South Yorkshire firms collaborate to improve standards in class

3 November 2014

A Barnsley digital marketing agency has collaborated with education specialists to create two mobile apps to help improve standards in the classroom.

HMA Digital Marketing has built the apps for Optimum Reports, of Doncaster, to cut down the paperwork staff need to do to keep track of teachers’ and pupils’ progress.

The Teacher Profile app allows head teachers and senior managers to log teachers’ performance and monitor their progress - a task currently done on paper. The app will help schools assess teachers’ training needs and performance.

The O-Track Pupil Tracking software was initially designed as a web-based programme to monitor whether pupils have reached outcomes required by the National Curriculum. The web tool is very successful, with more than 1,000 schools using it and more schools regularly coming on board.

Now HMA Digital Marketing has designed an app version, meaning teachers can log the findings on a tablet in the classroom while they teach and save time by not having to fill in forms later on.

Tom Parkinson, of Optimum Reports, said: “Staff in schools have to do a lot of paperwork, monitoring, logging and providing evidence of progress and learning. These two apps cut down the amount of time needed to do all that.

“It also means the data logging is likely to be more accurate as it is done at the time and doesn’t rely on someone remembering what happened or on scribbled notes.

“This real time capturing of pupils’ learning also allows for more regular and meaningful reporting to parents; so that parents can now understand what skills their children have learned, instead of being told that they are working at some arbitrary level, which may not mean much to them.”

The apps have been ordered by more than 100 schools within the first week of their release.

HMA Digital Marketing was one of the first digital agencies to launch in the UK in 1996 – before even Google existed – and has found the move into app development has helped its growth. In the last 18 months alone staff numbers have doubled from 11 to 22.

Other clients include multinational technology business 3M, commercial property management company MEPC, Network Rail and the Universities of Sheffield, York and Essex.

Nicola Tiffany, client services director of HMA, said: “Having worked with Optimum Reports for the last eight years and seen their business flourish, our own expansion has meant we’ve been able to support them in developing new and exciting products.

“App development has become a core part of our business and this project shows that there are lots of innovative ways apps can be used from the classroom to the boardroom.”

Notes to editors

Attached photograph shows Nicola Tiffany of HMA and Tom Parkinson of Optimum Reports.

HMA Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency, based on Sackville Street in Barnsley.

For more information go to www.hma.co.uk

Media contact at HMA: Fiona Higgins on 01226 209 450 or at fiona@hma.co.uk

For more information about the apps and about Optimum Reports go to www.optimumreports.co.uk

Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 07792 764891or kate@capitalbmedia.co.uk

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