Let’s talk about why communication is key…

January 24th, 2024 by

Communication makes the world go round. If we didn’t talk to each other, nothing would get done, problems wouldn’t be solved, needs wouldn’t be met and there’d be no collaboration – or learning for young or old(er) alike!

So it makes sense that we’ve built communication tools into the core of all our education products to be used in different ways. Let’s take a look at a few examples…

Keeping the conversation going
Chat and messaging tools are really useful for teachers to be able to interact with their class quickly and easily. Students are used to the concept of messaging from their online games, texts, apps and so on – and it’s almost as natural to them as asking questions verbally.

In SoftLINK, teachers can use chat features to answer any quick queries from students about class activities or simply just to check in with them to see how they’re getting on. This interaction is great not just for helping out, but also for relationship building. Another hugely positive use of chat is that it gives every student a voice, particularly those who are not comfortable speaking out in class.

Asking for help
If students are stuck, it’s vital that they have the tools to ask the teacher for help. Sure, they can put their hand up and ask, but if everyone is working quietly on an activity, they may not want to do that. This is where ‘Help requests’ come in handy and in SoftLINK, students can reach out and alert the teacher via their student toolbar that they need assistance, without broadcasting the fact to everyone else!

DNA has a feature for asking for a different kind of help: the ‘Report a concern’ tool. When students are having any issues or if they are concerned about a friend, they can let a trusted teacher know about it, quickly and easily. There’s an option to do so from their toolbar if they are in school – and from the school website if they are learning remotely at home and the school has enabled it. Teachers can then give the appropriate support.

Helping staff
In the last update of DNA, we introduced a helping hand on the tech support side by adding extended audio support. This means the school IT team can conduct a two-way audio chat session between any number of selected staff or students in full audio mode. They can use one-way talk, listen or have full bi-directional audio conversations, which is really helpful for providing further support, without the need to use a phone or any third-party chat solutions.

Sending messages far and wide
Email serves us well but, very often, inboxes are overflowing and so things don’t get seen or read as quickly as they might need to be. If schools need to get urgent messages out there fast, then they need a way to do that so they can be seen as quickly as possible.

Step forward, Notify! This mass notification solution means messages or alerts can be sent to desktop users and information panels but, most importantly, they will automatically appear on top of everything else on the screen, meaning they simply can’t be ignored. It’s a really simple and effective way to get very important messages seen.

Fastest way to provide lesson notes with SoftLINK’s Digital Journal

January 23rd, 2024 by

In-school learning, synchronous online learning, asynchronous home learning – providing consistency is a challenge, but teachers really are pulling out all the stops to ensure students can continue to learn, whatever their (and the wider) circumstances are.

Teachers aren’t just employing new tech solutions to help them; they’re also looking to maximize the regular solutions they’re using, perhaps implementing features they haven’t used before. And if your school uses SoftLINK, we have a handy tip for you that not only helps students, but teachers too!

A record of lesson content
Maybe you already use SoftLINK’s Student Journal as part of your lessons and, if you are, that’s great! However, if you don’t, it’s a really good way to make a record of the content of your lesson as you go along and save it into a PDF file to distribute to students afterwards as a revision aid. When students are learning together in the classroom, they also have the option to add their own notes to the journal.

If you’re currently teaching in the classroom as well as catering for students learning at home, then sending a copy of the journal you’ve compiled in your live class to remote students will ensure that everyone has the same information. And if students have been ill or absent from lessons for any reason, having a set of notes is a great way to see what has been covered and catch up. It’s a win, win!

What can you include in the Student Journal?
All the key information from a typical lesson can be added to a journal file. This includes:

  • Lesson objectives
  • Class register
  • Notes, resources and screenshots
  • Survey/test details and results
  • Question and Answer module scores
  • Lists of approved websites for research
  • “On the fly” screenshots from a demonstration (teacher or student)
  • Details of any homework set
  • Students’ personal notes
  • Target words/topics for comprehension or research assignments
  • Transcripts of any electronic chat conversations
  • Copies of any SoftLINK built-in Whiteboard sessions

The journal is also an important tool for you, as a teacher, to keep a record of all lesson content and student information. It allows you to record who was present – as well as include the results of any tests and surveys. You can also use it as a supplement to existing lesson plans or as a useful reference for the following year.

