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SoftLINK Version 11

SoftLINK has evolved over many years to ensure it continues to meet the challenges faced in today’s modern classrooms and remains compatible with the ever-changing IT landscape.

With any new release, the focus is not only on introducing innovative new features but to also review existing functionality to ensure it remains relevant and in line with modern teaching practices.

With this in mind, SoftLINK Version 11 delivers over 200 new and enhanced features using a new and improved user interface.

Question and Answers Module

The new Question and Answer Module delivers a simple and compelling set of tools to encourage active assessment of learning in the classroom. It enables teachers to reinforce key learning points and instantly gauge student understanding during a lesson.

Using a ‘game-show’ approach, the teacher can quickly ask the class verbal questions, allow students to be selected based on speed of answer, as a team or at random. Rewards can be allocated and tracked against the individual or, where appropriate, teams.

SoftLINK Question and Answer Module

At the core of this feature is the ability to deliver both peer and individual student assessment quickly and efficiently as well as introduce new questioning styles to the lesson, such as ‘basketball’ questioning.

  • First to answer question type.
  • Enter an answer question type.
  • Random Selection question type.
  • Ability to group students into teams randomly.
  • Ability to specify the number of teams.
  • Ability to create teams based on House/Colours.
  • Ability to ‘bounce’ question to next student.
  • Ability to set thinking time for students before they can answer.
  • Ability to set time limit for students to answer.
  • Ability to exclude students from next round if they answer correctly.
  • Ability to exclude students from next round if they answer incorrectly.
  • Peer assessment option.
  • Ability to score as team or individual student.
  • Option to deduct a point for an incorrect answer.

SoftLINK Tutor Assistant App for Apple iOS and Android

SoftLINK Version 11 introduces a new component available for free download from the Apple iTunes, Amazon App Store and Google Play app stores.

For use in your existing SoftLINK-managed classroom environment, the SoftLINK Tutor Assistant app is an extension to the traditional desktop Tutor application, delivering greater mobility for teachers around the information and communications technology (ICT) suite and the ideal tool to allow teaching assistants to help with monitoring student progress.

SoftLINK Tutor Assistant App
Monitor Student’s Computer Activity

Apple iOS, Android tablet and smartphone compatible, once installed on a device, the app pairs with the SoftLINK desktop Tutor software, allowing teachers the freedom to move around the classroom, helping retain key control and monitoring of all student workstations.

Features supported on Tablets:

  • Support for Android and iPad tablets.
  • View student thumbnails.
  • Send students a preset message.
  • Block restricted websites.
  • Set approved websites.
  • Block all internet access.
  • Lock/Unlock student computers.
  • Logoff student computers.
  • Blank/Unblank student screens.
  • Restrict student printing.
  • Set approved applications.
  • Block restricted applications.
  • Select a group of students.
  • Details View.
  • View student Help Request notifications.
  • Zoom on student.
  • Sort students by name/tutor order.
  • View current application.
  • View current websites.
  • Set connection password.
  • Tutor badge displaying the number of currently connected Tutor Assistants.

Features supported on Smartphones:

  • Support for Android and Apple iOS smartphones.
  • Send students a preset message.
  • Block restricted websites.
  • Set approved websites.
  • Block all internet access.
  • Lock/Unlock student computers.
  • Logoff student computers.
  • Blank/Unblank student screens.
  • Restrict student printing.
  • Set approved applications.
  • Block restricted applications.
  • Set connection password.

Technician’s Console

SoftLINK Version 11 delivers a range of major enhancements to the Technician’s Console, centered around two key areas of functionality. First, Security Policies, where all PCs can be checked against a pre-defined set of policies, identifying instantly any computers that are without anti-virus, Windows updates or Internet protection.

Second, a Policy Management tool allows for SoftLINK restrictions to be defined and applied across the school permanently.

SoftLINK Technician Console

Currently, classroom management solutions offer usage control for the duration of a lesson and these restrictions stop as soon as the teacher PC disconnects. In SoftLINK Version 11, these restrictions are applied centrally and remain in force 24 hours a day. During a lesson these can be overridden with the teacher’s specific settings.

