The relationship between technology and education has gone on since as far back as the 18th century, and every milestone in technological advancement has made its way into the classroom, from the abacus to virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
However, no single event has really blown up the use of software in education, like the Covid-19 lockdown. The inability of teachers and students to have face-to-face interactions for an extended period of time resulted in global demand for ways to streamline educational activities using technology. One major tool that made this possible is the adoption of Bespoke software development.
Bespoke software refers to customised software applications which are developed to address the specific challenges and requirements of an organisation. This kind of software development allows schools to assess their unique areas of difficulty and invest in software solutions designed to specifically address those needs. It has transformed the way academic institutions approach teaching and student engagement and is improving the quality of education worldwide.
In this article, we discuss the impact of bespoke in the education sector and how it is transforming teaching and learning.
Some of the key areas in which Bespoke software has revolutionised the academic sector include:
One major area where bespoke software has left its footprint is in the area of academic administration. As of 2021, the average population of a secondary school in the UK was nearly 1,000 students, and the median for higher education institutions was 13,000!
Imagine the hassle attached to performing the administrative tasks required to cater to such numbers, such as student enrollment, timetable scheduling, grading, and attendance tracking. The introduction of bespoke software has helped to streamline these processes, automate routine administrative tasks and allow educators to focus more on teaching and student engagement. Digital systems now mean that documents and records no longer have to be kept in dusty heaps of booklets in moth-infested drawers (just kidding). With intuitive interfaces and user-friendly features, bespoke software simplifies administrative workflows, reduces paperwork, and enhances overall efficiency.
Another significant aspect of education being transformed by bespoke software is the teaching and learning experience. Bespoke Software solutions offer intuitive and interactive platforms for teachers to create and deliver lectures. Customised e-learning platforms provide a wide range of resources, such as videos, quizzes, forums, and virtual simulations, that enable students to learn at their own pace and in their preferred style. Features like progress tracking and personalized assessments allow educators to monitor individual student performance and provide targeted support when needed.
These educators then use these metrics to adapt the curriculum based on the student's strengths, weaknesses, and progress, ensuring that each student receives personalized attention and support. This approach results in better student engagement, more in-depth understanding, and progress.
One of the most notable advancements brought along by tailored software is the ability for students to learn outside the traditional classroom settings. It is also transforming remote and online education. When the Covid pandemic disrupted in-person learning, educational institutions were forced to adapt to virtual learning and online classes, and bespoke software played a vital role in this transition.
Virtual classrooms, video conferencing tools, and online collaboration platforms today are mainstays in the academic world, allowing students to join live classes online and carry out group projects from literally any location. Bespoke software ensured that the inability to physically attend school did not restrict education. Even after we moved on from the lockdown, the benefits of remote learning are still so applicable that it's fully become part of the academic experience.
Beyond the classroom, custom software also streamlines and enhances the involvement of parents and guardians in student education. A study by the Harvard Family Research Project reports that students with involved parents are more likely to have higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates.
Bespoke software makes it much easier for parents to stay informed and involved in their child's education. This is possible through custom-made dedicated parent portals that provide access to student progress reports, attendance records, and communication channels with teachers and school management. It allows parents to digitally keep track of their children’s performance and behavioural reports and establish a relationship between parents and educators, ensuring that the student receives necessary support both at school and at home.
Having discussed how bespoke software has impacted the education system and how it addresses challenges in different aspects of teaching, learning, administration, and parent involvement, we’ll now look at the different types of applications through which the transformation is implemented. They include:
Learning management systems are one of the most notable instruments of transformation bespoke software uses to improve education. It is a digital, central system that enables the storage, management, and distribution of educational content, as well as performance tracking. With LMS, teachers can create and upload course materials, assignments, and assessments, which students can access and engage from anywhere. The software also allows the teachers to monitor how students perform in these assessments. It provides a dynamic learning environment with an open communication channel between educators and students where they can interact seamlessly, exchanging discussions, queries, and feedback. Examples of LMS software are Google Classroom and Moodle.
Student Information System, also known as a School Management System, is a platform that has transformed the functions of the school sector known as the school office. It digitalises the administrative handling of records and student-related information by educational institutions. SIS provides a centralised database where schools can store, organise and manage all their student records, from enrollment to graduation. These data include, but are not limited to, personal details, grades, payment history, disciplinary records, attendance maps and timetables.
SIS streamlines literally kind of student data produced by schools and eliminates the need for the cluttered, dusty heaps of paperwork that previously characterised record keeping in the educational sector and beyond.
Online learning is the fastest-growing market in the education industry and is reported to reduce the time needed to learn a subject by 40-60%. To facilitate this, E-learning systems provide online platforms that incorporate web-based software to support remote collaboration and learning. This means students and teachers can join classes online from anywhere, communicate effectively, and carry out assessments and reviews.
It enables real-time interaction and collaboration among students and teachers and can have features like virtual whiteboards, chat functions, shared document editing, etc.
Some popular systems used for such interactions include Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.
Virtual reality systems are increasingly being used in education to provide immersive and interactive experiences. The App Solutions reports that 93% of teachers feel that using virtual reality technology in the classroom would bring excitement to their students, and 97% of students are keen to take a virtual reality course.
VR software gives students the experience of exploring historical sites, conducting virtual science experiments, and visualizing complex ideas or concepts. Schools can also use VR to create interactive games where they simulate different scenarios or environments to enhance knowledge assimilation for students. These games improve students’ learning experience by increasing mental stimulation, allowing them to learn and retain more information.
Examples of VR applications for learning include Nearpod V and Google Expeditions.
Bespoke software development is transforming the education system by streamlining student administration, classroom management, and parent engagement, as well as improving the teaching and learning system through advanced academic tools and personalised, remote learning. The best part is that, with bespoke software, any of the above-mentioned systems can be developed specifically to suit the requirements of your school, adding only features necessary to solve your unique challenges.
It's interesting to see how the advancement of software and technology, in general, continues to impact the education sector going forward amid concerns that the rapid spread of software could lead to increased unemployment for educators. However, others will argue that instead, it makes life easier for them by automating repetitive mundane tasks. The jury is out on the topic, and we'll delve further into it in a coming article. What do you think?
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