Available as a PDF file, the journal is easy to access for students and teachers.

Learn more about SoftLINK’s powerful and time-saving tools. Schedule a live online demo here!

See how well it can work for you and your students.

Businesses, power up your in-house training with dedicated tech

January 9th, 2024 by

Corporate training and onboarding sessions have come a long way from photocopied handouts and boring PowerPoint presentations (we hope!).

Back in the day, in-house training could be uninspiring to say the least. But by introducing instruction and communication technology, businesses have helped to transform how employees receive their initial guidance into how the company works or the foundation training they need to do their jobs.

Technology for impactful training

Training with a dedicated instruction solution can make learning much more interactive, collaborative and, well, just more interesting! It’s in step with how many people have learned at school and it’s better for trainers too, saving them time by offering the automatic hand-out and collection of coursework from trainees’ computers, and supporting pre-created lesson plans and content for delivery to trainees.

Trainers can immediately see how well trainees have understood the content of a session with the real-time surveys and testing features – and can make their sessions interactive by employing multi-user/group collaborative chat or survey features.

SoftLINK – the perfect tool

SoftLINK has all these benefits and even takes things a step further, offering a ‘group leader’ mode that allows one trainee to take on a leadership role in group activity – and a dedicated gamified Q&A mode to test knowledge in a variety of ways (teamwork, individuals, random questioning, bouncing questions between trainees and more).

One thing that trainees find especially useful is the inclusion of a Student Journal where they and the tutor can record all the useful content from the session for them to refer to once the training has ended.

What do customers think?

Accelerated Technology Lab uses SoftLINK to train its students in laboratories around the world. The SoftLINK screen sharing feature is used so students can easily see the instructor’s screen on their monitor to follow long and see every fine detail.

“Our students are all adults working in laboratories around the world, they just loved having the ability to see the instructor’s screen on their desk next to the one they were working with. Huge benefit over having a projected instructor’s screen in the front of the room.”

PSI Metals, GmbH training involves hands-on exercises and they needed a way to help and check on student’s progress during the remote training exercises. Now the trainers can easily view all student screens to see who needs assistance and how they are progressing with the exercise.

“SoftLINK is easy to use, seamless to the trainee and easy to show new trainers how to use it. It has been invaluable to us during these remote trainings. SoftLINK has undoubtedly saved dozens of hours of work across multiple trainers and training sessions.”

Cameron University Case Study

March 1st, 2023 by

Tell us a little about Cameron University…

Cameron University is located in Lawton, Oklahoma. The university provides affordable education to local Oklahoma residents as well as international students from around the globe. We offer nearly 50 degrees through two-year, four-year, and graduate programs.

What challenges were you trying to solve?

Trying to distribute an installer file to a computer lab to expedite the install and update process.

What SoftLINK features do you find are used the most and why?

For us we use the file distribution, launch app buttons, and screen monitoring. We use the first two features to updates machines in mass. We use the last one to monitor testing labs and provide remote support to classrooms.

How has SoftLINK helped you?

It has helped us work on updating machines on a large scale remotely, provide a more broad proctoring service for our testing centers, and to provide immediate remote assistance in the classroom.

How would you describe Applied Computer Systems’ customer service?

I have spent years using the product and never contacted support. When I finally did, I received a solution to a problem I had been dealing with all those years in a matter of hours. It was wonderful!

What would you say to other organizations facing the same challenges?

It is a fantastic solution that is easy to implement and use. It has utility both for ITS staff as well as instructors and tutors.

Would you recommend the SoftLINK software to others?


In-house learning: good for employees, good for your organization

February 21st, 2023 by

When the Covid curveball hit, the world had to act fast. One such arena for radical re-thinking and rapid change was the workplace, with industries everywhere needing to adopt wide-ranging transformations to remain operational in the face of massive global challenges. Some of these changes were temporary; some have become permanent – and some are forming the roots that will grow into new kinds of work altogether. 

