Educational institutions are a special breed of business. Not only do they need the necessary tools for the educational side of things, but also the administrative portion of the business. Although some tools bridge those two together, most institutions find it necessary to deploy separate platforms to each.
But no matter which route you take, your business will need the right software to make that institution of learning run smoothly. Otherwise, you run the risk of interfering with one of the most important tasks of all, the education and development of young minds.
And, let’s face it, without software today’s educational systems would have a hard time keeping up with the rapid pace of learning around the world. And given how fragile the state of these institutions has become (under the weight of a pandemic), software has become an absolute necessity.
So what are these tools every educational environment should employ? Let’s break them down by category. It’s important to understand that every learning institution can go two different routes for these tools. The first route is to procure pre-made software that was either purpose-built for education or can be made to work in such an environment. Some of the software in this category is open-source, so it can be had for free.
The other route is to hire a third-party software development team to build customized tools geared specifically to meet your needs. Either way you go, it’s absolutely crucial that you know what your needs are before you start shopping for software.
With that said, let’s take a look at the five types of tools you’ll need to employ.
Content systems are an absolute must, as they make it possible for teachers to create the lessons and tools they need to educate students. These systems make it easy for teachers to build lesson plans, syllabuses, flashcards, tests, reviews, tutorials, and multimedia. These types of systems can serve as a central location to not only house these pieces but to be able to easily share them with students and other instructors.
Content systems can also serve as a location for research and references. Institutions can house Wikis within these platforms, as well as documentation so teachers and students have full-time access to the information they need.
Another service that can be provided by content systems is desktop publishing and communication. Teachers are empowered to create newsletters and mailing lists, where they can keep students and parents involved and informed.
At some point, your school will probably have to employ e-learning. This might happen due to the ebb and flow of the pandemic, or simply because you have students who are unable to attend in person. When that eventually returns, having an e-learning option can keep the ball rolling forward.
E-learning systems not only need to include the ability to offer video and audio instruction but the means to do remote practice and testing for students. As well, students need to be able to turn in assignments via this system, which means teachers must have the means to track and time such assignments.
This tool will not only be the most costly, but also the most complicated to deploy. Because of that, you might also need to consider the idea of hiring a third party to manage such a system.
Many younger students learn better with the help of games. Because of this, you’ll want to be able to include games as a part of your e-learning or in-house instruction. And because video games help to motivate younger students to learn, this is always a very attractive option for schools, especially in helping younger children gain an interest in math, science, and computer science.
You might even consider VR as an additional component, as this can greatly enhance the experience for children.
Software For Special Needs Students
One area that is often overlooked is that of software tools required for special needs students. You might have students with emotional or mental deficiencies who require very special tools to help them learn. Special access software for those with physical handicaps is a very particular niche for learning institutions.
This type of software offers special assistance to those children who might not be capable of processing at the same speed or clarity as other students. And given nearly every educational institution must be capable of serving these needs, specialized software must be considered.
Finally, you must have the ability to manage staffing, keep track of room assignments, buildings, attendance, truancies, vacations, grades, events, salaries, suppliers, maintenance, accounts payable, donations, alumni, and compliance.
If you don’t have the software to take care of this side of the business, you will absolutely fail at taking care of the educational portion of your institution. This might well be one of the first pieces of software you deploy, as, without an administrative hub, you won’t be able to easily manage all the other pieces of the puzzle.
Each one of these categories should be considered an absolute must for your educational institution. Without the proper tools, you will struggle to not only meet the needs of students, teachers, and parents alike, but you’ll also have a challenging time keeping up with the competition.
And given how competitive the world of education is, the more advantages you have, the better off you’ll be.