virtual summit

How to Host a Virtual Summit in 60 days – The Complete Guide

Intro & highlights of our first virtual summit

In marketing industry, we see emerging trends & tactics which aid in boosting the lead generation, customer engagement, brand awareness, better visibility and much more. But most of the time the implementation of such strategies, cost a good amount of money, due to which most of the organizations are not able to adapt it to their operations structure. But when my team saw this new concept, we knew that this was going to be the next big thing in our marketing strategy, as it has been rolling out & espoused by several other industry marketers and everyone has experienced positive results, this new trending and intriguing concept is termed as a Virtual Summit.

Virtual summit helps in creating the brand awareness, lead generation, revenue generation and much more. No matter which type of organization it is, a startup or a well established one, anyone can launch a virtual summit. The main idea behind it is to attract lots of new prospects at zero cost, educate them and create an effective impact on the target audience, which would eventually turn them into your business promoters.


For the first time launching the virtual summit, that too in 60 days was a crazy idea, but we were fanatic about it. So, we began the journey of our first Virtual Summit – “BETTER 2018: School Operations Development Virtual Summit.

Before sharing the planning & strategies to host a successful virtual summit, let’s first dive into the “BETTER 2018: School Operations Development Virtual Summit” analytics:

Highlights of our first Virtual Summit:

 

Number of visitors Conversions Conversion rate
4848 1686 34.8%

highlights of virtual summit

I have taken the above-mentioned screenshot from our Instapage account. Let’s have a look at the speaker landing page analytics as well, i.e. Chetan Bhagat’s Interview page:

Chetan Bhagat virtual summit landing page performance

Next chart is about the survey, which was performed during the recording of the interview for the virtual summit. In this survey, the client speakers have shared their ratings on the Fedena’s USP:

Institute Name Fedena Features Training / Support User – Friendly Report management Value for money Recommendation (to friends to colleague)
Al Manara Pvt School 7 9 8 7 8 9
Zuwena International School 6 8 7 8 8 8
American Ways 7 10 9 8 7 8
QuickStep School Limited 8 9 10 10 8 10
TSiBA Education 6 8 7 4 10 5
The AB’s Rowland School 8 8 9 6 8 10
Gandhi Institute for Education & Technology 9 9 10 10 8 10
Raja Ram Mohan Roy School 9 10 10 8 10 9
Zaka Public School 9 7 9 9 7 9

virtual summit survey graph

Steps to host a successful virtual summit

Phase 1

1. Goal of the summit

This can be either brand awareness, lead generation or revenue generation which varies from company to company. In our case, we were launching the summit for the first time, so we decided to keep our goal as brand awareness and lead generation because we’re not in event management sector so we were aware of the possibility of mistakes therefore to avoid them we kept our goal which was easily achievable, measurable and manageable.

2. Topic & Theme of the summit

While deciding on topic and theme for the summit, it is crucial to understand the existing problem (in your industry) you are hoping to solve through this summit; what you wish to teach your attendees and how launching the summit would help you in accomplishing the business goals. Along with this, instead of choosing a generic topic such as the importance of education or software for school management, it is beneficial to consider a niche topic in your industry so that only refined targeted audience will attend the summit.

After finalizing the topic, you will get an idea about the potential speakers and partners.

For our summit, we kept the theme “school operations management” because it is relatable to our product and the content was totally focused on school operations, such a summit has not yet been launched by any other organisations in the similar domain.

3. Live or Recorded

Deciding on whether the launch of the summit should be live or recorded is a crucial thing to consider when you are in the initial stages of event planning. It is obvious that conducting the summit live, imparts greater engagement opportunity and better real-time interaction with the attendees but it also involves considerable risk, such as losing internet connectivity in the middle of the interview session which causing a negative impact on the 2-3 months planning and may also affect the brand’s reputation. But with the recorded interviews, you just have to focus on the actual recording of the interview and release it on the day of the summit.

4. Tech Tools

Listed below are the tools we used during our summit:

5. Deciding the date

While deciding the date of the summit it is crucial to ensure that the teams have adequate bandwidth to complete the tasks, and to make sure the launching would not clash with any other events.

6. Asset require to promote a summit

At this point, you may have an idea how to start with your virtual summit plan. Now the next step is to promote and widely spread the event among your target audience and build the awareness. The assets which can be used to promote the event can be either or inclusive of the landing page, email campaign, social media post, engaging content, and promotional material etc.

Phase 2

1. List building of speakers

Create a list of potential speakers and reason out why they should be the part of your virtual summit. The speaker categories for our event was divided into two parts one comprised of eminent and motivational speakers (Chetan Bhagat and Sandeep Dutt) in the education industry and the other was our existing clients. You might be thinking why existing clients? They act as a catalyst for other institutes as they showcase how they benefited from the technology and the impact it had on their institute’s growth and productivity.  

2. Screening process

After listing out 50 to 100 names, next step is the screening process. In this process, sort out the most qualified speaker who fits best for your summit. As our event was launched for the global audience, so to bring the diversity, we shelled out the speakers from each geography. But onboarding eminent speakers from outside the country was a no-win, as mostly their time costs quite an amount of money, so to bring melange in our summit we onboard the existing clients as the speakers. After creating a list we screen out the speakers according to our target attendees. But the major hurdle was to onboard the education leaders as speakers on the platform.

3. Outreach & communication

The most effective way to communicate with the speakers is via sending a personalised email on which you can include the basic details about the event such as the aim of the summit, benefits, reasons to attend the event, who is the target audience, date of the event and much more. 

In our summit, the response we got from the existing client speakers was great but after reaching out to EdTech orators we faced some disappointment as the speakers we were hoping to onboard to our summit were charging a high speaking fee, which was quite expected. After 3-4 weeks of outreach emails and calls, we hit the most enthusiastic speakers in EdTech industry.

