Educational software is a massive, global term used to refer to any software designed for use in the education industry. The phrase encompasses everything from student information systems and classroom management software to reference management and foreign language learning software.
All of it, however, is used with the aim of making some aspect of the education industry more efficient or more effective. Schools have a reputation as one of the last places to adopt technology, but as digital transformation has led to the rebuilding and reorganization of industries across sectors, they have also begun to accept the inevitable. Almost all educational institutions use some form of educational software and it will become ubiquitous as the number of solutions and the range of capabilities of those solutions increases.
The scope of tools in the education industry is expanding, particularly with the influx of artificial intelligence software and private sector recognition of the enormous potential associated with developing education-specific software.
Why use educational software?
Educational software has several advantages for educators, managers, students, and parents. Solutions in these categories provide users with a host of benefits, from better content visibility and distribution to analytics and better communication channels. Intelligent content, improved communication, data and information consolidation, and improved effectiveness and efficiency are all benefits that come with implementing educational software.
Smarter content: Educational software could completely change the way content is produced and delivered to students. Artificial intelligence skills combined with digital content can deliver information that is tailored to the experience levels of learners. Different generations of students can easily modify, share and reuse this “smart” content. Digital content contains the added benefit of teacher supervision and often includes embedded assessments that teachers can use to assess and track student outcomes.
Teacher-Parent-Student Communication: Clear communication between teachers, parents, and students is vital to the learning process. There needs to be a strong level of respect and trust to properly educate students. Through forums, portals and other interactive features, educational software and applications support the development of strong relationships between all parties. Parents and students have tools that promote easy communication between them, teachers, and administrators.
Clear and efficient communication channels facilitate understanding between disparate parties that might otherwise be isolated. Students can ask teachers questions to clarify ambiguities regarding course material and grading methods, and parents can get a clear window into their child’s performance.
Information consolidation: A variety of educational software programs are created to compile relevant data into a single location. All relevant data can be combined in a single program for better tracking and more accurate information extraction. These insights can be used by administrators and education specialists to inform both higher level administrative policies and lower-level instructional strategies.
Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness: The goal of any institution is to become more efficient and effective, and educational software helps organizations achieve these goals. Teachers can use resources like classroom management software to limit distractions and improve focus on course material. Managers can take advantage of the insights provided by information systems to shape management and policy decisions. Educational software also saves administrators and teachers a ton of time on administrative tasks like grading and gives them the opportunity to find more creative ways to improve their respective results.
Better learning environment: Education professionals are tasked with ensuring that students understand class material. The number of educational apps available and the breadth of functionality they cover together provide educators with the tools to create the best possible learning environment for their students. That can take the form of digital materials supplemented by AR/VR software in the classroom, the use of a learning management system, classroom management tools designed to keep students focused, or something else entirely. Teachers adapt their classrooms and alter their teaching styles according to the needs of each group of students. By offering tools that can be adapted to all kinds of learning, educational software helps teachers change their learning environments.
Who uses the learning software?
Teachers, students, parents and school officials make up the main groups of users of educational software. Each group makes use of instructional tools to enhance learning, reduce waste, and promote communication. Most educational software is designed for administrators and teachers to create content, share lessons, manage classrooms, and host school and student related data. Students use solutions in some categories to consume curated content and lesson plans, take tests, and study. Parents take advantage of the connection with administrators and teachers who provide these tools, to make sure their child is getting the help they need and to stay on top of their student’s performance.
Trends related to educational software
AR/VR for Classroom Use: Augmented reality and virtual reality technology are constantly improving. Vendors have started creating apps especially for the education sector as they become more accessible and popular. Teachers can use virtual reality headsets to provide additional reinforcement for difficult concepts, supplement regular teaching materials, or simply introduce interesting technology that students will find fascinating. AR/VR has the potential to revolutionize the classroom, giving teachers a tool they can use to drive home deep understanding and retention of subject material.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in the classroom: There are a variety of possible uses for AI in the classroom. Artificially Intelligent Teaching Assistants (AITAs) are used in certain classrooms to relieve some of the workload on regular teachers and teaching assistants. These digital teaching assistants handle student questions that normally take educators hours to solve. As these AITAs are machine learning applications, the more questions they handle and the broader the scope of the topics they cover, the more accurate they become. Teachers can then use the additional hours freed up by these apps to focus on real value-added tasks.
Digital Materials: Digital transformation has taken over the classroom, as schools look to adopt digital teaching materials. Digital versions of materials are much easier to modify and distribute, and can be integrated with additional features to help students learn. These materials include assessments, which can be scored and analyzed by AI graders, saving teachers valuable time.
Potential problems with educational software
Privacy: One of the biggest issues facing the educational software industry is privacy. The increased use of software in the education sector means that educational institutions collect and host more information. Particularly in K-12 institutions, parents and communities raise privacy concerns that they do not want every bit of information about their students collected, reviewed, and analyzed. As artificial intelligence makes its way into the classroom and the Internet of Things (IoT) collects and transmits information about everything that happens inside the classroom, the question is how much data a school has the right to collect. Does the fact that something is possible mean that it must be done? When it comes to minors, do they have any privacy rights or do they belong to the parents? Should students choose to share data or opt out? All of these queries will have their answers in the coming years as educational software and technology continue to develop and shake up the market.
