Regardless of whether administrators are responsible for two athletic fields and one gym in a high school of 150 students or an entire sports complex involving a thousand athletes each day, there are many advantages to using one of the many athletic scheduling software programs available today. In addition, the responsibility of scheduling a school’s activities and adding those corresponding facilities to the daily mix makes selecting the right program for the job even more critical.
The choices for this type of computer support grow every day with the addition of new programs using various platforms as well as significant updates to existing programs. The many options are both great and challenging – great because one can find any features that a school needs, and challenging because one can find any and all features – some that a school may not need. So, like so many decisions, knowing the needs up front makes finding the solution easier and more effective.
Connecting a school’s needs in scheduling athletic and activity facilities, practices, games, matches, rehearsals and events to the right software first requires a listing of the school’s software needs. Once that is established, selecting the right program is fairly straightforward; and given the search/find/sell capabilities of the Internet, doing so will require a few hours of research and reading.
Creating the list of a school’s needs may take more effort as the options available are extensive. Start with the basics – what is needed to support the school’s athletic and activity events and then consider the options that may enhance the program.
Following are the features and aspects to consider when selecting athletic scheduling software programs:
Cloud-based: Software that runs through web-browsers and is available (with proper login credentials) everywhere there is a computer and an Internet connection.
Server-based: Software that runs on a school-based network and is available only through computers attached to that network.
Stand-alone: Software and its related data are on your computer only.
• Schedule multiple facilities
• Team/Activity Membership
• Game Results
• Online schedules
• Rosters, stats, etc.
CONTRACTS / ELIGIBILITY:
Because of the capability of computers and the Internet, just about anything is possible – connection to other resources including league, conference and state organizations; integration with current websites, social media, platforms and other software; tracking of data one would find valuable. However, all of this information comes with two issues: cost and complexity.
Administrators should consider a school’s current needs and what “extras” might be important now or in the near future. Consider reviewing the software, talking to other administrators about their programs and checking out any demos or videos. As always, consider the relationship between the cost and the value of each extra component.
The more time a school devotes to a review of needs and available options, the more time it will save by making the correct choice.
Steffen Parker has worked with computers since the mid-1970s and has been a Macintosh user since its introduction in 1984. Owner–operator of Music Festival Software Solutions, he develops online registration and information websites for music festivals, state organizations and professional societies. Serving as an IT support person for the Vermont Principals’ Association and the Information Support Specialist for the Lamoille North Supervisory Union, Parker supports computer use for adults working in education, administration, finance and publication including the NFHS High School Today Publications Committee as the Fine Arts representative.