Phase 3

1. Landing page & Content Planning

Once you are ready with the finalized speakers the next step is to create a great content for an attractive landing page, to gather maximum visitors and potential sign-ups. Key elements to consider while creating a page are:

    • Compelling Headline: Concise, descriptive and attention-grabbing headline which clearly explain what an attendee expects from the event.
    • Effective Media: Such as event promotion video, a collage of speakers which act as a magnet to attract the potential audience.
    • Strong CTA: Clear and compelling call-to-action button. Which showcases they would get a full access to attend the summit after they click a particular button.
    • Lead Capture Form: Form where visitors submit their basic information, but the length of the form should be short just the include the necessary details.
    • Speakers: Headshot of every single speaker along with their name and topic about which they talk about in the summit.
    • Event Details: Nitty-gritty details of the event such as why attend this summit, what would you learn, agenda of the summit, what are the other thing stored in the summit apart from speakers videos.

Below have the screenshot of our virtual summit final landing page:

school operations development virtual summit 2018

2. Promotion on all digital channel

The achievement of an event’s goal relies on the promotion method. As it not only helps in widening the reach and creating a brand awareness for an event but also helps in the lead generation process.

There are various channels through which the event can be promoted such as:

  • Paid promotion
  • Social Media channels
  • Email
  • Event promotion website
  • To gain wider reach of the event and make the post ubiquitous, you can also leverage the Speaker’s digital platform

    3. Lead Magnet

The lead magnet can be used to attract the customers and retain their interest in attending the summit. For our summit as a lead magnet, we used the idea of Masterclass of our product and shared the Future plans of Fedena.

4. No Live interviews, then record the interview

Recording an interviews is a time consuming process therefore after finalizing the speakers, the first step to do is schedule a meeting with the speakers, choose a topic for the interview, prepare the interviews questions, share it with the interviewees so they can prepare themselves, record the interview and finally edit it to make it look more professional.

Phase 4

1. Promote & Execute the summit

Finally comes the event launch week.

One to two week before an event launch, continuously promote the event and send the event joining link through newsletters so that on the day of an event they will not feel hassled and bewildered. When we launched out summit we had some trouble communicating the process of joining the summit, due to which we received several phone calls about how to join the event. But finally we overcome such problems and everything went smoothly thereafter. Hence, as a rule, continuous interaction with your attendees is very crucial.

You can also educate your attendees by doing regular posts on social media, blog posting, publishing posts on speaker’s digital platform and newsletter about the agenda. Make them feel engaged and excited by maintaining proper communication during the event.

Phase 5

1. Follow up

After 1 -2 weeks of an event, send thank you note to your attendees. Our keynote speakers were existing clients so to appreciate their contribution, time and hard work we honoured them with a “Certificate of Appreciation”.

Benefits of Virtual Summit

  • Brand Awareness

Sometimes it becomes very challenging to create a brand awareness for the product for which there are several competitors in the market who are doing the same efforts. But with the help of virtual summit, putting your brand on everybody’s lips become easy, that too at a zero cost expenditure. When recognised & renowned public figures share their opinions then it automatically attracts thousands of people towards your website which helps people start recognizing your brand and this impact remains for a longer time.

  • Lead Generation

Every day marketers perform several kinds of marketing tactics with an aim to generate more and more leads. But generating leads is not always easy and sometimes it costs a good amount of money. But what if you could do the same without spending bucket loads of money to generate important leads. Yes, with the help of virtual summit lead generation become easy and effortless, as the speakers & partners also become the promoters helping by attracting their followers.

  • Revenue Generation

Generally, conversion from prospect to leads and leads to the paid customer takes a lot of steps, but with the effective & impactful interviews of renowned speakers on interesting topics in virtual summit attract lots of qualified leads. As, when the well-known speakers & existing clients share their experience in a form of interviews, it captures the trust of the target audience and eventually increases the chance of conversion.

Recap: How does school management software help institute in saving money?

What is coming next?

I wouldn’t say that our first virtual summit was an astounding success but, it was a great experience and we learned a lot from our mistakes. Therefore, to turn our fruitless journey to fruition, in the coming months we are again coming with another exciting event.

BETTER 2018: EdTech Summit & EXPOThe confluence of education and innovative technology

The main aim of this summit is to bring together school’s decision makers and EdTech leaders, so the institutes can grasp the significance of technology and also envision how can the technological transformations aid towards leading and shaping the future of education system.

Follow the link to know more: https://fedena.com/erp/edtech-summit-expo-better-2018

 

 

school management software helps institute in saving money

How does school management software help institute in saving money?

First and foremost a school management software system can reduce a lot of the paper thus help you save a lot of money that you can spend for other fruitful purposes. With the help of this system, a school can easily stop paper-based processes that are needed for various tasks. Some examples of such tasks would be refund processing and employee reimbursements.

In their stead, a school can come up with paperless choices such as online class registration and electronic billing for paying tuition fees. When you have document management facilities in your school management software you can also lessen the usage of paper in areas such as accounts payable.

In general, with electronic tools such as these at your disposal, you can reduce the amount of printing that you have to do as a school. Apart from paper and printing supplies this way you can save money on postage as well.

Below highlighted the various ways through which school management software helps institute in saving money:

1. Streamlining business procedures

With a good software system for the school, you would be able to streamline your business processes as well. Quite often you may need to hire business process specialists in order to look at ways in which your overall operations can be made more efficient.

It is true that you can save a lot of money that way as well. However, things can get even better if you were to switch to an electronic processor such as the one we are talking about over here. For example, you would be able to streamline processes such as purchase orders, maintenance requests, and payroll to name a few.

Some of the functions that can be performed seamlessly with these systems may be mentioned as below:

  • employee management
  • fee submission
  • payroll management
  • analysis of fee structure and defaulters
  • payroll form creation
  • management of fee payment
  • automatic calculation of loss of pay
  • income and expenditure management
  • payslip generation
  • categorization of income and expenses
  • leave management
  • fee receipt printing
  • payslip approval
  • financial report generation
  • fee classification
  • liability and asset management
  • fee collection date designing system
  • donation management

Apart from these, these systems also help you perform functions such as inventory management and placement at a lot less cost.

2. Special purpose applications

With the help of a top class school management system, you would be able to better manage critical areas of your operation such as food services, textbooks, usage of rooms, school buses, and utilities like electricity and heating and cooling. This way you can save a whole lot of money as well.

