A Private Tutor Survival Guide to the Summer Holidays

Tutor

The school summer holidays are upon is – the kids are off school, and the teachers are sat with their feet up for the next 6 weeks! OK, so at least half of that is a lie but daily life is certainly different for teacher and student for the next month and a half. Whilst having a well-deserved break should be ‘Job 1’ for the mental health, wellbeing and basic happiness of a busy teacher, there are also massive opportunities to be found in the summer weeks.

 

We all know that every day of teaching is precious, and we also know students will typically fall back a bit over the holidays – the lack of daily study having a detrimental effect on progress in education. This set of circumstances is made even crueller by the fact that many modern school systems will evaluate students on entry into the school or new school year, benchmark them against their peers and establish expectations for the coming year. Set from a lower base capability off the back of a long summer break, this can result in a lowering of expectations and, ultimately, result in outcomes that do not reflect the true capabilities of the student.

Summer School!

 

Happily, there is a solution and one you are in a perfect position to offer – well-structured summer holiday tuition! I’m not sure who groaned louder at that prospect, the student enjoying the summer sunshine or the teacher who longs for a holiday the other 10 months of the year. There is one group who absolutely didn’t mutter under their breath at the idea though – the parents, and the parents are very likely to be your paying customer as a tutor. Parents want the best for their children of course, and as parents ourselves, Tutorially™ know as well as any other parent how often the ‘I’m bored, what can I do?’ refrain echoes around the living rooms and kitchens of family homes worldwide. Keep the children occupied for an hour and improve their educational outcomes? Awesome. Maybe even keep it light and fun so the kids are motivated rather than crushed in their holiday time? Even better. Make some serious money to fund a holiday whilst making your life easier for the rest of the academic year by improving student progress in education? Feels like we’ve got the whole package doesn’t it?

 

Get to it

So many extra-curricular activities come to a close for the summer break, so one of the most simple and effective things you can do to maximise tuition income over the holidays is make sure everybody knows you are still available for lessons! You won’t believe how many tutors completely ignore this period of the year, literally leaving money on the table. And somebody will profit from that, it might as well be you!

 

All the usual means of advertisement remain sensible – flyers in shops, leaflets, business cards and the like, but setting up a website is the most effective means of getting your message out to the world. If you do not currently have a website time may be a little short for getting one off the ground in time for the summer. Good news! Tutorially™ can give you some great short-cuts. Whether you choose to use your tutor profile right off the site or redirect your own custom domain name to it, Tutorially™ has you covered. We can help you with registering domain names and all the other things you’d need to do via our trusted partners, delivering you a polished and professional web presence. By creating a custom tutor profile on an already successful Internet site like ours, you can take advantage of our established position in search – putting you ahead of your tuition competition!

 

So now you’ve let everyone know your tuition services are available over the summer months, how do you make the sessions as much fun as possible, making the most of your holiday as well as earning some much-needed extra money over the summer months?

 

Find the Fun

 

You may very well find that whilst parents love the idea of lessons over the holidays, the students are less excited by the prospect – but there is no rule that says learning can’t be fun! Make sure to take advantage of technology to offer lessons on their terms – Tutorially’s fantastic online lesson capability enables you to teach from anywhere in the world, at whatever time works for everyone. Our online tutoring software is packed with features to make lessons every bit as enjoyable and interactive as face-to-face, and you can reduce travel time as well – maximizing the holidays for everyone!

 

Our advice would be to concentrate on the elements of study that your students most enjoy – maintain their enthusiasm and take advantage of the fact that they are not currently chasing down the next test score or entrance exam. The goal here is to keep the ball rolling by keeping up the good work you’ve been doing all year and prevented the dreaded summer slip backwards. Make sure to incorporate learning games into the rotation – the sessions will be much more fun for everybody! Try to avoid lengthy tasks and walls of text – the summer temperatures make it much harder for everyone to focus.

 

With those temperatures in mind, try to schedule lessons in the morning and evening to avoid the worst excesses of summer sun – mid-morning is likely to be popular with students; not so early that sleeping in is disrupted, but early enough in the day that the session is complete and the rest of the day free for enjoying with family and friends. And that goes for you as well as the students! Also, make sure to keep everyone properly hydrated during sessions since keeping everybody comfortable gives you the best chance of positive outcomes.

 

Thank You!

 

From everyone here at Tutorially™, thanks for all the fantastic work you’ve done over the academic year. If you choose to fill your summer with profitable tuition work, we’ve got the tools to help you succeed. If you’re planning to enjoy your break and make ready for the coming year, frankly we don’t blame you for that at all either! Enjoy your well-earned break.

 

Ready to join us? Everyone registers free with Tutorially™ – Sign Up today! Find students, publicise your services and benefit from the best online tuition software in the UK! You can keep up with the latest Tutorially™ news by following us on Twitter, and liking us on Facebook.

