The Pulse-App Pilot at Bishopsgarth Computing & Maths College
In the Summer Term of 2016, Pulse Technologies NE Ltd embarked on its pilot for the software it had been developing since July 2014. All in all, our 6 man team had worked tirelessly to deliver a project that boasted both an app and software offer to the education sector, one that finally addresses some fundamental questions and taboos in relation to how to safely, appropriately and directly communicate with students.
Pulse-App at the point of install at Bishopsgarth had been tested in a very sterile and largely unpressured environment, so when the team embarked upon the pilot, both the headteacher at the time and our CTO were extremely anxious as to how it was going to pan out. Will it work, what will it do when it is installed on the school’s own server, how will the wider MSI Group Policy installation go for all teachers to be able to access the software and most importantly, will the teachers, students and parents all embrace this new communication technology and allow it to support learning in the 21st Century?
We need not have been worried! The staff at the school were amazing and we launched the pilot with year 10 students. This group were all extremely intrigiued with the product and the launch included the opportunity for students and parents to download and login to the app using the unique organisation and personal credentials, which we knew would be the second real test on our infrastructure. Thankfully, all students and parents managed to download and login to the app. It worked without issue!
Challenge number three is now two fold – we need to send our first pilot notification message to an individual, we chose a boy called Joe O, and when he received the very first notification to his phone, he exclaimed, ‘Sir, this is awesome!’ Now to message every new user at once with a welcome notification message… Within 4 seconds, every student and active parent on every kind of device (Apple or Android), received the welcome to Pulse-App message as a notification on their phone. The applause that followed, caught us by surprise and I have to say that it made the previous 2 years’ work so worth it. Pulse-App had arrived.
Teacher training took place with regards to the Pulse-App, PulseCentral software and all staff took to the system with gusto. One teacher of art, Will G emailed a week into the pilot with a message saying that he was giving Pulse-App a ‘huge thumbs up’ as he could see that it was making a difference, particularly with those students who were borderline d/c grade (New GCSE Grading – 3/4).
A teacher of geography at the school, Karen S used the Pulse-App built in browser tool within PulseApp (the smartphone application) to send out her VLE homework links. A lot of students were then able to complete this work using the app on their phone without the use of a desktop or laptop computer. Something that was of huge value to both the student and the teacher. She noted a distinct increase in returned homework due to Pulse-App.
We completed the pilot at the end of the Summer Term 2016 and the results were 100% positive for our plan to complete all remaining development and develop the marketing and sales strategies to launch in the Spring Term of 2017.