The innovators behind edly: DataDIGEST COO Alastair Christian (left) and CEO David de Villiers (right).
The innovators behind edly: DataDIGEST COO Alastair Christian (left) and CEO David de Villiers (right).

It’s common knowledge that education systems in Africa is in crisis, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranking countries on the continent near the bottom.

Realising how vital education is in shaping the future of our country, two dads in Cape Town have decided to take action by developing edly: An innovative new cloud-based platform that’s aiming to raise the standards of education by lightening the load for stressed teachers.

It was developed throught their company DataDIGEST, a Western Cape-based software developer. Edly is a first on the continent and DataDIGEST CEO David de Villiers says: “We’re passionate about education and want to help raise the standards around the world. We believe teachers are the key to a great education and that’s why we develop solutions that empower them in the classroom.”

The tool, which can be customised to suit a school’s unique set of principles and code of conduct, runs on any computer, tablet or smartphone. It comprises three apps (for now): edly Attendance and edly Behaviour allow teachers to easily and swiftly capture class attendance and behaviour, while edly Note! sends instant reports to parents. The apps seamlessly work together to take the hassle out of school admin.

“We believe that a student’s progress and results directly correlate with how much time and interaction they have with their teachers. edly helps create more quality time by allowing teachers to cut their admin time,” David says.

edly’s development was also based on the insight that the best results are achieved when teachers, parents and students work closely together. “Teachers within a school’s edly network can access students’ information at any time and receive instant reports on their behaviour and attendance, which opens up the channels for better collaboration and communication within schools,” explains David.

It’s not always easy for teachers to talk to parents about their children’s behaviour. But educators can rely on edly’s parent communicator, edly Note!, to keep parents in the loop.

Teacher Carin van Graan, who is putting edly to the test at her school, says: “We’re able to involve the parents on a daily basis by sending them an SMS or e-mail [via edly Note!]. This takes a lot of the emotional heaviness out of the task, which means you can get the job done a lot quicker and more effectively.”

Jon-Paul Ruschembaum, another teacher who has also been using edly, adds: “Learners find this system helpful in it that it informs parents about their behaviour, hopefully increasing [their] involvement in their kids’ lives. I find the system extremely helpful and even fundamental for any class or school.”

The edly packages range from a free, basic package that can be used by up to three teachers for an unlimited time, a premium package for larger groups and a special package for pre-schools.

“DataDIGEST is passionate about education, so for us it’s a fantastic achievement to be able to contribute to its development through edly. We look forward to seeing the platform grow and giving every teacher the opportunity to experience its positive outcomes in their schools,” concludes DataDIGEST COO, Alastair Christian.

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