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Using SoftLINK in a Remote Desktop (RDP) Environment

October 30th, 2020 by

Does your school currently have a virtual environment? Were you aware you could use SoftLINK to provide remote learning to your students while they are working from home?

Many school districts have already implemented virtual environments for remote access and administration of their technology. Many teachers are surprised to learn that SoftLINK can be ran in these environments and can be used just as it would be in a conventional classroom.

During this unprecedented time, teachers and students can experience some semblance of a normal teaching regiment. Using SoftLINK, teachers can continue to interact with students as if they were sitting together in a classroom. The teacher can discretely observe students’ progress and ensure they stay on task. Teachers are also able to share their own desktop space and limit access to applications and websites to prevent access to inappropriate content. SoftLINK also encourages class participation via its Question and Answer mode, surveys, and student feedback mode.

Can SoftLINK be configured to be invisible on the student computers?

October 29th, 2020 by

Yes, SoftLINK can be configured to conceal its presence from the students. By default, several visual indicators are present on on the student’s PC when connected to a teacher.  The Student Toolbar appears across the top of the student’s screen and a SoftLINK icon appears in the student’s system tray.

In many cases, teachers may not want their students to know they are able to view their screens. To learn how to make SoftLINK invisible on the student workstations, please view the knowledge base article Configure SoftLINK Client to be Transparent.

SoftLINK Instructional Monitoring and Management Software Introduction

February 11th, 2020 by

SoftLINK is the market-leading classroom software solution that provides instructors with an array of dedicated assessment, monitoring, collaboration and control features to help maximize the benefit of technology-led instruction.

SoftLINK is an essential part of the digital classroom. SoftLINK provides the ability to organize and deliver lesson content, work collaboratively, and monitor trainee workstations. With its many tools, an instructor can ensure trainees stay focused at all times. All of SoftLINK’s features are included with a license purchase, including the dedicated instructor interface, SoftLINK Assistant, and Technician module.

  • Trainee feedback visuals to gauge well being and topic confidence
  • ‘Easy’ user mode to support technology-shy instructors
  • Versions for all leading PC and tablet platforms
  • Real-time instruction tools
  • Show or broadcast instructor screen to trainees
  • Show or broadcast trainee screen to remainder of class
  • Live view of trainee thumbnails
  • View and control trainees’ screens
  • Testing, quiz, and survey components
  • Audio monitoring and language lab tools
  • Internet metering, filtering, and control
  • Application metering, filtering, and control
  • Digital student revision aids
  • Printer management
  • Electronically distribute and collect work
  • Dedicated Technicians’ Console

How do I monitor student Chromebooks?

October 10th, 2019 by

Many school districts are being lured to Chromebooks because of their relatively low cost, dependability and access.  However, the new distractions that the Chromebooks offer to students is rarely considered.  Let’s face it, students have and always will goof off during class, and knowing what students are doing is even more important when technology is involved. In addition to fun and games, the Internet opens up a wide range of unsavory information to youth, and it is the teacher’s job to prevent students from accessing these websites during school.

With our SoftLINK classroom management software you can prohibit access to any website, allow access to only an approved list of websites, or block internet access completely.  Just imagine how much stress this will alleviate from your classroom management, knowing the students cannot get to websites that are not approved.  SoftLINK’s intuitive Tutor Console provides a thumbnail view of each student’s desktop, allowing you to monitor and see at a glance what each student is currently doing on their Chromebook. In addition to limiting students’ internet access, SoftLINK gives you full control over each student’s Chromebook.  While giving a lecture, teachers have the ability to lock each student’s keyboard and mouse and they will no longer have any control over their device.

SoftLINK classroom monitoring software is an invaluable tool for any electronic classroom.  SoftLINK supports not only Chromebooks, but Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS as well.  If your classroom has a mixture of devices, do not worry.  SoftLINK allows you to interact with each operating system and device from a single interface!  No matter what your training environment may be, SoftLINK will enhance the learning experience for the students and will provide teachers with the tools to effectively keep them on task.

SIS Integration with Google Classroom – AVAILABLE NOW in v12.65!

October 3rd, 2019 by

SIS Integration with Google Classroom – AVAILABLE NOW in v12.65!

