For this review, we’ll break things down between the educator perspective and the student perspective (which has 3 different experiences: Secondary, 3-5, and K-2).
Xello for Secondary Students
Probably the best place to start is by exploring how Xello supports secondary students.
Students have three main sections to access in Xello: About Me, Explore Options, and Goals & Plans.
For the About Me section, they complete various surveys and inventories as well as create digital resumes by compiling their work, volunteer, education, and life experiences. Students can also add skills, interests, and places they have lived throughout their life.
Additionally, students can create storyboards, which is a way to “tell stories” using photos, videos, links, and anything else they would like. This essentially acts as an ePortfolio, and students can share their profile with parents, guardians or other people in their network.
These are all great resources, but one of my favorite parts of this section is the “Matchmaker” component, where students complete a quiz to begin to determine the types of careers and career clusters they may be interested in moving towards. Regardless of that quiz, students can also just select the career clusters they are currently interested in as well.
For the Explore Options section, students can look at different careers, schools, and majors.
One of the things I really love about Xello is that while they do have higher education options, they also have options that don’t require 4-year degrees, or even degrees at all. In short, they’ve done a really good job presenting all types of career options and pathways.
Plus, their system for exploring all these different pathways is really phenomenal. I honestly wish I could have had access to a system like this when I was a high school student.
For every career they have a simple explanation of the job, as well as a more detailed job description. All of these career profiles are written at the 6th grade level, so even students who are towards the end of their secondary career, but aren’t reading at grade level, can hopefully still access the content. The career profiles also include lists of core tasks, explanations of the workplace and working conditions, breakdown of the earnings, and sample career paths.
They really are outstanding resources. And the same goes for the Schools and Majors sections. Students can get incredibly detailed breakdowns of school enrollment data, entrance requirements, and anything else they might need.
Finally, under the Goals & Plans section, students can plan out and manage the courses they want to take, as well as start working on and tracking their college applications (if they plan to attend a college or university).
The college application planning is also excellent. Xello keeps track of all the requirements and documents they need to pull together, and it can also help manage transcript requests, letter of recommendation requests, and anything else they might need to pull in for their application.
Overall, Xello for secondary students is an exceptional resource.
At the middle school level, students can start exploring different careers and career paths. At the high school level, students can hone in on the specific path(s) they want to work towards, and use Xello as a guide for what they need to get started on that path. Plus, with the horribly unfortunate shortage of school counselors in most schools, Xello can act as an additional support resource to help students manage all of these processes and explore paths that they are passionate about.
Xello for 3-5 Students
Xello at the 3-5 level looks a little different, but consists of the same three components: About Me, Careers, and My Goals.
For the About Me section, students can add different interests and skills, and well as list of their achievements and rank their favorite school subjects. Plus, similar to Xello at the secondary level, students can also create a Storyboard to share pictures, videos, and links of the things they have done and accomplished. Overall, it’s a great way for students to begin to identify their likes, dislikes, and passions.
In terms of Careers, this section looks a little different, and is organized in a way that is much more accessible for upper elementary students. Students can search careers based on the school subjects they are interested in or by different career groups.
The career profiles are also simplified for an elementary level and provide an understanding of the career, without getting as granular as the secondary versions.
Finally, in the My Goals section, students can add goals for school, home, extracurricular activities, or just for fun. It’s a great way to introduce students to goal-setting, and students also are asked to write about why the goal matters to them, which I think is a beneficial way to promote self-reflection.
Xello for K-2 Students
For K-2 students, Xello looks very different. Here, Xello is more of an interactive story where students work with Detective Jill to solve problems in Career Town. A big part of solving problems involves meeting people around town who have different jobs and learning more about those jobs.
Overall, it’s a fun and engaging way for students at an early age to begin to be introduced to different careers.
Xello for Educators
In general, Xello is only implemented in settings where you have a school or district license. Xello will work with the school/district to import all SIS data, so that when you login, everything you need is already setup and running.
When you do login, teachers, counselors, and administrators can access all sorts of data and analytics on how students are progressing through the various activities described above.
Educators can create groups of students, and share out assignments and resources with those student groups. You can also manage transcripts and recommendation letters, help students with their course plans, and assist in college application processes.
Overall, the educator side is simple to use for those who are limited on time, but it also allows access to tons of granular data for those who want to dig deep into how each individual student is using and exploring the platform.
Finally, in terms of pricing, Xello’s pricing is simple and straightforward. There’s a one-time set-up fee and then a simple per-student cost covers the rest. You can contact their team for a specific quote.
For support and professional development, every new client gets a free training session to onboard them with the program and address any questions before they get started. The team at Xello takes care of all the set-up work including working with the district to map their course master into the program, integrate with their SIS, and set-up any other third-party integrations. Each client is assigned an Onboarding manager, many of whom have over a decade of experience in technical set-up for schools. Districts can choose to purchase additional custom and in-person training to ensure their staff get off on the right foot. It’s recommended but not required.
Throughout the onboarding process, and the duration of a client contract, Xello offers unlimited support. Every client is matched with a Success Manager or Associate who is dedicated to their account and offers strategic, consultative guidance on how to make the most out of the program. Their in-house Client Solutions team is available for anyone at the district or school to contact for troubleshooting or on-the-spot walk-throughs. They can be reached from 8am – 8pm, Monday – Friday at +1 (800) 965-8541 ext 2. or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlike other providers, Xello doesn’t count hours or put clients on the clock or charge for support hours. If a teacher, counselor, district administrator, student or parent needs a hand, Xello is there to help. Xello also has a robust Support Center at help.xello.world offering online guides, video tutorials and other resources to help support educators in their implementation and use of Xello.
In closing, I really love Xello, and I wish I could have had access to something like this when I was figuring out what direction I wanted to go with my life. Of course, none of these resources can beat the importance of having an exceptional guidance counselor who can provide individualized support and attention to students. But Xello really does do a wonderful job of supporting students through the process of self-exploration and direction-finding.
And while the K-2 and 3-5 sections are great, I think where Xello really shines is at the secondary level. The enormous amount of resources and data that Xello provides about career paths and college options is exceptional, and it is all broken down in an incredibly friendly and accessible way. Plus, the management of the college application process is both helpful and intuitive for students and educators to use.
In short, for schools looking for an additional support resource in helping students figure out and follow their passions and life directions, Xello is absolutely worth considering. For next steps, you can contact their sales team to schedule a demo.
I was not compensated for writing this review.