3. Reduction in cost of communication

With a top of the line school management software system, you would be able to save a lot of money in the area of communications. For example, you would not need the phone on every desk system that was once the norm in every school in the days gone by. The main reason for this is the fact that these systems use unified communications tools. Examples of such tools would be Skype and voice over internet protocol (VOIP).

They also utilize business processes like setting up communication technologies and centralize the buying process of a school. As most of the IT (information technology) executives working in schools would tell you, the biggest benefit of unified communications is that it is capable of reducing operating costs. At the same time, it leads to better productivity and communication also become a lot more reliable as well. Apart from that, with systems such as these, you can put a phone in every room of your school. This, in turn, can make your school a lot more secure than before.    

These systems come with inbuilt messaging systems and can easily help you send many messages in the shortest span of time to other people who are connected to the same system. This makes it easy for you administrators to have effective communication with all the stakeholders such as teachers, parents, and students. No longer do you need to communicate separately with them – a process that can take up a lot of time and cost you a lot of money as well.

Recap: Why Does Your Institute Need An Attendance Management System?

4. Easy to use systems

The systems that we are talking about over here are very easy to use. They come with facilities like inventive search bars that allows just about anyone to use the software within a few seconds of logging in. It also helps that they have been designed in order to provide a great experience to the users. The interface of these systems is user-friendly and this means that just about anyone with basic knowledge of computers can use these systems. All you need is a little bit of training to operate these systems.

This means that as a school you are not spending a lot of time – and thus money – on training your resources. Since the systems are easy to use you also do not need to hire experts, who are normally costlier, to operate them. This easy to learn and master feature thus makes it convenient for you to save money that you would otherwise incur.   

5. Reducing the cost of admissions

As we all know, admission is a major headache for all schools. There is a lot of data that has to be taken care of and there are plenty of resources that have to be engaged to make sure that the entire process happens without mistakes. In a nutshell, all this costs you plenty of money for sure. However, with these new age school management software systems you can perform all these functions smoothly and save a lot of your resources as well.

Resources, in this case, include your money as well. With these systems, you can create unique IDs for all the applicants, create detailed admission forms, and customize them just about the way you want them. This means that you do not need to use up a lot of your employees, spend a lot of time and money printing forms that could very well have mistakes, and spend a lot of time in managing the entire process.     

 

 

document management system

Why must School ERP have Document Management System?

Does your School ERP System need one?

What is a document management system?

As the name might suggest, a document management system is a feature or plugin helps in managing the institution’s documents. These can range from a student’s homework assignment waiting to be graded by a teacher to confidential report cards being archived for posterity.

Why do we need an online document management system?

In today’s paperless world, documentation is usually electronic in nature. Most students, teachers, and administrators are increasingly shifting away from older filing systems and pen and paper documentation to electronic documentation. Whether it is a presentation, an essay, official records, or fee receipts documentation is unavoidable in an educational institution. Embracing change and moving towards the digital version of this necessary process is the first step towards greater transparency and accountability.

The Advantages of Using a Document Management system

1. Integration with existing school ERP system

Schools are increasingly going digital in every way – from admissions to notes to parents to the way the school curriculum is taught. Is it not time that documentation caught up? Having an electronic copy of paperwork that is easily created, saved, stored, and shared is key to bringing your school into the 21st century. It also means more seamless integration with your existing school ERP system, which means easier one window engagement for all stakeholders.

2. Easier processing

When document management is integrated with your school ERP system it means all-around easier processing. Whether it is filling in of admission forms, issuance of certificates for leaving or transfer, or even sharing of grades and report cards – these processes do not require the use of documents in the physical world. Instead your school ERP system’s document manager handles all of these with ease.

3. Environmentally friendly

Environmental science classes in school keep us well informed about the perishing of our world’s environment – a big portion of this is that we consume and discard paper at an alarming rate. Going paperless is therefore just kinder to our world. Your school ERP system is a big boon in this regard, since it helps digitize many processes including the increased use of electronic documents over paper ones.

4. Greater accessibility

We are all working towards building a more accessible world. Students have differing needs and instead of expecting all of them to conform to rigid and archaic processes, why not embrace assistive technology in a meaningful way? Document managers empower students with various challenges to access materials that might have been out of reach. Electronic documents are now easily processed by text to speech programs, image readers for the visually challenged, or even those who use assistive devices to read. Your school ERP system does not just cater to the model student, but every student, empowering them to maximise their potential and create the kind of world we all can thrive in.

Integrating document managers into your School ERP System

Why not just use existing document managers? What is the point of integrating it into your school ERP system? A simple reason is that it makes logical sense on many fronts – from ease of access to security. Having a secure platform through which multiple stakeholders can access relevant documents in a productive fashion is a boon to any school. A school ERP system makes this possible in the easiest way.

Know more: How it Works: Document Manager plugin by Fedena

The Fedena School ERP System Advantage

Okay, you are convinced about the advantages of a document manager integration into your school ERP system. But what is the Fedena school ERP system advantage? Fedena allows you to really maximise your use of a document manager for all your school needs, whether you are a student, teacher, management or non-educational staff. Find out more here.

technology in the classroom

Technology in The Classroom: Decoding the Pros and Cons

Technology can often be compared to a double-edged sword. It can be leveraged as a powerful tool to educate, liberate and illuminate people, but if not used well, the same tools of technology can distract people, veering them away from their goals and aims. Similarly, in a classroom, introducing technology to students has many pros and cons. While on one hand, many experts believe that technology allows educators to personalise, adapt and experiment in pedagogy, on the other hand, technology in the classroom can be distracting to the students and adds to the increased screen time of students.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the pros and cons of having technology in the classroom

Pros:

Experiment with pedagogy

Technology creates an environment that allows students and teachers to actively learn through a variety of pedagogy. From videos to online polls and virtual trips, the use of technology gives teachers unlimited access to free digital tools and resources that will help to make the subject more relevant to students and engage them better for long-term learning.

Immediate access to the latest information

Introducing technology in the classroom gives students access to information that is up-to-date. Instead of relying on obsolete textbooks, in a technology-driven classroom, there is a collaborative learning environment where students work together to share information together and access the most relevant and efficient information.