SoftLINK has extended its Student Information System (SIS) integration and now provides support for Google Classroom.  Teachers are now able to connect to students’ devices using Google Classroom’s “ready to connect” class lists.  This provides seamless connection to the students’ devices, whether they are using Windows devices or even Chromebooks.  The Google Classroom integration allows more flexibility when connecting to student devices while also helping teachers save time by simplifying the classroom setup.

SoftLINK also continues to support SIS integration via ClassLink OneRoster. Once synchronized with OneRoster, the SoftLINK Tutor can identify the SIS data (teacher, lesson, and student roster) relevant to the teacher’s current lesson. Not only does this feature help teachers save time when setting up their technology-led lessons, but also offers more flexibility when connecting to student devices!

Please refer to our SoftLINK SIS Integration guide for more information.

How Do I Monitor My Students’ Chromebooks?

November 24th, 2014 by

The use of Chromebooks in the classroom has been steadily rising over the past year.  Many school districts are being lured to Chromebooks because of their relatively low cost, dependability, and access

to Google Docs and Drive.  Let’s say your school district has just purchased Chromebooks for your students. Whether your district is implementing a 1:1 deployment or are using carts, has anyone considered the new distractions that the Chromebooks offer to the students in the classrooms?  SoftLINK will help you successfully manage the Chromebooks that your students are using daily.

First and foremost, teachers need to know what their students are doing at all times.  In a conventional classroom, this meant walking around the classroom or just glancing around the room during class.  Let’s face it, students have and always will goof off during class. Just glancing around a classroom, you may see everyone writing on their papers, but who is to say that Bobby is not really just drawing rather than writing his story?

Remotely manage the student computers from the instructor's desktop.
Remotely manage the student computers from the instructor’s desktop.

Now think about a Chromebook equipped classroom.  Knowing what students are doing is even more important when technology is involved.  The internet opens up a wide range of unsavory information to youth, and it is the teacher’s job to prevent students from accessing this type of information during school.  SoftLINK’s intuitive Tutor Console provides a thumbnail view of each student’s desktop, allowing you to monitor and see at a glance what each student is currently doing on their Chromebook.

It is unfair, impractical, and impossible to believe that a teacher can watch each student 100% of the time.  Again, SoftLINK is there to help you with this task.  As with any electronic device, students are going to want to surf the web and go to the websites they enjoy the most, social media and gaming sites just to name a few.  Using SoftLINK, you can prohibit access to any website, allow access to only an approved list or websites, or block internet access completely.  Just imagine how much stress this will alleviate from your class, knowing the students cannot get to websites that you do not approve of.

How do you keep the students focused during class, especially with a Chromebook in front of them?  Besides limiting their internet access, SoftLINK give you full control over each student’s Chromebook.  While giving a lecture, Lock each student’s keyboard and mouse and they will no longer have any control over their device.  Better yet, broadcast your teacher’s screen out to the classroom and demonstrate the assignment directly on each individual’s screen rather than requiring them to look at the projector screen.  What better way to immerse a student in the activity than to place the content directly in front of them?  Upon completing your lecture, ask the entire class a question using the Survey feature.  You will get tabulated results instantly, providing you with insight on the class’s overall comprehension.

Once you have completed your lecture and the students begin to work on their assignment, SoftLINK still continues to assist you.  A student can discreetly ask you for help via a chat interface.  If more guidance is required, simply take control of their keyboard and mouse to help guide them to the solution.

SoftLINK classroom monitoring software is an invaluable tool for any electronic classroom.  SoftLINK supports not only Chromebooks but Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS as well.  If your classroom has a mixture of devices, do not worry.  SoftLINK allows you to interact with each operating system and device from a single interface!  No matter what your training environment may be, SoftLINK will enhance the learning experience for the students and will provide teachers with the tools to effectively keep them on task.

Ameren Missouri Callaway Energy Center Uses Classroom Management Software

January 30th, 2014 by

"classroom management software"

HISTORY

Ameren Corporation is among the nation’s largest investor-owned utility companies and is the parent holding company of Ameren Illinois and Ameren Missouri.  Currently Ameren employs approximately 8,500 individuals and provides energy services to approximately 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers.  Their service area covers nearly 64,000 square miles in Illinois and Missouri.  Ameren generates its electricity using a variety of sources including coal, gas, solar, and nuclear power.

