School Apps, Are They The Way Forward?

At EdUnity, we're core believers in the power of apps, from the potential to instantly connect over 7 billion people worldwide to delivering time and money saving solutions for schools and colleges.

Aside from being an incredibly easy way to reach parents and students on the devices they use most, apps also have some great internal applications for schools and colleges. Namely, they're a great way to centralise things, and for schools, this has to be more important than ever before.  The biggest problems arise in the number of processes and different systems parents and students have to engage in. Whether that's completing a parent consent form, trying to find the latest school trip photos or just checking when term starts, we're almost certain that the majority of schools will have a different process for each, maybe something along the lines of...

  • For school consent forms, please print the attached letter and return it to the school office
  • For school trip photos, check the Facebook page
  • For our term dates, check the website

With this in mind, we aim to help schools and colleges bring everything to one place. Term dates, consent forms, communication, school trip photos - in one dedicated school app.

We believe the first step is centralising school administration. An app is a great way for schools to achieve this. In comparison to a traditional school website, apps provide an ability for parents and students not just to find and receive information, but also to provide it. Ideal for those moments you need parents to take an active and self-involved role in supporting school processes.

Putting this into context, let's briefly circle back to the all to familiar case of the "MIA" parental consent form. Rather than asking parents to print an emailed form, complete it, and return it. We're going to use a school app. We can easily add forms directly into a school's app, and then with a quick message send this out to parents to complete within the app.

School communication is just as important when it comes to school life and increasingly growing as a major focal point, but despite this growing focus, we're still largely reliant on the more traditional communication systems. Take, for example, bulk text messaging and emails, both potentially carrying large costs to schools. The fact is, sending an SMS text relies on cellular infrastructure and this is always going to carry a much higher service cost when compared to alternatives such as emails. However, emails aren't always suitable for moments when all you've got to do is get a concise message seen quickly. This is where apps can provide some pretty neat answers:

Broadcast Push Notifications: Push Notifications are an easy way to quickly send out short and concise messages to users. Perfect for every situation from a quick reminder to a school closure alert, push notifications are an effective way to reliably send out messages. Plus, as no cellular network is needed, sending notifications is free, making it much more affordable and lowering administrative costs for schools.

In-App Mailbox: Emails are undeniably a useful tool, they're quick and easy to send out larger messages as well as attachments. The only difficulty occurs when your school's emails get lost among all the other emails a parent might receive. So by having an in-app mailbox, it becomes much easier to show parents when they have unread school correspondence making it easier to act on whilst still getting all the useful features you would expect.

The whole idea of a school app is to reduce multiple processes which eventually lead to lowered parental and student engagement. Engaging with parents and students is great, it's an awesome way to create a truly brilliant school culture and environment. At the end of the day, successful education is largely reliant on motivation and if you can engage you're already halfway there.

Nevertheless, engagement has to be proactively led, and often (while social media is great for some things) it's too easy to get missed. Apps give a school the flexibility they need to engage with parents whether that's using a news streams with the latest updates, video and photo galleries to share those moments from the latest school trip or simply by providing much needed information such as term dates and event calendars. Crucially though, using an app created uniquely for your school, we can bring this altogether in a way that's easy to use.

Interested in learning more? We'd encourage you to reach out to us, you can drop us an email or arrange a free call back on our contact page. Our friendly team will be more than happy to help.