With the seemingly endless growth in popularity of mobile apps, it would be remiss of me not to take a second and jot a few words about how schools can utilise apps to stay connected to their community and increase efficiency in communication.
First and foremost, I think it is important to acknowledge that the way we communicate with one another outside of the classroom has changed. This change should be reflected in schools, who, in my most humble opinion, should be at the forefront of emerging technologies. Instead of the standard phone-calls, texts, and tangible newsletters, we are using pushing notifications, tagging each other in articles & sending each other E-newsletters.
So what are the benefits of a School App?
- Helps build and maintain good relationships with the wider school community.
Studies have shown that engaging with your wider school community can dramatically improve students’ learning and wellbeing outcomes and have a real positive impact on staff satisfaction. (https://bit.ly/2FOBj7R)
Mobile Apps are a fantastic way to send content, publicise school events and even garner opinions of parents and other stakeholders.
- Reduction in administration costs. Every year, schools can spend considerable amounts of the school budget on paper, printing, photocopying and postage. Some even send out glossy-mag newsletters, costing thousands. If used correctly, an App can serve as a direct line to the pockets of the parents, governors, and other stakeholders. A school can create a PDF version newsletter, put it on the app, then with a push notification they can encourage all stakeholders to read it, costing them a fraction of the traditional, "design newsletter > print newsletter > post newsletter" recipe we have become accustomed to. Text systems could be a thing of the past, as push notifications do not cost a penny and are simple to set up and even automate!
- Simplify payments
Lunches, school trips, sports equipment & school events may require parents to pay. This can often be a hassle for both the parents and the school. Many school apps will have a payment option, where parents can easily send money to the school.. Modern and Cashless.
4. Be heard. Reporting absences and issues has never been easier We have all heard the old adage "Communication is a two way street". Well, that street has never been easier to travel along. Now parents can raise issues and highlight areas of concern with teachers directly from their smartphone. They can request an appointment with the school, and even report absences (yes, we know... A signature is required, but dont worry, we've thought of that too).
5. Leading the way Having a School App can give a school that competitive edge when being reviewed by an inspector...or worse, a prospective parent who thinks they are an inspector. Slick communication, future proofing and engaging on a platform the students know and understand are all intangibly valuable to any school with a forward thinking SMT.