 

OBSTACLE

Michele Waller is the Senior Training Supervisor for the Instructional Systems Development at Ameren’s Callaway Energy Center.  Among her many tasks, she is responsible for all aspects of accreditation, administration, and initial and continuing training for her site’s location.  Ms. Waller coordinates the instructor curriculum and the oversight training committee at the Callaway site as well.

“For instructional purposes, the training department at the nuclear facility wanted an alternative method of utilizing media and PowerPoint in the classroom,” says Ms. Waller.  Ameren found that SoftLINK classroom management software met these goals and provided much more.  It makes sense that they came to Applied Computer Systems, Inc. (ACS) to help them solve their problem.  ACS had already been working with the Callaway site for more than a decade.  ACS originally installed a hardware LINK System at the site in 1996 which was fully functional up to the uninstall date of 2006, the year Callaway decided to migrate over to SoftLINK.  ACS has specialized in classroom management solutions since the early 1980’s and has become a preferred source for hardware and software computer class management products.

Another obstacle faced was the scope of the site’s training staff.  “Callaway has approximately 35 instructors who are constantly faced with providing new and creative methods of presentation.”  The solution that Ameren chose needed to be intuitive and easy to learn, two of SoftLINK’s key selling points.

 

SOFTLINK CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SOLUTION

SoftLINK fits right in to Ameren’s media rich training environment.  During the daily training sessions, instructors typically broadcast their presentation directly to the student screens.  Not only does this provide the optimum viewing experience for the students but it also prevents anyone from straying from the subject matter.  “Keeping students involved in the presentation and making sure they are at the same point as the instructor” is key states Ms. Waller.

Often enough, instructors get frustrated knowing that the students are checking their email, looking at social media sites, or playing games while they are in class.  Ms. Waller tells us that SoftLINK has eliminated those worries.  “Instructors can maintain control of student computers during presentations and ensure that students are on track.”

SoftLINK also provides instructors with the ability to block any application that exists on a workstation and the ability to block any number of websites or the web entirely.  “The added benefit of controlling the access to other software or websites while in class” is invaluable.  The first and foremost goal is to keep the students on task and on the topic at hand.

In addition to the exceptional features that are found in SoftLINK, ACS also provides toll-free support for all of their products.  Whenever an instructor has a question, they can simply call or email the customer support agents at ACS and they receive precise and prompt answers.  Ms. Waller says that “ACS is very helpful when dealing with questions and issues” that may arise.

Applied Computer Systems, Inc. offers free, live, online demonstrations of SoftLINK.  A full featured 30-day trial is also available for download.  SoftLINK is used in computer classrooms to effectively enhance the teaching and learning process. It improves retention rates and keeps students on task.

Classroom Management Solution For Cryptologic Linguist Training

January 30th, 2014 by

Applied Computer Systems, Inc. has Audio Composite LINK Systems installed in dozens of classrooms at Goodfellow Air Force Base. These particular classrooms are used to train Cryptologic Linguists. A cryptologic linguist is responsible for detecting and recording foreign communications using signals equipment for the purpose of military intelligence. We are proud that the United States Air Force has chosen to use our classroom management system to help train our soldiers. Please watch the Air Force video to learn more about this unique military profession.

Why Use a Classroom Management System Over a Video Projector?

January 9th, 2014 by

Over the years, teachers have come to expect certain teaching aids to be in their classrooms.  Not so many years ago, teachers relied on blackboards and chalk to convey their lessons to their classes.  They also utilized pull-down maps and hanging diagrams to further enhance their students’ learning experience.  By the late 1950’s, schools began to use overhead projectors as an effective means to teach material to students.  It allowed teachers to present preprinted material to their class or to write directly onto re-usable plastic sheets using non-permanent ink.  By the 1990’s, schools started replacing chalk boards with white boards and then later, with smart boards.  They also began replacing overhead projectors with document cameras.

These same teaching tools have been used in computer classrooms for years as well.  However, none allowed the teacher to efficiently show a classroom full of students a computer screen.  This led to video projectors becoming a mainstay in computer classrooms.  With a video projector, teachers could now project their computer screen onto the projection screen, allowing the entire class to see what was being done on the instructor’s computer.  This was a huge improvement over all the prior techniques.  There are some major inconveniences that go along with video projectors.  First and foremost, visibility has always been an issue in the classroom.  Whether you are using a smart board, a document camera, or a video projector, not every student in the classroom will have a perfect view of the presented material.

