-10/student/month, but will vary based on volume and how comprehensive a particular product is. More comprehensive products are likely to cost more, but will limit the total number of systems that schools must purchase.

K-12 Online Learning Products

(1-18 of 18) Sorted by Most Reviews

Schoology Learning, a PowerSchool Unified Classroom product
27 ratings
106 reviews
Top Rated
Schoology, now a PowerSchool Unified Classroom product, is a learning management system (LMS). The Basic Package is free for instructors and includes features such as an Academic Activity Dashboard, Instructional Tools and a Native Document Grader. The Enterprise Package includes the Basic Package …
Blackbaud Education Management Solutions
90 ratings
99 reviews
Top Rated
Blackbaud Education Management Solutions is a unified student management system for K–12 private schools. Blackbaud Enrollment Management System™: Blackbaud Enrollment Management System gives schools and families the ability to track admissions progress from inquiry through acceptance, enrollment, a…
1 ratings
29 reviews
Hero is student behavior management software for K-12 schools and districts, from Schoolmint. Hero's goal is to enable consistent redirection of negative behavior, reinforcement of positive behavior and communication between educators, students, parents, and administrators across classrooms school a…
PowerSchool Student Information System
21 ratings
24 reviews
Top Rated
The PowerSchool Student Information System covers administrative needs, such as scheduling, attendance, reporting, data management, faculty management, emergency/medical and health management, registration, and more for K-12 schools and districts. It is easy to use and boasts an industry-leading gra…
Infinite Campus
4 ratings
12 reviews
Infinite Campus headquartered in Blaine offers their student information system (SIS) to educational institutions, boasting onboarding support, parent and student portal, grade book and academic planner, and access to the platform's inbuilt LMS Campus Learning.
Skyward Student Management System
2 ratings
10 reviews
Skyward, headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, offers the Skyward Student Management System, a k-12 student information system which provides classroom tools (e.g. gradebook, attendance tracking, etc), Family Engagement tools with portal, as well as admin and student services task management.
1 ratings
4 reviews
Edsby is a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) for K-12 school districts that uses web and mobile technologies to connect teachers, students, parents and administrators in new ways. This LMS allows students and parents to check grades, attendance, homework and more from a browser, tablet o…
2 ratings
4 reviews
Veracross is a student information system and has several modules, including Admission, Academics, Development, etc. all sharing a single database.
PowerSchool eSchoolPLUS
2 ratings
3 reviews
eSchoolPLUS is a student information system for managing student demographics, grades, scheduling & attendance, discipline & report cards, and other information in k-12. eSchoolPLUS was developed by Sungard K-12 Education which was acquired by PowerSchool in March 2017. It is now owned and supported…
Synergy Education Platform
3 ratings
2 reviews
Edupoint Educational Systems offers the Synergy Education Platform, a K-12 integrated student information management and LMS, featuring grade and attendance management, RTI and special education, mobile app and parent engagement, and other features.
FACTS Student Information System (formerly RenWeb)
3 ratings
2 reviews
FACTS Student Information System (formerly RenWeb) is a Student Information System with a broad range of capabilities. It handles admissions, student information, billing, report cards, grading, attendance, and parent access, among others. FACTS is a property of Nelnet Business Solutions.
0 ratings
1 reviews
SchoolSpeak, a Community Brands company, offers an elementary, middle school, or preschool school management system oriented around the needs of private entities, offering student information management, performance tracking and grade book, student and family data repository, calendar with announcem…
Rediker Administrator's Plus
1 ratings
1 reviews
Rediker's Administrator's Plus is a cloud-based PK-12 student information system that handles attendance, report cards, schedule building, discipline, and billing.
Senior Systems, from Community Brands
Senior Systems, a Community Brands company since 2016, offers their school management system oriented around the needs of K-12 private and independent schools, including the modular Ascendance database for student data and admissions management (among other ancillary features), and the Radius platfo…
Kissflow School Cloud
Kissflow School Cloud is an operations management platform for K-12 schools, providing a centralizedplatform to manage school maintenance and facilities management.
ClassDojo is a communication app for primary schools from the company of the same name in San Francisco. It helps teachers, families, and kids share more often and more positively about what's happening at school and at home - including photos, videos, messages, and positive feedback.
eduTinker is a communication platform between teachers, students, and parents designed to offer all the essential tools required for teaching in one unified platform so that teachers can utilize their time efficiently and effectively. Features:- Live online classes- Distribution of assignments &…

Frequently Asked Questions

What do K-12 online learning platforms do?

K-12 online learning platforms facilitate the administration of K-12 academic institutions and support staff and student management of students’ data.

Who uses K-12 online learning platforms?

K-12 online learning platforms are most heavily used by school staff, such as teachers and administrators.

What’s the difference between K-12 and Higher Education technology?

K-12 online learning platforms will offer more features for parents and guardians to participate in their student’s education and will offer features tailored to younger audiences.

How much do K-12 online learning platforms cost?

Pricing can start as low as $2/student/month, but can scale up beyond $10/student/month for more comprehensive platforms and features.