Automates monotonous tasks

Using technology in the classroom is an effective way to save teachers and school staff from the boredom of monotonous tasks and save time on repetitive tasks. Using technology, teachers can grade online assignments, take attendance, plan lessons as well as send out regular messages to parents about their children. Using the school ERP system gives teachers a variety of tools and resources and frees up their time to instead focus on teaching better in the classroom.

Students learn an essential life skill

Today, we live in a digital world, and getting familiar with technology is an essential life skill. One of the most important goals of a school is to train the kids for adult life. Giving students opportunities to interact and engage with social media tools and technology is a great way to prepare students to be the future citizens of a digital world without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed

Makes student independent learners

Technology also enables students to be independent learners where teachers could assign collaborative tasks and encourage them to complete them using technology. In this case, instead of spoon feeding the information to the students, they learn to leverage digital tools to get the academic queries resolved and learn of their own.

Cons:

Technology can be a distraction

As often seen in the real world, technology in the classroom can often be a distraction for students. The online world is filled with ads, games and other forms of distraction that can veer students away from the task at hand. The best way to combat this is by setting up strict rules and regulations when accessing online tools. This can ensure that technology does not interfere with education but only aids learning

Too much screen time

Many parents and teachers fear that introducing technology in the classroom will lead too much screen time for students. Some people believe that staring at a screen during school hours simply compounds an already existing problem where children use screen stimulation for learning and entertainment. This screen time can not only be detrimental to the eyesight of the kids but can lead to mental exhaustion as well.

The only way to counter this is by setting in place strict timelines on the number of hours students use a device and compensating that with outdoor play and learning

Recap:  Why We Need Digital Signage in Schools

Technology can foster cheating

Cheating in assignments and exams is not a new phenomenon, but the use the technology makes it easier for students to copy-paste someone else’s work, or to simply steal essays and assignment ideas from other students.

To counter this problem, teachers could work towards structuring assignments and exams in a way that makes cheating impossible. Many schools offer open book exams, where the focus of the examination is problem-solving and mastery rather than rote learning and retention.

Lack of human connection

There are many who feel that technology can create a classroom environment devoid of human connection. As each student concentrates and works on their device, the classroom can turn into an anti-social place as there will be limited interaction between peers,

However, with adequate care and emphasis on peer-to-peer connection, this too can be resolved

Promotes inequality in the classroom

While education brings students closer together, technology in the classroom can make students aware of their socio-economic status as not every student can easily afford smart devices and laptops. This can lead to a divide in the classroom.

The verdict

While there are plenty of pros and cons for introducing technology into the classroom, schools need to work towards setting and creating guides to ensure that students do not abuse digital media in the classroom.

The world is evolving towards becoming a hyper-connected digital place and the correct use of technology in the classroom with adequate supervision can ensure that the students learn better. The use of technology and school management system not only benefits the students, but it streamlines various tasks and processes for the teachers, making education less stressful and more enjoyable

digital signage in schools

Why We Need Digital Signage in Schools

Is digital signage in schools worth the investment?

Communications and Community in School

Schools are not just a room with a roof where students go to take steps – for these young scholars, school is their entire world. School is not an avenue in which one way information dissemination takes place. Schools have a huge impact on our personalities, outlook and often are the foundation to our future selves.

Schools thus play a key role in shaping who we are. A large portion of this is done through the sense of community a school builds. With multiple moving parts, stakeholders, and new crises everyday, this community-building aspect of the school to student relationship often takes last priority. Communications is not given much thought even though it is the very tool by which this community is built.

What does this look like in our schools?

It looks like lacklustre efforts towards outreach, ineffective community building attempts, and an overall missing sense of camaraderie between schools. Once students graduate this looks like a lack of loyalty or that missing school spirit. A sad turn of affairs to be sure.

What would successful communications look like instead? It would be outreach that is relevant, personalised and engaging. These are not anonymous notes tacked up on a bulletin board that everyone ends up ignoring. Nor are they monotonous school announcements that just become white noise over the course of the school year. Instead, they are dynamic, engaging and meaningful to students, making them feel more than just cogs in the educational machine.

Effective communications results in a sense of well-being and belonging for each students – whether it’s because they have received information that is helpful to them in their scholarly pursuits or they have finally discovered a community or hobby group that makes them feel at home.

What is traditional signage?

You have seen signage all your life, even if you do not realise it. In your school, this would look like a poster for annual day put up in the public bulletin board. It’s the weekly schedule put up in your classroom pinboard that informed students about what subject periods were coming up next. It could be a sign-up sheet for the school play.

What is digital signage?

Very simply put, digital signage is this very form of communication, but in digital form using newer technology. Digital signage can be a screen that displays text, videos, a slideshow, dynamic announcements or even something more interactive, using newer tools like touchscreen and voice recognition. Schools are only limited by technological capabilities.

Why do we need digital signage? Isn’t traditional signage enough?

With the advent of newer technologies, engagement with a viewer has completely revolutionised. Studies show that traditional methods (such as a chart paper announcement for an upcoming school debate) does not seem to resonate with students as much – leaving efforts in building a school community go to waste.

Recap:  Top 10 TED Talks in education

What are the advantages of digital signage in schools?

Dynamic Design

Digital signage can be infinitely more dynamic than static traditional signage simply by virtue of how it works. A presentation with dynamic characters, video, and viewer interaction is likely to create a lasting impact, unlike something boring that students would just end up ignoring.

Long lasting

Unlike the wear and tear traditional paper signage naturally go through, digital signage lasts as long as the lights are on and the bills are paid. There is no wear and tear of the actual material in digital signage and their shelf life is quite long.

Environmentally friendly and cost-effective

Unlike paper signs that can rarely be reused and involve a lot of overheads and wastage, digital signage doesn’t rely on a finite resource like paper or trees for raw material. Digital signage is a one time investment that can be used over and over for a variety of purposes. No need to tear down and throw away traditional signage every time it is no longer relevant – instead just play the next video.