So how can a teacher allow each and every student to have the best view in the class?  A classroom management solution offers a perfect front row view to each and every student.  How is that possible?  Take a teacher who uses a typical computer classroom equipped with a video projector as an example.  The teacher would project the instructor’s computer image to the screen at the front of the class.  Every student would be able to see the image, but to varying degrees of clarity.  There are many factors affecting how clear the image appears.  There is the viewing distance, the viewing angle, the ambient lighting, not to mention any obstructions that might be in the classroom.  Depending on the classroom layout, an obstruction could simply be a student that is just slightly taller than the student sitting behind them.

Compare the previous scenario to a computer classroom that uses a LINK Classroom Management System.  The teacher selects a button and the instructor’s image is broadcast directly to the students’ monitors.  There is no decrease in the video quality; the video is broadcast at exactly the same size as it appears on the instructor’s monitor.  Sometimes students can more easily associate with the information when it is presented on a normal sized screen and not a larger than life one.  Furthermore, the student can adjust the settings of their own monitor to obtain a view to their own liking.  The student’s view can never be blocked, the lighting in the classroom will never interfere with their view, and distance is no longer a problem!

Classroom management solutions allow for teachers to engage students in a way that no prior technology allowed for.  They now feel as though the information is being presented to them personally, on their own screen, directly in front of them.  What if you already have a video projector in the classroom?  It will work in conjunction with a LINK Classroom Management System, and if a projector is not present, a classroom management system is capable of doing much more for much less.

Classroom Management Solutions Help Gauge Classroom Comprehension

January 8th, 2014 by
Tutor Console view of SoftLINK’s Classroom Survey

Comprehension is something that all teachers strive for.  Knowing that your class grasps the concepts and information that has been taught to them is an incredible feeling.  However, how can a teacher adequately gauge the class’ comprehension?  A teacher can ask a question verbally, have their students raise their hands, and then call on an individual to answer the question.  All too often, class participation is limited and only a select few attempt to answer the questions.  The teacher can ask the question and poll the class, asking them to raise their hands if they think the answer is answer “A”, “B”, or “C.”  Many times, students simply look to their fellow classmates and follow along with the majority answer.  Of course, there are also quizzes and tests, but at that point, students are expected to already know the material and if they don’t, their grades will suffer.  So how can a teacher get instant feedback from all of their students, feedback that is discrete and not public, that will allow them to see the class’ overall understanding?  Use one of Applied Computer Systems, Inc. (ACS) classroom management solutions!

ACS offers a variety of solutions that enable instructors to easily gauge their students’ comprehension during the course of their normal class.  Both ACS’s patented hardware, LINK Systems, and their software solution, SoftLINK, provide the means to survey students discretely.  How is this task accomplished?  The teacher simply types in a question to the Survey area of the software and then lists the possible choices.  When the survey question is sent out to the class, the students will be able to read the question, choose the response that they believe to be the correct answer, and submit their response to the teacher.  This survey or poll of the class will give the teacher instant feedback.  As students select their responses, the results update automatically on the teacher’s monitor.  They can see what percentage of the class selected each response.  They can also see how many students have answered and how many have yet to answer.  This private response method allows the teacher to get a true snapshot of the students’ comprehension.  Students who typically are not engaged during class will find it easier to participate and will answer questions.  They will no longer fear that they will be the focus of attention if they answer incorrectly.  Students will not be able to see how the other students are answering and will instead have to answer on their own accord.

Perhaps best of all, the results of these surveys can be shared with the class.  Many times students who do not understand the subject matter may just conclude that no one in the class knows it.  By giving the teacher the means to show a breakdown of the class, what percentage of the class selected each answer, students will now be able to better gauge how they are doing in comparison with their fellow classmates.  Often, this alone will engage students to work on learning the subject matter.

These tools allow teachers to clearly see the progress their class has made.  If the majority of the class answers correctly, the teacher can safely assume that the subject was covered completely and can move onto the next topic.  If the results are inconsistent, the teacher can review the material while it is still fresh in the students’ minds and further their overall comprehension.  This all leads to an increase in the material that can be covered during the class as well as improving overall grades for the students.