Technology is the common denominator in the majority of the adaptations in the corporate space over the last two years. It has enabled businesses to continue manufacturing or trading, with teams operating remotely, collaborating online and with delivery (of either physical or online products) powered by a myriad of IT solutions and applications.

The way we work is always in a state of flux, but companies are now working at an accelerated pace to ensure that:

  • they can leverage the powers of technology to help employees create, innovate and be as efficient as possible, and
  • they are fully prepared for an uncertain future.

If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we are all learning together – from CEOs down to the newest recruits. Companies can use learning to their advantage in two ways: to ensure their employees have the tools and knowledge at their disposal to work efficiently and creatively, and also to stimulate team spirit and a sense of involvement in the business. This is especially important for remote workers, and it ensures everyone has equal access to training to grow their skills and boost their careers. 

Dedicated learning is a smart move for organizations to nurture their employees’ skills and help them to put them to best use for the company’s benefit. Gone are the days, however, where being sent on a course and taking pen-and-paper notes that are forgotten a week later will deliver the results organizations need. Relevant training, delivered onsite by a trainer who understands that learning needs to be interactive and engaging if it is to stick, will provide real value to employees. And if it is tech-based, so much the better, as this will be an extension of the digitally-led learning experienced by younger employees in school – and will be equally as engaging for older employees, too. 

Our corporate training solution, SoftLINK, has helped businesses across a variety of industries to provide engaging training sessions. To read more about how it could help your company, check out our white paper here.

Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Your School

January 20th, 2023 by

Wellbeing isn’t just an issue for students, but for teachers and technicians too. High workload, lack of work-life balance, lack of resources and feeling unsupported by leaders can all combine to negatively impact the wellbeing of staff. With so much technology now on board in schools, it’s time to think about how this can not only benefit teaching and learning, but staff wellbeing too. Our classroom management solution, SoftLINK, and IT management solution, DNA, can provide schools with a combination of tools to deliver shortcuts to make technicians’ lives easier, save teachers’ time and alleviate anxieties around technology use…

Making classroom technology accessible

Many teachers struggle to use classroom technology effectively; sticking to a few tried and tested tools. Others simply fear using it much at all and the thought of it causes anxiety and stress. SoftLINK offers three graded ‘user modes’ (Easy, Intermediate and Advanced) to make it more accessible and help them to gain confidence as they progress – or, if the investment has already been made, can enable student digital leaders to assist in supporting others in the class.

Tech takes the strain

Spotting areas where costs or time can be saved is important for schools. Using DNA’s Efficiency view, IT teams can see at a glance if technology is being used effectively and have the opportunity to reduce any wastage. Plus, having to solve problems under pressure isn’t ideal for anyone, so by proactively monitoring hundreds of scenarios for changes, DNA can alert technicians to issues before they become problematic, giving them the opportunity to solve them before they take hold.

To read more about staff wellbeing, access our full PDF here.

Five ways to start the new year with SoftLINK Class Monitoring & Management Software

January 5th, 2023 by

One of our most popular products in our portfolio, SoftLINK is our easy-to-use classroom management tool that gives you the right tools to make sure that learning and teaching in your classroom with technology has impact you want. 

Whether you’re new to the product or could do with a refresher for the start of the academic year, in this blog post, we’ll share 5 of our customer’s favorite features to help you hit the ground running. 

#1 Start at the beginning 

If you’re new to SoftLINK, we strongly recommend you start with the ‘Easy Mode’.

Complete with some of our most regularly used features to support instruction in the classroom via a simple-to-use interface, ‘easy mode’ gets you up and running with tools to support behavior for learning such as the ‘lock all’, ‘blank all’ and ‘block all internet’ options along with the ‘feedback and wellbeing’ option to help you take the temperature of learning in the classroom.  

SoftLINK Feedback and Wellness Mode

#2 Share your screen  

While presenting, the teacher’s device can show its desktop to connected student devices which is the perfect way to help demonstrate a particular point or show students how to complete a particular task.  

