It’s that time of year again – back to school! While mobile devices have found their way into the classroom, we thought we’d take a look at some of the innovative ways schools and administrators are using mobile apps to engage students, faculty, parents and the community. Here are 4 ways school apps are getting an A+ in leveraging the power of mobile:
1. Engaging students and parents
Mobile apps aren’t just for shopping and gaming, they can also be used to provide utility and connect people to information that matter most in their daily lives. Apps can help provide up-to-the-minute news to both students and parents on school happenings and extracurricular activities, and can become a quick reference point for school policies, course calendars and notes. Apps can also provide additional value by linking to maps, bus routes and even sharing the daily lunch menu.
Carleton University provides news, links to campus services and academic information to students on the move!
Apps can also integrate with existing student information systems – like attendance records, grades and teacher comments – to give students (and parents!) real-time progress reports. Universities and colleges are also making use of apps for distance and online education, making it easy to submit assignments online and via mobile.
2. Access to information
With mobile penetration soon to outpace desktop PCs, providing easy to access information via a mobile app is also getting information to those who may otherwise be unable to connect to schools in the digital world. “A lot of people just can’t afford to necessarily have a computer at home or to have internet connection, well that’s changed in the past few years in terms of the accessibility of smart phones being really close to universal. And this is the way to access people, the computer that we carry around in our pocket,” says Phil Roeder, from Des Moines Public Schools, speaking of the new app the school district recently developed.
3. Opening the lines of communication
Parents can become even more engaged in their child’s school day and education thanks to apps. Besides publishing the latest news, schools can also send out push notifications to parents when there are emergency announcements (like school closings) and users can integrate their own calendars to keep track of important dates and school events. This can be especially useful to parents who are on the go and have their mobiles always within reach. Schools are also making it possible to connect directly to faculty and staff from the mobile app via click-to-call and click-to-email features. At the high school or university level, making it easy to contact teachers for questions or concerns can assist prospective and current students alike.
Apps can send alerts, integrate with smartphone calendars and provide a forum for discussion. Apps (L-R): Surrey Schools, York School District 1, Chippewa Falls Unified SD
4. Community involvement
Schools and school districts are also leveraging apps to communicate and solicit involvement from the public. By making it easy to contact board members, publishing board meetings, promoting fundraisers and linking to community events via social media, schools are engaging the public at large and establishing themselves as an influential part of the community. Some have even developed messaging features such a “tip lines” where community members are invited to voice their opinions or concerns on topics relating to the school. Are you an educator or school board member wanting to bring your school mobile? Check out our easy to use app building software! Image: designed by Freepik.com