Advertisements

Software Development – good software architecture

Software Development

Software architecture like building a house requires a wide range of technical resources to work in a coordinated manner to deliver a fully functioning and fit for purpose end product.  Forgetting the scope, the budget and of course the timeline for a minute this blog will focus on a method of ensuring each resource has a clear technical responsibility, the project manager has an understanding of the technical components to deliver the project and more importantly the architect (*) can communicate the vision (after all the software development process depends on a thorough architecture).  These software architecture patterns have a variety of names which can be referenced including:

  • Client-Server
  • Three-Tier Architecture
  • N-Tier Architecture

(*) by architect here we refer to an enterprise architect however depending on the project this might be a technical architect (a professional who is technical in their capability and usual focusses on the technical solution layers – more on this later!), a solution architect (a professional who is more functional in nature and understands the product/tools available to deliver the required solution) or an network architect (a professional who designs solutions to ensure communications between devices/machines/components can efficiently take place without limits).

To breakdown a solution into technical components we can often focus on the logical breakdown of the solution and group the technical components into layers.  One logical grouping is based on the user being on one side and the lowest level on the other side – depending on how complex and how many layers you wish to create this typically is the data layer (or database).  In the next sections we will consider the different layers that may or may not form part of the abstraction of technical and/or functional design.  Remember good software development is about understanding the requirements both functional and non-functional along with the business landscape and not just creating the software we as developers like to create (business adaptability to change, availability of budget/resource/time etc).

Presentation Layer

This is the layer that is closest to the user and converts the data from the layer below into information which can be displayed on the required device(s).  Understanding the target devices, clients to display / present information (think Chrome, Edge, Alexa using Voice etc) and the required format of the information is critical in defining the presentation layer.  Within this layer we again try to abstract the layer even further – after all we don’t want to have to define a different structure for every client/device.  As experienced software developers we isolate the views based on the device type and technology – although there are different methods than can be employed.  As an example this would mean that we would use HTML and CSS to define a layout for clients that support HTML/CSS such as Chrome, Edge and Firefox or Swift for an IOS mobile app.  Often forgotten the presentation layer consists of all methods of display to a user which extends to emails, downloads and of course everything in between.

Business Layer

Often this layer is abstracted further but typically this layer holds the business logic / functional logic to determine what the presentation layer should display, and what data is required from the database.  This middle layer can be considered the facilitator to implement the core of the software and ensure the business functional requirements (and non-functional requirements to some degree) can be met.  Everything from determining whether a user can login through to interacting with 3rd parties to exchange data is handled in this layer.  Within this layer we will often further group functions based on their functional role – so finance functions would be grouped, CRM functions grouped and interface functions grouped.  Of course what the layers don’t tell you is what the layer will actually be made up of – the functionality can be split across one or more components – these could be an off-the shelf package to deliver some functionality, bespoke software development or an online software as a service.  As a qualified enterprise architect and certified IT Professional this is one of the greater challenges when choosing the right overall solution – examining what is currently available versus what is actually required.  Each integration point between systems will need to be carefully considered whether the benefits (cost, speed of delivery, reduced testing etc) outweigh the costs (duplicated data, failure processing, additional testing of interfaces etc).  In a later blog we will explore the method of balancing the scales when choosing whether to incorporate into custom software architecture standard packaged components.

Data Layer

Perhaps the easiest for everyone to conceptualise is the data layer which as the name suggests controls the storage and access of the data for the solution.  The data maybe distributed across one of more datastores/databases and the methods of accessing data might be different depending on the source.  For example where a third party accounting solution is being used and data is required to be exchanged – having an integration in this layer will ensure the business layer doesn’t care (or need to know) where the data comes from.  In terms of writing data to multiple sources this layer is responsible for ensuring the consistency is maintained and for the multiple updates/inserts – without the layers above perhaps being aware of the action.  Typical databases used are based on the standard SQL format (which is a relational database meaning we store the relation between data) however this could easily extend to reading/writing files, making webservice calls (using SOAP perhaps) and/or Amazon DynamoDB which is a non-relational database.

Layer communication

The whole purposes of layers is to cleanly segregate functions and define a clean method of communication between the layers – this speeds up the development process, reduces the implementation risk (as changes can be isolated often to a single layer) and also defines key responsibilities for each of the technical resources.  For example in web development we would have a number of our team working on the presentation layer (designers and front end developers), our business layer (technical architect, back end developers and integration specialists) and the data layer (database architect and back end developers).  We must therefore for all software solutions define the mechanism to share data between the different layers including supplying transactional data (success, failure, auditing information, permission date etc).

Jack Enterprises is an experienced software development company supporting clients across the UK & Europe.  Our in-house professionals support clients through the complete process of development and we pride ourselves on our business process focus.  Our software development methodology uses our own BPATH (Business Process At The Heart) to ensure we focus on delivering a solution that fits your business like a glove.