More Visually Impactful

Research shows us that the younger generation is no longer engaged by traditional pen and paper. Instead visuals like photos and videos are more likely to capture their imagination. It does not just end with their interest, however. What also matters is recall of the content they have just consumed – which is most definitely better with dynamic digital signage rather than traditional methods.

Builds student skills

It cannot be denied that we are firmly living in a digital world. Computers and how to really use them are no longer just an option in the workplace. And what is a school doing but prep its scholars for the working world? Digital signage in schools gives students an opportunity to experiment and create information that must be effectively communicated to their peers. It helps them understand not just the creative process, but also the technical methodologies of information communication. These are invaluable skills every scholar must acquire as soon as possible. So why not start them off young with digital signage?

Creates business opportunities

Schools have a captive audience of young thinkers and trendsetters that a lot of businesses are eager to capture. Digital signage can also become a revenue source for an educational institution. Partnering with brands and services to display their content on school digital signage would be a low hanging fruit for funding that schools can easily capture. A word of caution here: while the potential for funding here is high, schools have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the content they allow on school campus is useful, relevant and not exploitative of their charges. For example, advertising sugary soda to a young population that is still learning how to build nutritious eating habits is unethical. However, advertising external tutoring support or one-on-one counseling services available locally to students who might be seeking that kind of mentorship and support is useful. Monetising digital signage in schools is all about walking that fine line well.

ted talks in education

Top 10 TED Talks in education

We all know that Ted Talks are the most influencing and inspiring videos by the eminent speakers from various industry but when it comes to education  the following talks by inspiring teachers hits first in the mind: 

 This featured Rita Pierson. She has been a teacher for around forty years. She had once heard a co-worker saying that she or he was not paid enough to like the kids. Her answer was simple – kids never learn from the people that they do not like. This was a clarion call of sorts to educators so that they would have greater faith in the students and also unite with them on many levels – real, personal, and human. Pierson is a noted educator who has devoted her life to classrooms.

In fact, her grandparents and parents happened to be educators as well and thus can it be said that Pierson followed them into this world. This particular talk was featured at TED Talks Education. What she has said stands true for education in general and teaching in specific.

Christopher Emdin happens to be a science advocate and employs hip-hop, a form of music, in order to make teachers better at their work. He has an interesting take on education that he shared at this talk delivered at TED@NYC.

Emdin says that there is something common between rap shows, Sunday services, and the banter that is exchanged at barbershops. He feels that they all have the unique capability to teach and yet enthral people at the same time. Emdin says that this is one skill that is not necessarily taught to educators even in this day and age. He has been a teacher for long and has cofounded Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. along with GZA, who happens to be a member of the well-known rap group known as Wu-Tang Clan. In this particular TED Talk, he shares his vision of how classrooms can be made alive. 

In this TED Talk delivered at TEDWomen 2015, Cliatt-Wayman discusses how she resurrected a high school based in North Philadelphia. During her first day in office as principal, she was pretty adamant that she would lay down a few laws that she believed would help the school gain back lost ground. However, soon enough she found out that it was easier said than done as the job was fairly complex. In fact, it was a lot more complex than what she had bargained for.

This talk reveals her passion for her school in a rather evident manner. Here she shares the three principles that she used in order to turn around the fortune of three schools that she was entrusted with. These schools had been labelled persistently dangerous and low performing.   

At the TEDxBeaconStreet, an event organized by volunteers, Tyler DeWitt, a science teacher at the high school level, discussed what science teachers needed to do in order to make their lessons more entertaining and thus easier for students to relate to and learn.

He starts off by saying how once he had created a lesson plan on bacteria and was absolutely ecstatic about it. However, to his utter horror, DeWitt discovered that his students had not shared the same feelings about the lesson plan, to put it mildly. The main issue here was with the textbook. It was really hard for students to understand it. In this particular TED Talk, DeWitt shares some great thoughts including asking teachers to stop being precise and stop including technical terms, which are hard to understand, in their classes. Instead, he asks them to look at ways such as demonstrations and stories to make it more interesting for students.

Dan Meyer, an educator, delivered this particular TED Talk at the TEDxNYED. Here he discusses the critical state of present-day math education by discussing how the curriculum is expecting that the students would learn and then become great at what he terms paint by numbers class work. This he feels is taking an important area from kids – skill. It is the skill that is so much more important than merely teaching students how to solve problems.

It is skill, which according to Meyer, is also a lot more important than merely formulating math problems. In this talk, Meyer also comes up with a number of math exercises that have been tested in classrooms and encourage students to take time out, think, and find their way out of problems.

Recap:  Simple Guidelines To Improve Teaching Quality and Effectiveness In The Classroom

Ramsey Musallam, an educator, delivered this TED Talk at TED Talks Education. Musallam had been a high school chemistry teacher for 10 years before he suffered a condition that threatened his very life. It was this very condition that forced him to evaluate what he thought was a period of pseudo teaching.

It was through this life-changing experience that he came to understand what the true role of an educator was supposed to be. It was supposed to encourage a sense of curiosity among students. This talk was a personal one as it was fun filled. It was here that Musallam shared his 3 rules for sparking the drive to learn and imagine among students. They were also supposed to help students get excited about the various ways in which the world worked. Important to this discussion was the use of means such as new technology and multimedia.

Delivered at TEDWomen 2015 this Talk by Sakena Yacoobi discussed how she saved every girl’s school in Afghanistan from being shut down by the Taliban. After the Islamic militant group had shut down all these schools, Yacoobi established new schools but all of them in secret. This was how she was able to educate not only thousands of women but an almost similar number of men as well. This talk was at the same time funny and fierce.

She also shares a couple of exhilarating stories where she was threatened with ultimatums so that she would stop teaching. Here Yacoobi also shared her vision of how she hopes to rebuild her motherland. The institute set up by this education activist is named the Afghan Institute of Learning.

This TED Talk was delivered at TEDxManhattan. Ritz happens to be a really energetic person who always happens to be full of ideas. He also happens to be a teacher at a school in South Bronx, a really tough region in New York. In fact, he is a specialist in teaching at-risk kids in this part of the city.

