Many moons ago, I used to be a Nursery teacher.  This was fun, but the only downside was spending days of my holidays sticking little post-it notes and photos as evidence of what the children in my class had been doing into their respective profiles. Surely computers could make this all easier?

Yes indeed! This year, we’ve bitten the bullet and got a set of iPod Touches for the Foundation Stage staff to use for taking photos and writing observations on children.  We’ve looked at a couple of options for the database at the back end, but decided upon using a service called Orbit .  The advantages of it are that it:

  • Is free
  • Has an iOS app and a website which can be accessed from anywhere
  • Seems pretty straight forward but quite powerful too
  • Did I mention that it’s free?

The only niggling question I’ve had about it is how it’s going to make it’s money whilst being free and still be around in a few years’ time. They say that it’s through putting advertising on the parents’ section of the site.  They’ve only been around for less than a year but already have 1,700 providers registered and 10,000 registered users, so I’m hoping this works for them.  However, there is another catch: to make use of the evaluations and tracking part of the service, you have to have at least 50% of your children’s parents signed up in order for that part to be free, otherwise you have to pay £40 a year.  Which isn’t so bad.

We had the fun job last week of typing in all the children’s details and setting up the iPod Touches, and then today we did some training with the Foundation Stage staff.  Children start back this week so we’ll soon see how it all works out.

2 thoughts on “Orbit.so

    1. Too good to be true?…good question!

      It certainly is run by people who genuinely want to make it work. We had a technical issue which I tweeted and emailed about and they responded and fixed it pretty quick. It does seem to be running a little slow at the moment, which is no doubt down to high demand. But I hoping that the huge number of users they have now will encourage them to invest in more servers etc. They make money off advertising on the parent pages and if only a fraction of parents sign up that must be a certain amount of revenues for them.

      We didn’t really look at the 2simple option, mainly because it wasn’t free and who can argue with free?!? I’m sure theirs is a good product too.

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