Security: The more data and information an organization has on file, the more attractive the prospect of stealing that information becomes to bad actors. While schools may not have the most valuable information in the world, payment details and identity-related information, as well as students’ sensitive personal information, may be on file. For this reason, security is paramount in educational software. Although security is not typically emphasized in educational software, this may change as more sensitive data is stored in applications from educational institutions.
Distraction: As technology in the classroom becomes ubiquitous, one of the main issues becomes the possibility of distraction. Students armed with tablets and other internet-connected devices are easily distracted and fail to focus on subject matter during class. The solution to this problem? Implement classroom management software, which allows teachers to monitor and block students from using certain websites. Classroom management has become a comprehensive tool that allows teachers to ensure that their students are focused on their tasks.
Incorrect Implementation: While this is a problem in every industry, one of the most obvious potential problems for educational software is incorrect software selection and implementation. Included in the implementation is proper training for the employees who will be using the software, which is often overlooked in educational institutions that do not have enough dedicated IT staff. If the wrong software is selected or implemented incorrectly, and the institution and its employees have no idea how to properly take advantage of the features the application offers, problems are likely to arise in the future. Making sure there is a strict screening and selection procedure, proper installation, and top-notch training available to the staff who will be using the program are the best ways to avoid these issues.
Popular Educational Software Categories
Learning management systems
Learning Management Systems (LMS) serve as a central hub where teachers and professors can upload and organize course material for student access. Schools and universities use learning management systems to reduce the use of paper, as well as to make documents available outside of the classroom. Learn more about learning management systems (LMS).
Popular Learning Management System (LMS) products used by education professionals
- google classroom
- LMS Canvas Print
- blackboard learn
- Bright Space D2L
Student Information Systems (SIS)
Student information systems (SIS) store and track all student information, including grades, attendance records, and more. SIS products are used by teachers, students, and parents to communicate all relevant information related to a student’s education.
Popular Student Information Systems (SIS) Products Used by Education Professionals
- PowerSchool SIS
- Intelligent Network
- infinite campus
- Skyward Student Management Package
- Ellucian Banner Student
classroom management software
Teachers use Classroom Management software to add another dimension to lessons. These tools typically add an interactive element to lesson plans that better engage students.
Popular classroom management products used by education professionals
- Dyknow Classroom
- PowerSchool Unified Classroom
- evaluation software
Assessment software provides students with a portal to take computerized tests and quizzes.
Popular assessment products used by education professionals
- LMS Canvas Print
- blackboard learn
Types of educational software
Educational software makes the general teaching process easy and efficient. Both students and teachers in most learning institutions use educational tools to plan lessons, track performance, prepare students, and teach children.
Some vital types of educational tools used in most learning institutions include:
- Authoring System: Allows teachers to design and develop their own educational software suitable for their students. Teachers can create electronic flashcards or flashcards to effectively teach students concepts. Web authoring systems help teachers create multimedia content such as lessons, tutorials, and reviews.
- Desktop Publishing Software: You can use this software to design and create newsletters, brochures, and flyers to inform parents about school activities. You can use desktop publishing suites like Microsoft Office and Adobe Create.
- Graphics Software: Students may use graphics software to change, create, or capture images available on the Internet or within the program itself. It is useful for creating online presentations.
- Reference Software: This educational tool allows students to do more research and deepen their knowledge on their own. Research assignments assigned by teachers may contain helpful references that point students to additional sources of pertinent information.
- Drill and Practice Software: Drill and Practice software allows teachers to strengthen students’ existing skill sets. This handy software is useful when a student is preparing for exams.
- Tutorial Software: Tutorial software is about giving students new information and time to practice and evaluate their performance. Students can learn new lessons with a platform that allows them to learn these topics and concepts at their own pace.
- Educational Games: There are numerous educational game software available in the market to engage students and make the learning process fun. Several educational software companies have successfully combined education and gaming. They are effective for children and motivate them to learn and pay attention to the lessons.
- Simulations: Students learn lessons through virtual experience with this educational software. Similar scenarios can be run where the student will gain real life experience by participating.
- Special Needs Software: This special software is integrated with assistive software, providing students with special needs with an effective platform for learning. Its primary design is to address the requirements of students with special needs. For example, computers that read text aloud, multimedia software targeted at certain learning disabilities, and speech synthesizers.
- Math Problem Solving Software: Mathematics teachers can effectively strengthen students’ problem solving skills with this software. Science teachers can use this educational software to perform scientific experiments. You can teach subjects like computer science.
- Utility Software: With utility software, teachers prepare quizzes, tests, and grade books. It is easy to use, and teachers who are not familiar with technology will find this software easy to learn and use.