It is here that Ritz and his kids grow gardens that are as lush as they come with the aim of providing greenery, food, and jobs. This talk is more than about just education. Here he discusses a whole lot of ways in which you can create hope in your neighbourhood – one that has been written off as a no-hoper by others – or in any such neighbourhood for that matter. It is just that he goes too fast and you have to keep up with him. 

This talk was delivered at TED Talks Live. She genuinely believes in the fact that kids are the future of the world and it is very important for them to have faith in themselves. This is the reason why she started the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, which can be called an academic oasis of sorts. It is located at Brownsville in Brooklyn. This happens to be one of the neighbourhoods in New York that sees the highest rates of violence and receives the least amount of service.

She believes that every child is full of capabilities and is brilliant in her or his own way. This talk is short but is energizing, to say the least. Lopez also happens to be a star of the Humans of New York. In this talk, she describes how she helps the scholars think of a better future.

This TED Talk was delivered at TEDxMidAtlantic. In this talk, Laufenberg shares three things that she has learned regarding teaching. Suffice to say, these ideas are rather surprising. One of them is a rather key insight into how people can learn from mistakes.

Laufenberg has been an educator for more than 15 years now. She has been a secondary social studies teacher in areas such as Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. Here Laufenberg says that the knowledge she has acquired in her career is related to kids as well and she wishes that more people are able to understand them. In this discussion, she talks about how access to learning and information has changed over generations citing the example of her grandmother and her father to strengthen her opinions.   

improve teaching quality

Simple Guidelines To Improve Teaching Quality and Effectiveness In The Classroom

Today, we live and function in a digital era where students are constantly exposed to the latest trends in technology and media. When teaching these new-age students, it becomes important for teachers to be flexible and find new ways to improve their teaching quality. This not only helps them to be more effective in the classroom but will help their students learn and retain the information in a better way.

Let us look at a few ways that teachers can execute to improve their teaching quality in the classroom:

Introduce technology in the classroom

The modern teacher looking for new ways to engage with their students must be innovative and explore using technologies that appeal to the students. This does not necessarily mean large investments in screens and apps. Instead, teachers can use videos, digital games, free online resources and digital tools that can be easily implemented in their classroom. Young students are more adept with technological skills, so by integrating technology into the classroom, you will instantly help your students learn better and faster.

Personalise the learning experience for the students

One of the most effective ways to teach is to personalise the learning experience to meet the needs of each individual learner. While one-on-one instruction geared toward the strengths and challenges of each student has been the most idyllic teaching goal across ages, the various technological advances have finally allowed it to become an easily attainable reality in the classroom.

Personalized learning combines face-to-face teaching with technology-assisted instruction and student collaboration to leverage each student’s learning style and interests. The final aim is to create a stimulating learning experience for all involved.

Involve Parents in The Classroom

The best teachers do not teach in isolation, but they work with the students, keeping parents involved and informed at all times. One of the best ways, to do this is with the use of school ERP systems to keep the parents updated on their ward’s performance. You can also use the school management apps, to recruit parents to be part of the teaching system, thus making the parents more involved in schools and classroom

Recap:  The Role of School Management Software in Student Privacy & Data Security

Empower students to be active learners

One of the best ways to improve the quality of teaching in a classroom is for the teacher is to guide students to be active learners rather than simply be spectators. Active learning can best be described as a process when students engage with the material, participate in the class, and collaborate with each other as part of the learning process.  Teachers should, therefore, look at ways to facilitate independent, critical, and creative thinking by using active learning techniques. These include student collaboration, asking students to analyse case studies, debates and discussing new ideas both during lectures and homework.

Today, there is an added impetus and pressure on teachers to change their techniques of teaching to help foster an era of new learning, essential to tackle complex global challenges.

Is your classroom ready for the future?

parents expect from school

Top 10 things the parents expect from the school

The first thing that parents expect from the school is the happiness of their children. It is very important that the school is able to create an environment where learning is encouraged. This also means that children should fall in love with the very idea of learning itself. This prompts them to want to learn at all times.

Here are the top 9 things parents expect from the schools:

The quality of teaching should be high

As far as parents are concerned this is the second most important item on their wish list from a school. The teachers should be wonderful. They should know what they are teaching and should have an idea of how it should be taught as well.

The curriculum

For parents, it’s also important that the curriculum is to be a good one. Parents nowadays are very concerned about what their kids are learning and what is the process they follow in their learning structure. The course’s structure should be in such a way that the kid’s considered it competitive and to sustain their recognition in such competition they work too hard.

The expenses

In this day and age, this happens to be an important consideration as well. It might not be the most important consideration for most but it definitely has its own weight in the scheme of things. The good things are that these days parents do have a lot more options in this regard.

The sports program

For a lot of parents now sports are fairly important. It is supposed to keep their kids fit and healthy. As long as schools had various options to choose from in this regard the parents are happy. However, for parents with athletic kids, this is an important priority nowadays.

The extracurricular activities

As far as parents these days are concerned extracurricular activities are really important. These activities do play a major role in helping build team spirit among students and bring out talents and capabilities that even the students are not aware of.

The facilities on offer

As far as preschools are concerned parents want compact spaces. The rooms should ideally be spotless and they should be full of artwork as well. The classrooms should also be big enough for the small students that would populate them. In the high schools, the facilities should be as good as the colleges if not better.

Recap:  Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) To The Classroom!

The libraries

These days, the libraries should be nothing short of state of the art centres for digital learning. They should have all the right tools that help it make easy for students to do research.

The role played by parents

The schools should facilitate the active involvement of parents in the development of their kids. This is something that parents want very dearly these days. The school should let them pitch in with their ideas that help them contribute to the development of their kids.

The school’s reputation

This is highly important for the parents and there are several reasons for the same. If the school has operated for years and ran programs that have proven to be successful over the years it is a great thing for the parents. They would know that their kids are in great hands.    

bring your own device

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) To The Classroom!

How would it look in your classroom?

What is Bring Your Own Device or BYOD?