This is great for live teaching using technology, so whether you’re demonstrating a Maths technique using OneNote, running through a presentation in PowerPoint or utilizing a visualizer on your desk to live mark a piece of work – SoftLINK is a great tool to support your teaching and their learning.  

#3 Share their screen 

 Just as the ability to share your screen with learners provides opportunities for you to teach, so sharing a student’s screen to other students in the classroom provides lots of opportunities for learning. Whether you’re peer assessing, unpicking misconceptions, or simply discussing a particular response to a question you’ve asked the class, the ability to share the screens of students to other students is great functionality to explore with your classes.  

#4 Keep students on task 

SoftLINK provides you a monitor view which enables you to see whatever is on any of your student’s screens on your teacher device. You can monitor your entire class in a single view, adjust thumbnail size and even overlay helpful information such as the name of the tool they’re using or the URL of the website they’re viewing. If you spot a student off task, it’s a simple task to then intervene, lock their screen, or even send them a message to direct them back on task, without interrupting the flow of learning with your other students.  

#5 Improve efficiency 

Using the application and internet metering feature in SoftLINK you can use single action opening of websites or applications from your teacher console, thus saving you and your learners plenty of time taken in finding the right URL or correct application.  

For more hints and tips like this, be sure to visit Applied Computer Systems, Inc. website.

New whitepaper: Building learner engagement

January 4th, 2023 by

Building learner engagement…

The training and onboarding landscape has changed drastically in the past five years. With a shift towards hybrid and remote working environments, professionals in the Learning and Development field have had to evaluate their approaches to onboarding new employees and conducting continuing training.

Find out how using classroom management and instruction tools, like SoftLINK can help trainers leverage technology to build learner engagement and boost learning outcomes. This new whitepaper discusses just that and highlights the true benefits of implementing the right tools to support your objectives and create a positive learning environment.

Choosing the right tools to boost engagement… 

Using solutions like SoftLINK can help organizations enhance training by bridging the gap video conferencing solutions lack and offer a solution that aligns with the needs of their learners. SoftLINK provides a wide range of possibilities for collaborative instruction, assessment and group working – as well as allowing trainers to guide and present directly to staff devices.

Plus, to increase engagement, SoftLINK also offers tools to allow trainees to interact, question and assess any information presented. It also provides each person with a journal of content from the training session for them to refer to afterwards – for maximum retention.

Find out more about SoftLINK below to see the full benefits. Plus, you can try it for free for 30 days to see how it works in your training environment.

Thermal Equipment Sales Case Study

April 21st, 2022 by

What challenges were you trying to solve?

Thermal Equipment Sales is an HVAC manufacture rep and we use the SoftLINK software. I teach service and troubleshooting classes and I use SoftLINK to watch our two labs in real time or project my computer screen. When the opportunity presents itself, I share a trainee’s screen to the projector and we talk about the issues or problems they see.

What SoftLINK features do you find are used the most and why?

Watching and sharing trainee screens, it is very easy to use.

How has SoftLINK helped you?

It’s been very helpful. I can watch the two labs we have set up and I am able to pin point those individuals that need help and can assist them.

How would you describe Applied Computer Systems’ customer service?

My account executive, Monica Broceus, has been great!

What would you say to other organizations facing the same challenges?

I would recommend they call Applied Computer Systems and speak to Monica (1-800-237-5465).

Would you recommend the SoftLINK software to others?


SoftLINK helps to support social distancing!

October 22nd, 2021 by

It is crucial teachers are provided the proper tools to lead lessons safely with vulnerable children still attending school across the country. 

SoftLINK, ACS’s classroom management and instruction solution, incorporates a variety of features well suited for supporting social distancing. With teaching aids like SoftLINK, school districts can create safer learning environments and help to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

SoftLINK’s award winning features include:

  • Sharing the teacher’s screen – students can see explanations without needing to crowd around a single desk/screen
  • Sending out and collecting work automatically – minimize the need to handle books and collect papers
  • Using a virtual whiteboard – students can collaborate and share ideas without being in close proximity
  • Remote control – teachers can remotely assist students without the need to use the students’ keyboards

To find out more ways that SoftLINK can help support social distancing in your classroom, read the PDF below.