New and enhanced features in the Tech Console include:

  • View/Set Power Management Policy for students and teachers.
  • View/Set Windows Update Policy for students and teachers.
  • View/Set User Access Control Policy for students and teachers.
  • View Antivirus status for students and teachers.
  • View/Set Windows Firewall Policy for students and teachers.
  • View Spyware status for students and teachers.
  • View/Set Internet Explorer Phishing Filter for students and teachers.
  • View/Set Internet Explorer Protected Mode Policy for students and teachers.
  • View SoftLINK Protect Status for students and teachers.
  • Edit the registry of a remote system.
  • Launch a local command prompt from the remote system on your PC.
  • Launch Application toolbar option.
  • Ability to set ‘Always on’ Application Restrictions for students and teachers.
  • Ability to set ‘Always on’ Internet Restrictions for students and teachers.
  • Ability to set ‘Always on’ USB restrictions.
  • Ability to set ‘Always on’ CD/DVD restrictions.
  • Ability to set ‘Always on’ Printer Restrictions.
  • Convenient slider to resize thumbnails, set update interval or auto size thumbnails from status bar.
  • Enhanced File Distribution performance.
  • Support for Google Chromebooks.
  • Search for Student by Name.
  • Search for Students by Device.
  • Search for Students by Room.
  • Show Wireless signal strength in Tech Console.
  • Show remaining battery power in Tech Console.
  • View User Acknowledgement status for students and teachers.
  • View Security key status for students and teachers.
  • Ability to manually mark a machine as a Tutor.
  • Option to exclude teachers’ machines from Global policies.
  • Option to group teachers’ computers automatically.
  • Redesigned Tech Console interface.
  • New Security Column in Tech Console Details View.
  • New Policy Column in Tech Console Details View.
  • Customizable Columns in Tech Console Details View.
  • Wider columns in Inventory, application, process and service lists.

Google Chromebook Support

The new generation of Google Chromebooks is set to help schools put technology in the hands of more students and Appled Computer Systems, Inc. is working hard to ensure that teachers can continue to provide effective student support in this environment.

SoftLINK Version 11 includes as standard a set of plugins for Chrome OS netbooks, allowing them to be monitored by a normal teacher PC. A SoftLINK Chrome Client is available for free download from the Google Play store.

SoftLINK allows a mixture of devices to be managed simultaneously, so not all students need to be on Chrome-based systems. A unique ‘gateway’ is provided to ensure all students can be located and managed when required.

  • View student thumbnails.
  • Send instant Student Surveys.
  • Display Student Survey results.
  • Send students a message.
  • Block restricted websites.
  • Set approved websites.
  • Block all internet access.
  • Launch a website on the student Chromebook.
  • Block FTP access.
  • Close a website on the student Chromebook.
  • Register students.
  • Configure Room Mode.
  • Redesigned Lesson Details entry dialog.

Windows 8 PC and Tablet Support

Pre-release support provided for Windows 8 on both regular and touch-enabled desktop computers as well as for use by both teacher and student on Windows 8 tablets.

File Transfer/File Distribution Enhancements

There are a number of enhancements to SoftLINK’s capabilities when moving files to and from students.

File Transfer now utilizes UDP for one-to-many transfers and delivers files 10x faster across the classroom.

SoftLINK File Distribution

As well as SoftLINK’s 1:1 File Transfer and 1:many File Distribution features, the innovative ‘Send and Collect Work’ tool, that allows documents to be sent to all students and then collected in a single action by the teacher, now provides real-time feedback on the status of each document sent enabling the teacher to see which student files are ready for collection and which students need reminding.

  • UDP File Transfer.
  • UDP Send/Collect Work.
  • Ability to access File transfer/Distribution options directly from the Tutor toolbar menu.

Recording & Replay File Enhancements

A major enhancement to the ‘Record and Replay’ feature is included in SoftLINK version 11. The feature provides a mechanism for a teacher to record activity on a target PC to be replayed at a later date. These recordings are currently stored in a SoftLINK format file.