As the name might suggest, Bring Your Own Device is an education policy per which students are allowed to bring their own personal tech device to school to use in school or curriculum related activities. Something as simple as bringing your personal laptop that you use at home to work on a classroom assignment would count under your school’s Bring Your Own Device policy.

This policy was seen in Information Technology departments in corporates previously – where instead of banning personal mobile phones or laptops or tablets, offices instead embraced the use of these devices in the workplace in a regulated manner.

An obvious benefit of the Bring Your Own Device policy for educational institutions hesitant to embrace it is the reduction in infrastructure and technological costs. Students who are able to fund and use their own devices are able to do so safely under this policy, while limited funds are allocated to providing them to students who cannot.

Why should you Bring Your Own Device?

Detractors of this policy will point to the obvious security issue that arises when personal devices are allowed on campus at a school. And this is a good apprehension to have! Students personal safety and informational security is of the utmost concern for an educational institution. Not to mention the extensive personnel records, student records containing location and contact information, and other education-related information educational institutions store and provide access to.

However, it is poor long-term thinking to adopt an avoidance policy towards the use of such devices. We are living in a technologically driven world where increasingly – even in India – people’s digital identity is key to gaining access to services and information. To eliminate devices entirely is unfeasible.

Recap:  Why should an admission management system be part of your institution this academic year?

The Bring Your Own Device policy offers a compromise by which the use of such devices are regulated and monitored for ideal usage. After security measures are implemented and processes for breaches are put in place, a majority of devices will be used in a non-malicious manner. It also helps teach younger generations about digital security and healthy use of technology at an early age. A double win for any educational institution that seeks to produce technologically adept learners ready for the real world.

Things to Remember Before You Bring Your Own Device to the Classroom

To start with, there is the establishment of ground rules for the use of devices in the classroom and out of it. In addition to school policy, it is advisable to implement a classroom level policy for their use. This could be ranging from courteous usage (turning off sound and ringers) to integrating the use of device into the curriculum, as seen with learning management systems that often offer added content that is dynamic in nature and runs congruent to the syllabus in the subject’s curriculum.

Second would be to establish which devices are allowed and not allowed. It is obvious that a gaming device would not contribute much to a student’s learning, barring specific use cases. A tablet, however, enables the sharpening of quick research skills, use of open source learning content, and a general familiarity with techniques and tools that your student would need in college or in the working world.

Finally, creating curriculums and infrastructure that support and promote the use of these devices enable a safe and easy experience with them. It is necessary to have buy-in from all stakeholders in order to ensure seamless and productive usage of the device that has been brought into the classroom.

Teachers vs technology

Teachers vs Technology: Can Technology Replace Teachers?

The role of education technology is continuously expanding – from projectors from the early days to smart boards that enable increased interaction between teacher and students in the classroom. We are saying various aspects of education technology becoming an inherent part of the educational experience for students, teachers, parents, and management alike.

There are, of course, casualties. The primary one of these is the elimination of now obsolete job roles that have been taken over by a piece of technology. For instance, the work of an accounts department is largely automated by your school management software, like Fedena. This platform allows for the generation of fee structures that are tailored to individual students, raise dues, and generate invoices, taking into account various conditions that might be imposed on a student by student basis. Using a school management software reduces the amount of human effort to be put in, in addition to reducing the human rate of error.

But does this extend to teachers? With the advent of machine learning, natural language processing, and robots that are lifelike in a way never before seen, how far away are we from an automated teacher?Let us begin by taking a step back.

What is the role of a teacher?

It is not merely to teach, but to provide an education. There is an art to imparting knowledge to students that current technology is nowhere close to mastering. Educational technologies are currently aiding teachers in their work, not completely taking over them. They are tools, not replacements.

Recap: What Is The Future Of School Management Software Apps In Institutions?

We can use school management software to collect data on student learning patterns, check for the efficacy of a new learning method, or just make the teaching experience more holistic and continual by using technology to facilitate engagement. These certainly enhance the teaching experience (and the learning experience) for students, however, they are not comprehensive enough to completely take over the task.

Teachers do more than just the one-way task of instructing a student. They identify social cues that would be impossible for a machine to parse, especially non-verbal or invisible interactions, that affect the learning experience. They help identify roadblocks for students that might be more personal or emotional in nature, that a machine cannot pick up on. They help to contextualise lessons in real time, which might not be possible for a piece of technology to do. Think back to your favourite teacher – did you enjoy her teaching because of her infallible library of knowledge or because of how she made the subject she taught come alive for you? The human connection is necessary for something as key as the act of learning.

Instead of asking whether technology has reached a point where it can replace human teachers, we must ask what aspects of the job it can take over to make their lives easier. Teachers world over are overburdened – they take on a caring role in a parent’s stead, they advocate for students who might be otherwise forgotten, and they shape a nation’s future early on. Instead of merely remembering them on a designated day (Teacher’s Day cards are appreciable but not game-changing) we should perhaps be focusing on building technology that aids them in these efforts. School management systems already perform these roles in different ways. They help teachers open up communication channels with students and parents. Teachers are able to stay better organised and on top of their game with reduced time and effort investment thanks to the superior organisational and processing capabilities of their school management software. Education technologies can help enhance teaching methods by making existing content more dynamic or helping teachers create fresher content that was previously out of their reach due to budgetary and technological constraints. Technology must be built to enable teachers, not replace them.

enhance teaching quality with learning analytics

Enhance The Quality of Your Teaching With Learning Analytics

Learning analytics will help shape your student’s progress

Teaching and learning technology is progressing at a rapid rate in 2018. In today’s educational ecosystem, if you are not adept at using technology in the classroom, you will be left behind. This is evident from the increased role of personalised education to tools that bring quality education to far-flung reaches of our world.

But what about analytics?

Are we using data analytics and the learnings they give us well?

Is this information really trickling down to whom it matters the most? Let’s find out.

What is Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics are the collection, analyses, and reporting of data around learning, learning outcomes and any contexts in which learning takes place. This can mean simple metrics that test absorption of class material by students to deep studies that test various learning techniques and tools being implemented in the classroom. It is a combination of many fields of study – from statistics to data analytics, business intelligence, operational intelligence, data mining, artificial intelligence, etc. The end goal is to see what we can learn about learning in order to improve it.

