ClassroomAPP is an award-winning pedagogically-sound next-gen tool for teachers to enable the digital classroom. We didn't settle for what is easiest to build. We are building what should be build.
We sincerely hope you will consider joining us on this journey. This page is meant as a quick response to common questions new partners are looking to answer before they consider working with us. We 100% understand that your reputation and your clients deserve that you make sure you are working with the right people and are providing the right technology (and your due diligence gives us comfort as well).
You probably met our founder already, Ramez Rafla (here is his LinkedIn profile). He started ClassroomAPP over 10 years ago, with a mission to help students with technology.
We have worked and continue to work with many of the world's leading educational companies (seen our Partners page yet?). Along the way we pioneered some really cool stuff: things like cartoon-based elearning plaftorms, web-based animation frameworks and the like. One of our apps (no longer in distribution) was the #1 Algebra App on iOS for a long time.
Around 5 years ago we turned our attention (by sheer luck) to classroom technology (remember the early days of Google Classroom and Chromebooks?). And we built the first classroom monitoring tool for Chromebooks (that's right, long before GoGuardian and anyone else). As we shifted from services to product, we had to build from the ground-up our distribution channels.
Today, we have hundreds of deployments in the US, Europe (mainly in France), and the Middle-East. Our model in the international markets (i.e. non-US) is almost exclusively channel-based.
We have compiled a non-wordy Visual Brochure to give you a hands-on feel of the many available features.
PS: Don't download it, just share the link to have the most up to date version
This page in itself, cannot answer this question. But here are some points to assist in your decision-making.
First, in terms of people and culture, we are strongly partner-based. In other words, we can only succeed if you succeed. Your clients are our clients (if your competitor calls us to sell to your existing clients we won't entertain the conversation). We will go the extra mile at our cost to add what they need (be it features, customizations etc.). By supporting both an off-the-shelf solution as well as a customized one, we can make a lot of people happy. We will make sure your customers are repeat customers. Some partners tell us that they have leveraged our customer-centric approach to build deeper client relationships and provide more solutions and services.
Second, you will be very profitable with us with little to no headaches. The app is very well-built with a super intuitive UI, the setup is easy and well ironed out. And, once setup, the machine just grows by itself with little to no support from your team (we incorporated really cool things like automated help, built-in wizards etc.). Our infrastructure is second to none and is autoscalable (servers grow by themselves as the demand increases)
Third, your schools will be very happy. We take pride in making tools that are useful, well-built and require minimal support. Their classrooms will function like a clock. Happy customers shift their attention away from support to innovative thinking (and buying) and require less hand-holding and nurturing.
Our financial structure is simple: 50% (that's right, half!) of new sales and 25% on repeat customers.
Here is the rationale: It took you a long time to get a new customer, visits, demos, calls etc. It's only normal that you and your salespeople get the fruits of your labor right away. In short, we are investing in you and your relationships.
Secondly, say you sign a 3-year deal .. well, that's 50% on a 3-year deal. Inherent therefore is an incentive for longer-term contracts for your team on the ground. Not to mention, when a deal is this profitable, we know your team is going to give this customer due attention (we are not on the ground, so need to have incentives in place to make sure the ecosystem maintains itself).
Finally, once it's all setup and everyone is happy, we make our profits on the repeats. You will continue to make a steady revenue stream with little to no-maintenance on existing clients; yet you still have a continued incentive to get more clients. Our strategy is clearly focused on partnership & growth.
Fair, honest, and straight to the point.
You need to be comfortable that we have your back. So here is how it is all setup:
We are 100% hosted on Amazon AWS in the US and Europe. We have been an Amazon power-user for over 10 years, and know it inside out. It is a reliable cost-effective service that is second to none.
Our app servers are hosted on Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. This is a really complex and complete platform used by the top technology companies globally. Its key strength is that autoscales automatically. As the demand for resources goes up, it spins new servers unattended (and wounds them down at night to reduce cost). So you never have to worry about quality of service.
We host our own database servers (we use MongoDB, a top-tier super-fast database engine used by Fortune 500). This allows bullet-proof security on school and user data. Our DB servers are multi-region for replication and backups. We always have triple redundancy, so it never (ever) goes down.
We have a complete monitoring system (Nagios) that continuously monitors all servers real-time (CPU, memory, disk, etc.) and sends us messages as we near critical thresholds. This is how we can achieve an SLA of 99.95% uptime or better (over the last 3 years our uptime was actually 100%, but we legally guarantee 99.95%)
We developed a complete and comprehensive build-and-test infrastructure that allows us to quickly test new updates and release them within 10 minutes of go-live order.
