Cloud Services Thread, RM Unify - worth it or not? in Technical; Yesterday I joined a webinar covering RM Unify. On the face of it it looks pretty useful - still thinking ...
21st November 2013, 12:54 AM #1
RM Unify - worth it or not?
Yesterday I joined a webinar covering RM Unify. On the face of it it looks pretty useful - still thinking hard about it and wondering if anyone on here has an opinion on it they'd care to share. We are a KS3 special school.
21st November 2013, 08:45 AM #2
I can speak on this from a large scale implementation stance. We are currently implementing RM Unify (branded LaunchPad365 by us) with just over 170 schools (and that number is growing as schools love it!)
So far we have about 50 schools of varying types (Primary/Secondary/Special) on line and actively using it. So far the comments we have had tend be down the lines of:
* Much easier than our previous slow and clunky VLE
* Very good for teachers to get to grips with as so easy to use in terms of how it looks, multi device/device agnostic - always gives you the same look and feel across these devices
* Single Sign On - cuts down so much time when we start to join in a number of other services we already have in schools, EG Education City, Classroom Monitor etc
To give a balanced view, I guess the only negativity we have had is around product features - schools wanting more-
* Want to be able to group tiles and label there own groups of tiles - eg in to Subject or Class name etc (I believe this will come!)
* Be able to provision in to the service from MIS rather than AD (or a mixture of both) (I hope it will come!)
Alongside our implementation of Unify we have a number of apps bolted in with automatic account creation and SSO - RM Books (the EBook service that has seriously grown over the last year - 99% of our schools have dived straight in with it with tons of ideas for engaging with reluctant readers) and alongside that Microsoft Office 365.
With the implementation of MS Office 365 we also have RM's Site Creator which is just immense! It does need some improvements which we are feeding back to RM at present but as a tool to integrate to Office 365 SharePoint it's simple, easy and been received so well by our schools. It builds and structures your SharePoint structure eg. school intranet in a matter of minutes (as long as you have all your pictures and have thought about your structure of course!) and then can be used to add content back in to those sites once the structure is built. All in a simple easy to get to grips with wizard and UI.
How many teachers/students have ever got to grips with SharePoint? Probably not many as they say it's far to clunky or complicated - we have Primary Schools using it right now and loving how easy this tool makes Office 365 SharePoint. I highly recommend it or taking a look at it.
With our implementation we have built in our own training for schools - I'll be honest, training on Unify/RM Books takes about half a morning as it's just obvious how you use it. After that it's all about Site Creator (which also takes about 10mins!) and then the rest of it is supporting them creating content within Office 365. This neat package is going down very well with our schools so far!
If you would like to talk to me direct about more experiences then don't hesitate to drop me a PM or take a search on here for more RM Unify feedback.
2 Thanks to funkyfin2000:
speckytecky (21st November 2013), Zoom7000 (16th March 2014)
21st November 2013, 09:06 AM #3
Thanks Rich @funkyfin2000 your feedback much appreciated. I expect RM are pretty delighted with what you have had to say about it as well. I'd like to hear a bit more thoughts and feedback from other Forum users - I'd especially appreciate hearing any views @witch might have.
Thanks to speckytecky from:
funkyfin2000 (21st November 2013)
21st November 2013, 09:13 AM #4
Yeah, your right I have a positive view as I am rolling it out across schools, but it's also right to give a balanced view. We are early days, with only 50 schools, but having previously had RM's Learning Platform we have continued to have the buy in to RM Unify and Office 365 and are now moving schools over from previous LP solutions where any kind of development seems to have stopped! The reasons they are moving are in my OP.
Unify has really started to grow like Books has - with loads more apps that our schools have already or want to use as well.
I would certainly like to here some other views as well - I network with a number other colleagues around the country but it would be great to have some on the ground feedback from elsewhere.
Thanks to funkyfin2000 from:
speckytecky (21st November 2013)
21st November 2013, 09:27 AM #5
I don't have a view at all - I presume you are thinking that I might due to SWGfL and RM etc (Merlin docs now being hosted on Unifi etc) but neither of my schools have gone down this route.
One has an in-house VLE, Moodle, and the other has...nothing...and no plans to have anything either
Thanks to witch from:
speckytecky (21st November 2013)
21st November 2013, 10:18 PM #6
We bought in as a secondary school with 1500 students. It's certainly been worth the money for us with the Office365 SSO.
It does at the minute seem to cater a lot more for primary then secondary as you can tell by the majority of apps available to install in app store, but as you can now create your own tiles, it's helped us bookmark relevant sites for staff and students easily.
2 Thanks to Sylv3r:
funkyfin2000 (25th November 2013), speckytecky (21st November 2013)
21st November 2013, 10:50 PM #7
Early days yet but after the CC4 debacle this is sounding like RM has got something right.
Thanks to speckytecky from:
funkyfin2000 (25th November 2013)
24th November 2013, 12:29 AM #8
I worked on setting up Unify on a primary school site in the summer as part of a office 365 setup\email migration with RM. There's a second primary and a secondary I was looking to also use Unify with but after getting to grips with it for the one school I don't think I will use it at the secondary, all schools are on Office 365 and I am trying to convince the second primary to go with this, but have found that for providing user\password\group sync between onsite and office 365 that Azure Dir Sync provided by Microsoft works better for me at the secondary school. I was used to using the old FIM 2010 system for Live@Edu at the secondary and Azure Dir Sync gives me better functionality in what, where and when it is syncing - in my opinion.
For the junior school I think it works well and have not had any issues when the part-time technician at the school creates accounts on site etc everything "just works".
Obviously using something else like Azure Dir Sync doesn't provide all the integration with SSO to other sites etc but as others have said it mainly seems primary based sites at present. Also from the demos I have had of the site creator tool it does looks great, is it available as a stand alone tool without signing up for anything else I wonder?
my 2 cents.
2 Thanks to jbailey:
funkyfin2000 (25th November 2013), speckytecky (24th November 2013)
31st May 2014, 10:10 PM #9
Anyone having problems with Unify tonight?
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