Version 11 introduces a new Video Editor, allowing Replay Files to be trimmed and edited before being exported as AVI or WMV files. Teachers can use pre-set options or more advanced users can access the new Video Editing application where they can control video resolution, audio quality, start and end points of the video and much more.

The features provides the perfect tool for building a library of recorded demonstrations, either captured in class or pre-prepared for inclusion in future schemes of work.

  • Ability to resize output video resolution.
  • Ability to crop video files.
  • Output files in AVI or WMV format.
  • Configurable audio quality.
  • Preset Normal and Hi-Res video modes.
  • Advanced standalone replay conversion tools.

New Student Connection Mode

The introduction of a new mode of connection, User Mode, enables the teacher to define a list of students to connect to based on their logged-on user name. To make this and other modes of connection easily accessible, a new Class Wizard is displayed when the Tutor program initially loads and when a class is restarted.

The Class Wizard enables the teacher to select the mode that best suits their requirements and guides them through identifying the required students for the class. You can connect by Room, PC Name, Student login name or simply browse the network to locate students.

  • Connect to Students by UserID.
  • New ‘Random Student’ toolbar button randomly selects a student machine for teachers to interact with.
  • Ability to choose how many students to randomly select directly from the Tutor Toolbar.
  • Connect to Chromebook Students.

Student Journal Enhancements

The already unique Digital Student Journal has been further enhanced to aid in lesson recording and improve the provision of content for students outside of the classroom. Teachers and students can now select an existing journal file and continue to add subsequent lessons to it. Teachers can add chapters to the journal, create bookmarks, even synchronize missing content from their journal with a student who has missed a lesson, or simply make the document more professional and add a school logo.

SoftLINK Student Journal

The journal delivers a complete record of all activity within a lesson, aids homework and revision, provides a valuable resource for students who have missed a lesson and gives teachers a full record of activity.

  • Continue adding resources to an existing journal.
  • Ability to name a Student Journal.
  • Teacher’s journal status shown on status bar.
  • Tutor Toolbar icon now indicates whether the teacher’s journal is started.
  • Ability to add a quick note to the student journal directly from the drop down menu.
  • Option to print journal directly from the drop down menu.
  • Ability to add named chapters to the student journal.
  • Include Student Register in teacher’s journal.
  • Automatic creation of bookmarks based on chapters.
  • Journal synchronization – if the student has missed items these can be inserted in the correct position in line with the teacher’s journal.
  • Undo feature allows the teacher or student to remove the last item added.
  • Ability to customize the journal with your school’s logo.

Quick Launch / Desktop Controls

Ease of use is key to the success of any Applied Computer Systems, Inc. product. With the addition of so much new functionality in SoftLINK Version 11, a number of changes have been made to the user interface to simplify use and ensure teachers have instant access to all of its key features.

The new Quick Launch feature brings together functionality from other modules and provides a single source where the teacher can remotely launch applications, specific documents or websites on selected or all student computers in an instant. In addition to Quick Launch, version 11 has extended the usual Lock PC, Blank Screen features to also include ‘Show Desktop’ which instantly minimizes all applications on the student PC and ‘Clear Desktop’ which will automatically close all applications on the student PC…with a warning!

Student Toolbar Updates

SoftLINK Version 11 sees a further extension of the unique Student Toolbar, providing a visual indicator for students as to the current lesson, time remaining, rewards they have been assigned and much more. The Student Toolbar ensures that all collaborative features within the product are accessible to students. Students are instantly notified when printer restrictions have been applied, Internet or application controls are in place and can quickly access details of their lesson objectives and expected outcomes or simply request teacher assistance.

The Student toolbar changes colour when help is requested, avoiding the need for students to highlight their request to the rest of the class. For those less able, the toolbar also provides one-click access to student resources, their memory stick for accessing documents or to identify when they have completed coursework sent by the teacher. The toolbar is also the access point when a student wishes to add their own personal notes or content to their digital journal. The toolbar can be enabled or disabled to suit lesson requirements.