Tutor

A Private Tutor Survival Guide to the Summer Holidays

The school summer holidays are upon is – the kids are off school, and the teachers are sat with their feet up for the next 6 weeks! OK, so at least half of that is a lie but daily life is certainly different for teacher and student for the next month and a half. Whilst having a well-deserved break should be ‘Job 1’ for the mental health, wellbeing and basic happiness of a busy teacher, there are also massive opportunities to be found in the summer weeks.

We all know that every day of teaching is precious, and we also know students will typically fall back a bit over the holidays – the lack of daily study having a detrimental effect on progress in education. This set of circumstances is made even crueller by the fact that many modern school systems will evaluate students on entry into the school or new school year, benchmark them against their peers and establish expectations for the coming year. Set from a lower base capability off the back of a long summer break, this can result in a lowering of expectations and, ultimately, result in outcomes that do not reflect the true capabilities of the student. Summer School!

Happily, there is a solution and one you are in a perfect position to offer – well-structured summer holiday tuition! I’m not sure who groaned louder at that prospect, the student enjoying the summer sunshine or the teacher who longs for a holiday the other 10 months of the year. There is one group who absolutely didn’t mutter under their breath at the idea though – the parents, and the parents are very likely to be your paying customer as a tutor. Parents want the best for their children of course, and as parents ourselves, Tutorially™ know as well as any other parent how often the ‘I’m bored, what can I do?’ refrain echoes around the living rooms and kitchens of family homes worldwide. Keep the children occupied for an hour and improve their educational outcomes? Awesome. Maybe even keep it light and fun so the kids are motivated rather than crushed in their holiday time? Even better. Make some serious money to fund a holiday whilst making your life easier for the rest of the academic year by improving student progress in education? Feels like we’ve got the whole package doesn’t it?

Get to it

So many extra-curricular activities come to a close for the summer break, so one of the most simple and effective things you can do to maximize tuition income over the holidays is make sure everybody knows you are still available for lessons! You won’t believe how many tutors completely ignore this period of the year, literally leaving money on the table. And somebody will profit from that, it might as well be you!

All the usual means of advertisement remain sensible – flyers in shops, leaflets, business cards and the like, but setting up a website is the most effective means of getting your message out to the world. If you do not currently have a website time may be a little short for getting one off the ground in time for the summer. Good news! Tutorially™ can give you some great short-cuts. Whether you choose to use your tutor profile right off the site or redirect your own custom domain name to it, Tutorially™ has you covered. We can help you with registering domain names and all the other things you’d need to do via our trusted partners, delivering you a polished and professional web presence. By creating a custom tutor profile on an already successful Internet site like ours, you can take advantage of our established position in search – putting you ahead of your tuition competition!

So now you’ve let everyone know your tuition services are available over the summer months, how do you make the sessions as much fun as possible, making the most of your holiday as well as earning some much-needed extra money over the summer months?

Find the Fun

You may very well find that whilst parents love the idea of lessons over the holidays, the students are less excited by the prospect – but there is no rule that says learning can’t be fun! Make sure to take advantage of technology to offer lessons on their terms – Tutorially’s fantastic online lesson capability enables you to teach from anywhere in the world, at whatever time works for everyone. Our online tutoring software is packed with features to make lessons every bit as enjoyable and interactive as face-to-face, and you can reduce travel time as well – maximizing the holidays for everyone!

Our advice would be to concentrate on the elements of the study that your students most enjoy – maintain their enthusiasm and take advantage of the fact that they are not currently chasing down the next test score or entrance exam. The goal here is to keep the ball rolling by keeping up the good work you’ve been doing all year and prevented the dreaded summer slip backward. Make sure to incorporate learning games into the rotation – the sessions will be much more fun for everybody! Try to avoid lengthy tasks and walls of text – the summer temperatures make it much harder for everyone to focus.

With those temperatures in mind, try to schedule lessons in the morning and evening to avoid the worst excesses of summer sun – mid-morning is likely to be popular with students; not so early that sleeping in is disrupted, but early enough in the day that the session is complete and the rest of the day free for enjoying with family and friends. And that goes for you as well as the students! Also, make sure to keep everyone properly hydrated during sessions since keeping everybody comfortable gives you the best chance of positive outcomes.

Thank You!

From everyone here at Tutorially™, thanks for all the fantastic work you’ve done over the academic year. If you choose to fill your summer with profitable tuition work, we’ve got the tools to help you succeed. If you’re planning to enjoy your break and make ready for the coming year, frankly we don’t blame you for that at all either! Enjoy your well-earned break.

