LMS | News
Alma Launches Free Hybrid Learning Management and Student Information System
Alma has launched a free cloud-based
student information system and learning management system.
Availability of Alma in 2014 is limited to the first 500 schools to sign up.
According to the company, Alma consolidates student information, learning
management and curriculum and lesson planning into a single cloud-based
interface. The free service includes more than 100 core SIS/LMS features, and
specialized add-on features are also available for a "nominal fee." According to
information on the company's site, Alma works on virtually any device with a Web
browser, including Windows and Mac computers, iPads and Android tablets.
Ten schools in New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and Oregon tested
the software during its prototype phase, and they have all signed up for the
service now that it has launched. James Lafferty-Furphy, director of operations
for Creative Minds International
Public Charter School in Washington, DC, said Alma's proficiency-based
reporting feature was critical for his school. "Since we use the International
Primary Curriculum and incorporate project-based learning, we need a system that
will enable us to report students' level of mastery on projects and coursework
that touch on multiple standards and content areas at one time," he said in a
Alma uses SSL encryption and double firewalls to secure data and provides
each school with its own separate database on Alma's servers. According to
information on the company's site, "Alma is fully compliant with the
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)."
Free core features of Alma include:
- Student information;
- Traditional, standards-based and proficiency-based gradebooks;
- Report cards;
- Attendance tracking and reporting;
- Parent and student portals;
- Integrated school calendar;
- Messaging and emergency notifications;
- Standards tracking;
- Curriculum and lesson planning;
- Data migration through an Excel template; and
- E-mail and phone support.
Add-on features include:
- Advanced messaging;
- Customized report cards;
- Data migration services; and
- On-site training.
The company reported it will add new features every month or two based on feedback
and the needs of schools.
Further information about Alma can be found on the
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.