  • Redesigned Student Information Bar.
  • Toggle On/Off Student Information Bar option from the Tutor.
  • Improvement to the calculation of space the class details require removing previous overlapping.
  • Improved Student Toolbar tooltips.
  • Student Information Bar Rewards now displays a number when too many to fit.
  • Alert feature to allow students to let the teacher know when they have run out of work or need assistance.
  • Ability to see work sent by the teacher, sort the files and mark work completed in rea time and tell teacher ready for work to be collected.

Redesigned User Interface

SoftLINK Version 11 sees a fully redesigned interface. While it has retained the same layout for familiarity, all aspects of navigation and feature access have been revisited and enhanced. All menus within the product have been updated, many are now dock and un-dockable, allowing them to be moved around the desktop for regular use. The new menu format provides interactive menus where, for example, a message can be sent directly from within the ‘communication’ menu rather than needing to launch a separate dialog.

With version 11, not only have we added significantly more innovative and unique functionality, we have made the product even simpler and more intuitive to use.

  • Redesigned Tutor Toolbar.
  • Redesigned Tutor Side bar.
  • Visual Indicator for Global Policies on Tutor Side Bar.
  • Visual Indicator for Global Policies against students.
  • Large Application Icon on mouse over.
  • Large Application Icon on Thumbnails.
  • Simplified Client Context Menu.
  • Redesigned Toolbar displayed when the Tutor is minimised.
  • New View Window status bar images for battery and wireless strength.
  • New Inventory Window status bar images for battery and wireless strength.
  • New File Transfer Window status bar images for battery and wireless strength.
  • New style frame for thumbnails.
  • Custom student images used when printing class layout.
  • Client properties correctly identifies Windows 8 (32 bit or 64 bit).
  • New style of dropdowns from Tutor Toolbar allowing additional options to be set.
  • Ability to send a quick custom message directly from the Tutor Toolbar.
  • Ability to select video to show directly from Tutor Toolbar.
  • Ability to select replay file to show directly from Tutor Toolbar.
  • Ability to pin drop down menus as floating windows.
  • Option to minimise Approved/Restricted lists.
  • New Student Desktop toolbar group icon.

Internet Filtering & Control

  • Support for Google Chrome Browser.
  • Support for Mozilla Firefox Browser.
  • New quick launch option available from the Tutor toolbar.

Application Filtering & Control

  • Ability to clear the student desktop.
  • Ability to minimise student applications.
  • Renaming of ‘Execute’ function to ‘Launch’ application.
  • Larger application icons overlaid on student icons.
  • New Quick Launch option available from the Tutor toolbar to replace the Execute at Client toolbar.


  • Group students randomly by team.
  • Group students by House/Colour.
  • Increased size of “select group” dialog.
  • Group dropdown displayed when right clicking the group menu.
  • Group tabs now resize if there isn’t enough space.
  • Group tooltips now display custom group images.

Tutor Start-up Modes

  • Option to disable Global Internet policy on start-up.
  • Option to disable Global Application policy on start-up.
  • Option to disable Global Print policy on start-up.
  • Option to disable Global Device policy on start-up.

Tutor Configuration Options

  • Ability to predefine Tutor Room list.
  • Option to include multiple rooms in preconfigured Tutor Room list.

Student Configuration Options

  • Exclude specific student machines from global policies.
  • Enable User Acknowledgement for Tech Console connections.
  • Enable Screen Scrape mode.
  • Easy Tutor access to Student Toolbar configuration.
  • New Lock Screen image for widescreen aspect ratio displays.

Print Management

The Printer Management feature now highlights to the teacher the number of paused print jobs requiring attention.

Testing Modules

  • New holding screen while a test is loading.

Help Requests

  • Redesigned Help Request user interface.
  • Visual Taskbar indicator shows new help requests.
  • Tutor Toolbar badge showing the number of open help requests.

Active Directory Compatibility

  • ADMX templates.

Show Video

  • Automatically copy missing video files as part of Show Video.
  • Show Video now supports more video formats.
  • Notification dialog highlighting how to end a show.
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