Nearly all your teachers, students and parents are using mobile devices. Apps like Kindle, YouTube, BlackBoard and WhatsApp are improving their lives outside of school. Why, then, aren’t you using your own custom app to improve their lives in school?
It’s a great question, and one that we have an answer for—but before you jump on the mobile app bandwagon, it’s important to know just why a mobile app is so important. The following five questions can help you decide if an app is right for your organization, define important features, and understand just how powerful a tool an app can be.
Who is the app for?
“It’s for our school, duh!” Yes, but who will the app serve? If you represent a daycare, kindergarten or middle school, your biggest user base will probably be parents, followed by teachers. An app for a high school, on the other hand, is going to be used by everyone—students, teachers, parents, bus drivers, even the school board. Colleges and vocational schools may use it to keep in touch with current students and alumni. Understanding your user base will help us customize the app to meet your needs.
What processes will it improve?
What are your school’s “pain points?” Parent/teacher communication? Notifying students of grades? Ensuring the safety of your students? Your app can solve many problems, including the following:
Reducing miscommunication between parents, teachers and staff
Improving emergency awareness before, during and after emergencies
Reminding users of upcoming events or due dates
Digitizing registration forms, permission slips and other documents
Streamlining absence requests and reporting
Discouraging bullying, harassment and threats with easy in-app reporting
As we discuss your app, tell us about the problems that keep you up at night—chances are, one of our app features can help.
Do I want to sell anything through an app?
Your app can include multiple payment features. Tuition payments can be made in-app. Parents and alumni can easily donate at preset or custom amounts. Fundraisers can sell items through the app, and sports teams can sell or lease school merchandise or sports gear (go, sports team!). We use low-cost payment processing solutions, so you can accept payments through all 4 major credit cards.
Am I willing to talk about my app?
This is an important, but easily solved, question. Your app will serve best when all users—parents, teachers and students—are aware of its use. Notify them via email, put up posters, or simply ask, “have you seen our new school app?” Staff training is included in our services at no extra cost, and we’re happy to help get the word out.
What Content do I want?
Many existing online services can be linked through a mobile app (social media pages, for example), and by combining these with other app features, much of your school’s content and processes can be digitally improved. Live video feeds can be integrated into the app for quick access. School news can be posted, either as a shareable link or PDF. Important documents can be shared with all users. Colors, images and logos can all be customized to your school. School calendars can be viewed in-app for everything from band practice to alumni events. We’re excited to show just how much your app could do, so please don’t hesitate to ask.
A Mobile App can Change Your School
If you’re not asking these five questions yet, you will be soon. We live in a time when mobile apps are becoming more and more important, perhaps, vital, for educational institutions. Thankfully, they’re also becoming easier to implement, more affordable, and more feature-rich than ever. They allow schools to reach their students and parents on technology they already own, without investing in hardware that will be obsolete (or broken) in a year. They can help ensure students feel safe at school, reduce the strain on teachers and staff, and ensure parents are quickly notified of their child’s well-being. What’s not to love?