Ready to join us? Everyone registers free with Tutorially™ – Sign Up today! Find students, publicise your services and benefit from the best online tuition software in the UK! You can keep up with the latest Tutorially™ news by following us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Software Development

Software Development – good software architecture

Software architecture like building a house requires a wide range of technical resources to work in a coordinated manner to deliver a fully functioning and fit for purpose end product. Forgetting the scope, the budget and of course the timeline for a minute this blog will focus on a method of ensuring each resource has a clear technical responsibility, the project manager has an understanding of the technical components to deliver the project and more importantly the architect (*) can communicate the vision (after all the software development process depends on a thorough architecture). These software architecture patterns have a variety of names which can be referenced including:

Client-Server
Three-Tier Architecture
N-Tier Architecture
(*) by architect here we refer to an enterprise architect however depending on the project this might be a technical architect (a professional who is technical in their capability and usual focusses on the technical solution layers – more on this later!), a solution architect (a professional who is more functional in nature and understands the product/tools available to deliver the required solution) or an network architect (a professional who designs solutions to ensure communications between devices/machines/components can efficiently take place without limits).

To break down a solution into technical components we can often focus on the logical breakdown of the solution and group the technical components into layers. One logical grouping is based on the user being on one side and the lowest level on the other side – depending on how complex and how many layers you wish to create this typically is the data layer (or database). In the next sections, we will consider the different layers that may or may not form part of the abstraction of technical and/or functional design. Remember good software development is about understanding the requirements both functional and non-functional along with the business landscape and not just creating the software we as developers like to create (business adaptability to change, availability of budget/resource/time etc).

Presentation Layer
This is the layer that is closest to the user and converts the data from the layer below into information which can be displayed on the required device(s). Understanding the target devices, clients to display / present information (think Chrome, Edge, Alexa using Voice etc) and the required format of the information is critical in defining the presentation layer. Within this layer, we again try to abstract the layer even further – after all we don’t want to have to define a different structure for every client/device. As experienced software developers we isolate the views based on the device type and technology – although there are different methods than can be employed. As an example, this would mean that we would use HTML and CSS to define a layout for clients that support HTML/CSS such as Chrome, Edge, and Firefox or Swift for an IOS mobile app development. Often forgotten the presentation layer consists of all methods of display to a user which extends to emails, downloads and of course everything in between.

Business Layer
Often this layer is abstracted further but typically this layer holds the business logic / functional logic to determine what the presentation layer should display, and what data is required from the database. This middle layer can be considered the facilitator to implement the core of the software and ensure the business functional requirements (and non-functional requirements to some degree) can be met. Everything from determining whether a user can log in through to interacting with 3rd parties to exchange data is handled in this layer. Within this layer we will often further group functions based on their functional role – so finance functions would be grouped, CRM functions grouped and interface functions grouped. Of course what the layers don’t tell you is what the layer will actually be made up of – the functionality can be split across one or more components – these could be an off-the-shelf package to deliver some functionality, bespoke software development or an online software as a service. As a qualified enterprise architect and certified IT Professional this is one of the greater challenges when choosing the right overall solution – examining what is currently available versus what is actually required. Each integration point between systems will need to be carefully considered whether the benefits (cost, the speed of delivery, reduced testing etc) outweigh the costs (duplicated data, failure processing, additional testing of interfaces etc). In a later blog, we will explore the method of balancing the scales when choosing whether to incorporate into custom software architecture standard packaged components.

Data Layer
Perhaps the easiest for everyone to conceptualize is the data layer which as the name suggests controls the storage and access of the data for the solution. The data may be distributed across one or more datastores/databases and the methods of accessing data might be different depending on the source. For example, where a third party accounting solution is being used and data is required to be exchanged – having an integration in this layer will ensure the business layer doesn’t care (or need to know) where the data comes from. In terms of writing data to multiple sources, this layer is responsible for ensuring the consistency is maintained and for the multiple updates/inserts – without the layers above perhaps being aware of the action. Typical databases used are based on the standard SQL format (which is a relational database meaning we store the relation between data) however this could easily extend to reading/writing files, making web service calls (using SOAP perhaps) and/or Amazon DynamoDB which is a non-relational database.

Layer communication
The whole purposes of layers are to cleanly segregate functions and define a clean method of communication between the layers – this speeds up the development process, reduces the implementation risk (as changes can be isolated often to a single layer) and also defines key responsibilities for each of the technical resources. For example, in web development, we would have a number of our team working on the presentation layer (designers and front-end developers), our business layer (technical architect, back-end developers, and integration specialists) and the data layer (database architect and back-end developers). We must therefore for all software solutions define the mechanism to share data between the different layers including supplying transactional data (success, failure, auditing information, permission date etc).

Jack Enterprises is an experienced software development company supporting clients across the UK & Europe. Our in-house professionals support clients through the complete process of development and we pride ourselves on our business process focus. Our software development methodology uses our own BPATH (Business Process At The Heart) to ensure we focus on delivering a solution that fits your business like a glove.

Custom software development