• Introduction
  • User interface
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Cost
  • Summary

NEO vs. PowerSchool

Introduction

This page is a detailed comparison between NEO and PowerSchool Learning, taking into consideration the features, functionality, and cost of each platform.

NEO is a world-class, award-winning learning management system (LMS) for schools and universities. NEO helps schools manage all classroom activities, such as creating and delivering educational content, assessing students, tracking their results, and promoting communication and collaboration between students and teachers/faculty.

PowerSchool Learning is a cloud-hosted LMS that caters to K-12 schools. It was formerly known as Haiku Learning.

NEO School portal

User interface

NEO has a responsive interface that automatically adjusts based on the type of device. It provides attractive tile-based dashboards for students, teachers and administrators, as well as a graphical class, users and resources catalog.

PowerSchool Learning has a simple interface that is heavily based on text and not as graphical. There are no tiles, not even for classes, which makes the platform look outdated. In addition, there is no graphical catalog for users and resources.

NEO uses an intuitive pop-out navigation that allows users to easily navigate to any area of the site.

PowerSchool has a relatively simple navigation, but there is no pop-out navigation. Since there are no tiles to display classes, users have to find them using a color code, which is not an intuitive way of displaying them. In addition, it takes more time to navigate since users have to wait for pages to load for every single element. For example, in NEO, users can easily read their messages using a drop down menu, whereas in PowerSchool Learning, they have to go to a class and load the Messages page.

In NEO, class material is organized in lessons that each contain learning content and assignments. Students can easily navigate between content pages using left and right buttons and they can easily concentrate on one learning unit at a time.

In PowerSchool, the learning material is organized into “content blocks” that allow users to add pages, different files and links all in one single page, which can become confusing and hard to organize.

In NEO, many features can be enabled or disabled to suit young children to college students. The platform is available in more than 40+ languages and offers native mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows.

The PowerSchool interface is not responsive and users must download their mobile app to use the site from a mobile device. The mobile app lacks the full functionality of the desktop version. The platform is only available in English and has apps for iOS and Android.

NEO Student dashboard

Ease of use

NEO is very intuitive and easy to use. In addition, it includes an online help center with videos, getting started guides, and searchable help content. NEO also has a rapid response support forum where staff members typically respond to questions within 15-30 minutes during business hours 24/5.

PowerSchool Learning is somewhat easy to understand and use, offering guides, a help center, a community support forum and help via email.

NEO Help center

Features

NEO incorporates all the tools schools need to make teaching more efficient and learning more enjoyable. The platform is suitable for K-12 and Higher Education institutions. PowerSchool Learning has a smaller feature set and is not intended for use by universities and colleges.

Creating content

Using NEO, teachers can create instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes, as well as micro courses. NEO also offers learning paths, which allow teachers to set goals that students must complete one by one, such as classes or earning certificates.

PowerSchool offers instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes and does not provide a learning paths feature. The platform allows teachers to add content blocks, including pages with text that are similar to the NEO content pages. However, in Powerschool, teachers cannot record audio or video directly from their browser and cannot add learning resources at the end of a page.

Student assessment

In NEO, teachers can choose from 12 types of assignments such as quizzes, essays, debates, team, Dropbox, Turnitin, discussion and survey. NEO also provides the ability to add different grading scales for the entire school, classes and to assignments.

PowerSchool is missing assignment types such as essays, Dropbox and debates. In addition, teachers cannot use different grading scales for individual assignments within a class.

Tracking progress

NEO provides support for competency-based learning that allows teachers to track how well students are understanding the taught concepts based on their mastery of skills or subjects. Users can also use automation to set up actions that should be performed when students fall behind on their mastery levels, such as sending an automatic notification to the teacher. They can also use the preloaded US Common Core and Next Generation Science standards to track student progress or create their own. Teachers have access to important data by generating reports with insights such as lesson progress and missing work. They can also see instant analytics on learning progress and identify where students might need some extra help.

PowerSchool has a mastery feature, but no automation option. What is more, analytics are not easily accessible as teachers have first to create reports, which take a long time to load and are not as easily accessible as in NEO.

Communication and collaboration

NEO offers many ways for teachers and students to connect and collaborate through chat, messages, groups, teams, social networking, wikis, blogs, and more.