What are the benefits of Learning Analytics?

In short, learning analytics help understand the process of learning better. We are not relying on views that might be influenced by unconscious bias or coloured by personal perspectives but on hard data. This means the decisions we take for future teaching and learning are not based on perceptions but on statistics. We are likely to thus see better outcomes as a result.

Recap: School ERP system to manage the library automation

What ways does it help us?

Teachers are better able to predict student progress, by identifying students who are at risk for failing or dropping out. They are also able to identify paths to success to guide students towards, all based on evidence.

Teachers are also able to personalise learning to students. A simple example of this would be to see the efficacy of visual learning versus tactile learnings for two different students – based on outcomes of a tested technique, you are able to apply more efficient learning techniques on a student level.

Administrators and management are able to put metrics to the learning taking place in their school. Instead of just vaguely classifying how well students in their school are learning, stakeholders can instead rely on a dashboard that provides a visual representation of this data to better support their educational claims to the external ecosystem.

How would this impact your students?

Relying on learning analytics helps teachers, administrators, and management make informed choices in terms of the learning and teaching techniques they are implementing at their educational institutions. Using data gleaned from learning analytics helps stakeholders ensure that they are making evidence-based decisions that impact students.

In turn, these decisions help shape student progress. Based on reliable data, they experience micro or macro shifts in teaching that are more impactful in helping them achieve learning outcomes. This means that they are experiencing data-driven teaching – proven methodologies that are tested and retested on a continual basis for their efficacy and impact.

Students can thus reliably expect their school to help them learn about the world, meet learning goals, and be prepared for their future educational and professional careers. When they run into roadblocks, they can rely on hard data for a solution to help them overcome their difficulties. When applying for future positions, they can also rely on this data to provide evidence for their achievements and areas where they could improve, resulting in a continual self-improvement cycle.

tackle stress during examination time

Top 10 ways to tackle stress during examination time

How to make taking exams a less nerve-wracking aspect of your life

Everyone remembers the special experience of taking exams. Even though most adults are veterans of the process, it still strikes fear into the hearts of many. The proof is in the pudding – grown-ups still get nervous about interviews, that are nothing but exams for adults, after all!

Besides, which one of us has not had an exam related nightmare?

Whether you are waking up shaken from a bad dream about being back in school and unprepared for a test or you are just glad that you are done with that part of your life, exam stress is a familiar experience for us all.

So, does exam stress still persist for the new generation?

One can argue that it is worse than before. All of us have heard stories about stringent admissions requirements, where a near perfect score is not enough to get you a seat in a good college. If this is how outlandish it might seem to an adult, imagine what it is doing to our children. Newspaper headlines and ground realities are likely to strike fear in any student’s heart. It’s no wonder that children today are dealing with greater exam stress than ever. Mounting mental health issues amongst students and the stakes being raised year after year do not make things easier.

So what are some quick tips to bust exam stress?

Below we share some that are tried and tested, and some that are a bit more new age. Share these with the students in your life today!

Eat nutritiously

When it comes to what is best for our health, our mothers were always right. The maxim “A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body” definitely holds true here. While the temptation to indulge yourself and snack on sweets or chips runs strong especially during exam time, we urge you to resist. Instead, reach for a banana or some nuts – these are both brain foods that will satiate hunger, combat stress eating and fuel your brain.

Get enough sleep

As was the case with eating junk food, students tend to give us sleep for extra study hours. This might seem like a sensible compromise – why not pack in a few more hours of cramming which you can then make up for with a marathon sleep session after the exam? We have an answer. A lack of sleep impairs recall, cognitive function and just does not put you in a good mental space to give an exam. You are more likely to make silly mistakes, in short. Not something you want happening during an exam where every mark counts, right?

Create a schedule

It might seem overwhelming to some or just pointless to others but creating a schedule should be the first step to any serious exam preparation. Why? Because creating a study schedule forces you to evaluate the quantum of work you have left on your plate. It is an opportunity to assess how far you have come in your studying and how far you have to go. It also gives the most realistic assessment of the number of hours you need to be able to cover your syllabus for that upcoming exam. Being well prepared is step one to winning the battle – to get to schedule!

Recap:  Is school management software a worthy investment to increase your ROI?

Use revision tools

Poring over the fine print by the light of tube light sounds boring on paper, so why would it be any less engaging in real life? Research shows that creating notes are one of the best tools to encourage recall during your examination. Whether it is flashcards or post-it notes or mnemonic devices, revision tools are your friend. But these seem a little old school to younger students – when you have school ERP software that allows you to take a look at your class notes from anywhere at any time or share your new tips with your fellow classmates, it results in crowdsourcing of revision tools. A win-win for everyone!

Ask for help (teachers)

No matter how late in the day it may seem and no matter how silly your doubt may be… just ask! Your teachers, parents, and even your friends at school are here to help you. It is literally their job. So do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance. Having a school ERP that allows one on one, private, secure communication between each of these stakeholders in addition to students make these easier. It also allows setting up of special interest groups that can help with peer learning via group discussion. Removing any barriers in communications just means added learning!

Exercise

Don’t worry – we hate forced exercise too. Why go out for a sweaty run when you can instead shut your brain off and play a game on your PlayStation? It is because data shows that exercise actually helps us think better. Yes, it is not just about keeping your body in shape, but also your mind sharp. Besides, it is a great stress buster. Try it – let your mind wander during a walk or process some frustration when you lift some weights at the gym. You will start noticing you are more centred, focus more easily, and just feel more agile and nimble in mind and body as exams approach.

Reward yourself

Great – you have eaten nutritiously, walked to clear your mind a little, and even got a full eight hours of sleep. All this on top of exam revision! This just means time for more revision, right? Not necessarily. If you are feeling good about how much you have accomplished (this is where a schedule comes in handy – measure yourself against pre-set goals), why not reward yourself. Do not fatigue your brain too much while studying your exams. Instead, spend time with family and friends discussing what’s going on in the world or immerse yourself in a good show or book to relax your mind. You deserve it. Good luck on your exams!