School application – Mobile app for school communication with parents
School’s are starting to realize the benefits of having their own school application. A mobile application that their parents can install and that the school can use to communicate information to parents, quickly and efficiently. This article will cover what to look for in a school application, the costs involved in a school application and the benefits of having your own school application.
A school application must have…
The ability to send out messages without a charge per message. School’s should not have to count the cost of sending messages to it’s parent body. The messages must be able to be targeted. This is the 21st century so parents must be able to opt into the messages they want and the schools should send accordingly. Messages must go out fast and reliably.
It must be easy for the school (admin) to add and edit information on the mobile app. The designated school admin must have a web admin dashboard that they can log into and manage the school application. And this dashboard must be easy to use, simple, intuitive and, above all, powerful.
Access permission and different profiles. There are many different types of people involved in a school: pupils, teachers, parents, administrators, support staff etc. You want a school application that allows you to create different profile types for everyone who is involved. AND THEN you want to be sure that you can restrict all/all app content based on profile type. This is how you ensure that the right people only see the information they should see.
It must not cost too much! I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I?
What does a school application cost?
There are options, of course. In SA the most used one is the d6 schools communicator. There is no pricing on their website. I hear it is based on the amount of pupils in the school, on a sliding scale but in the thousands per month. Obviously there is little to no setup costs, they just create a new account for your school. You’ll have to contact them directly for exact pricing for your school.
I found one free one so I knew I had to include it here. It is called Bloomz and this is their website: https://www.bloomz.net/
Lastly you could build your own mobile school application. I have already written about the cost of building your own mobile app in South Africa, so I won’t get into that again. But we have also been doing some research and development into a school application. And we have an elegant solution for you.
The Internet UPstart (that’s us) can offer school’s their very own mobile school application in the range of R 40 000 to R 60 000, with a monthly hosting fee for the webapp at only R350/month (includes unlimited push notifications).
The benefits of a school application from The Internet UPstart:
Push Notifications – UNLIMITED
Probably one of the most useful and powerful features. Schools can send 4 types of push notifications: 1. General Notifications that go out to all parents. 2. Category based notifications that go out if they opted in to a certain category such as Grade 10. 3. Profile type based notification that goes to users based on their role (parent, teacher, administrator etc). 4. Individual push notifications that go to an individual user. Each of these methods of sending a push notifications has a variety of valuable use cases.
User Profiles and Access permissions
This feature provides personalised content to users. Here they can see information/schedule/events/updates about their own children. Only the parent has access to this information and the information is updated by the school app administrators.
Each school can create their own custom loyalty system. This can be to reward parents to attend certain events, the school coffee shop or anything where the school wants to increase parent participation and engagement.
Parents can navigate within the app to any event or location inside the app. This saves time and eliminates frustration.
View future and past events. Add them to your calendar. Share them with friends and family. Navigate to events using in app GPS. These events are easily managed by the school in their CMS Dashboard.
Important pdf documents such as maps, directions, class list etc. can be accessed while the mobile device does not have signal or wifi.
Conveniently read the food menu and pre-order for your kids with an easy form.
View the entire schedule of activities and deadline in one place.
Easily find an answer to your questions within the app.
One of the best things about apps for schools are electronic forms and how the data from them can be used to power a Google Sheet to organise data for instance. These forms are 100% customisable, they save time and are a pleasure to use within the app.
Easily control access to certain sections of the app with a pass code. This can be useful for app administrators.
Any YouTube video’s can be viewed without leaving the app or linking out to YouTube.
Your own web based dashboard
Schools can log in to to their own admin portal and view app analytics, manage events, manage content, send push notifications and more.