A client is the interface that the user sees. We have 2 main clients: the WebApp (essentially the webpage to access and control ClassroomAPP), and the Chrome extension. They all communicate with the same servers (reducing development and maintenance overhead while maintaining consistency).
All our clients have autoupdate features built-in so you never have to worry about updating your clients' installs. It just happens. The WebApp just updates itself by refreshing when it gets the signal (we call this hot-code reload) and the extension is updated automatically on the Chrome webstore and our own store.
Security can never be an after thought when dealing with sensitive information. It is baked into all our technology processes (e.g. testing new features, deployment, periodic server audits etc.).
A key decision that has major security implications is that we ask and store only what we really need. For example, there is no place in our database to store a user's physical address, even if it is provided by third-party (e.g. Google or Microsoft login).
Another key example is the user's IP address, which can give an approximation of their physical location. When students log in from home we immediately mask their IPs and prevent them from being stored in our database.
Key decisions like these ease the mind of decision-makers and show how safety and security are a backbone of our operations. In short, we do not know anything critical about our users, by design.
Here is a short laundry list of key security-related processes:
- All communication is over secure channel, data is always encrypted in flight.
- The same encryption occurs from the app servers to the db servers, nothing is ever plain in the open.
- The app servers and the db servers are in a closed sub network, talking to each other in a hidden encrypted communication channel, not in the wide open internet.
- We use Amazon security certificates for all external communication; for DB communication we use strong certificates with short lifespan.
- All key database changes are stored for auditing and review, we can go back up to 3 years and know who did what and when.
- Servers cannot be accessed externally except over secure channel with strong and long keys as well (i.e. no password access as they can be stolen or reverse-engineered).
- Servers cannot be accessed from just anywhere, but from fixed IPs from our offices and its VPN.
The D word -- one of the most feared issues in EdTech. But don't worry, we got you covered in 3 ways. But first, don't forget to visit our Docs center. It is extremely well organized with built-in quick search and appropriate targeting (i.e. for teachers vs. admins). Some of our competitors built their docs ad hoc based on support requests. Our docs were organized from the ground up for efficiency.
ClassroomAPP's internal LMS
We are the only complete Classroom Manager that comes with a built-in LMS. Even if the functionalities are redundant if your clients already have an LMS, this feature allows teachers and admins to create courses and attach studens easily (e.g. via codes like Google Classroom). In addition, the built-in reports provide a wealth of information and decision-support tools for educational leaders.
Google Classroom (or other LMS)
We have a very deep integration with Google Classroom and can pull all the courses and students automatically.
School Information System
We support OneRoster as well as many custom APIs to pull data from your clients' SIS automatically.
Note: A detailed table of comparison is available here
While an excellent tool for administration, our schools tell us it is a challenge to work with when teaching in the classroom. In other words, the target audience is really not the teachers (regardless of its name). It lacks key features that are required for proper pedagogy:
- Deployment can be difficult -- they often generate a custom extension for each client
- Ability to launch it from any website -- right now the teacher has to open the dashboard in a new tab, a nuisance for a teacher in the heat of the action
- Smart filtering - e.g. block youtube but only allow a single video
- Import URLs from the teacher's browser, so he/she can force it onto students
- Safesearch - automatically put all search engines in safe mode
- Advanced reporting - including grades vs resources (did the resources help the students?)
- Integration with third-party - for example, launching webapps or external resources
- Built-in LMS - teachers can organize their resources (including Google Docs etc.) and share them live with students
- Class schedules can be imported so it connects students who are in your current class automatically
- Support is currently problematic - many schools have told us it took a long time to resolve their issues
Originally a Windows tool, the Chromebook version is still in its infancy. In fact, LanSchool is extremely solid on Windows. It allows remote application launch, close etc. Generally, LanSchool is viewed as an excellent administration & control tool, rather than a teacher tool (i.e. ideal for library computers). Note that it was acquired by Lenovo to complete its education suite.
Designed to be a very basic tool to control student screens, generally geared towards younger grades. Lacks the tools and the deep integrations that are needed for middle and high-school.
Hapara is really an LMS with a bolt-on tool. The LMS features are quite complete (it is an excellent LMS), the classroom management features are very basic (e.g. no force, click on screen, volume control etc). Sadly, Hapara right now is going through disinvestment, so you are unlikely to get proper support or see any serious on-going development.