PowerSchool has less options, most notably missing chat, forum, blog, teams, social networking and the option to display online users.

Personalization and engagement

NEO helps teachers save time through automation, which allows them to set up actions that should be performed when students complete tasks. Rules can be added in many areas of the platform such as classes, learning paths, groups, accounts, and mastery. To make classes more enjoyable, NEO also has a powerful gamification feature, through which students earn points and badges for their actions throughout the platform, in classes or learning paths. The feature also has levels, a leaderboard, and even team games. In addition, class content can be dynamically personalized so students can see different content and assignments based on their previous performance in a class through adaptive learning.

PowerSchool does not have any automation option, which means that many actions, such as enrolling in a new class or group have to be done manually. In addition, teachers can only award badges to students, but also manually, which is time consuming. There is no adaptive learning feature in PowerSchool.

Customization

Schools that use NEO can customize many aspects of their platform including its color scheme, fonts and terminology. They can also create a visitor portal with their own logo, portal images, panels, carousel, custom HTML, and more.

In PowerSchool, institutions cannot have their own custom visitor portal. They can have custom themes for the dashboard and classes, but no terminology option.

Here is a list of key features included in NEO that PowerSchool Learning does not support:

User interface

  • Customizable visitor portal
  • Graphical class catalog
  • Graphical resources catalog
  • Graphical users catalog
  • Graphical dashboards for users
  • Customizable terminology
  • Support for more than 40 languages
  • Automatic language translation of messages and forum posts
  • Native Windows app
  • Branded mobile apps

Content

  • Content sync
  • Gamification
  • Automation
  • Drip content
  • Learning paths
  • Micro learning
  • Adaptive learning
  • Compliance
  • Printable PDF certificates
  • Prerequisite certificates
  • Waitlists
  • Class ratings and reviews
  • Scheduled reports

Collaboration

  • Chat
  • Social networking
  • Forums
  • Blog
  • Teams
  • Display online users

Integrations

  • Integration with your own email server
  • xAPI
  • Equella
  • MathJax
  • Integration with 1,000+ apps via Zapier
  • Unicheck
  • CometChat
  • GotoMeeting
  • GotoTraining
  • Zoom
  • Skype for Business
  • Panopto
  • MailChimp
  • PayPal
  • Authorize.net
  • Stripe
  • Payubiz
  • PayU Latam
  • Kimono

Other

  • Student help desk
  • Account types such as monitor and teaching assistant
  • Archiving students
  • Trash can for restoring deleted content
  • E-commerce functionality
  • SEO features

NEO Class catalog

Cost

NEO has a Free plan with a comprehensive set of essential LMS features and a Premium plan for schools that need more powerful functionalities. There are no setup fees, cancellation fees, storage fees, bandwidth fees, support fees, or other hidden costs.

PowerSchool Learning can only be used for free by individual teachers with up to 5 active classes. Their website states that their pricing ranges from $4,95 to $30 monthly depending on the number of active classes for individual teachers. By comparison, the NEO free plan offers an unlimited number of active classes and unlimited storage.

Users can purchase a school or district plan for a minimum of 200 accounts. There is an implementation fee and their prices rise annually. The pricing is not available for premium plans, however to obtain a fuller set of features, users might need to purchase the PowerSchool Assessment and PowerTeacher Pro tools, which will significantly rise the total cost. NEO LMS offers a similar set of features at a much lower cost.

NEO Class page

Summary

This was a comparison of the most important features between NEO and PowerSchool Learning.

NEO is a more attractive and easier to use solution than PowerSchool Learning, at a lower cost for both small and large schools. In addition, NEO is suitable for both K-12 and Higher Ed institutions.

If you require additional information on NEO, please contact us.

Disclaimer

This comparison paper was written in January 2019 based on publicly available documentation on both vendors' sites. It was prepared as a guide and is not intended to be exhaustive. The comparison information is for guidance only and does not constitute any contractual representation, warranty or obligation on our part. Liability for errors, omissions or consequential loss is expressly disclaimed.

Since pricing and features can change rapidly, we do not represent that this information is up-to-date, and we encourage you to get the latest information directly from the vendor's web site. If you find any information in this comparison guide to be inaccurate, please contact us with details and we will correct the information within 72hrs.