Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

North East software entrepreneurs launch a world first

TWO SOFTWARE entrepreneurs are set to launch a new software program designed to capture children’s opinions about their school life in a bid to help staff monitor and improve the school’s performance.

Newcastle-based Jeremiah Alexander and Peter Hirst are launching their new business, Every1Speaks, at BETT 2011 - the world’s largest exhibition of educational technology products held at Olympia, in London this week.

Peter Hirst, company director, said capturing the student voice is rising up the priority list for most schools, but no objective way to collect information exists yet.

“Getting the opinions of pupils has become a concern for many schools,” said Mr Hirst.

“Some even include a pupil on the panel when interviewing for new teachers or hold focus groups of children to get their opinion on life in the classroom.

“But there are some real issues with capturing data that way, because the natural teacher-pupil relationship can inhibit the response or it could be an unfair reflection of what the main school body believes.”

The software program aims to help staff capture ‘student voice’, a term used to describe pupils’ opinions and views on all aspects of their school life, ranging from what they are taught in lessons to how school dinners can be improved.

Many education experts believe accommodating the opinion of students enhances youngsters’ engagement in school and could help improve their grades.

Four schools across the North East, one in New Zealand and one in Cornwall have helped develop and pilot the software and interest in purchasing the product began well in advance of its launch – from as far afield as Canada and California.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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