Schools are full of technology tools these days. Every school needs a website, a parent portal for grades and attendance, and learning management software for online class updates. While some schools have recently added a mobile app to their technology platform, others are still left with questions. Why do we need an app if our website is mobile responsive? or Why do we need an app if our parent portal provides one for grades? The advantage of an app is that it links all of these technologies together and finds your community members where they are—on their phones!
As a technology philosophy, if you build it they will come, is no longer working—they aren’t coming, or engaging. Now, we need to push the information into our families’, students’, and community’s hands. Here we present a day in the life of a feature-rich mobile app and how it’s utilized by all school community stakeholders. The app doesn’t replace the website, parent portal, or LMS—instead, it unifies and connects these tools and puts them directly into the pockets of your stakeholders.
8:05 am Monday morning - Principal
It’s the beginning of the school day and the principal uses the app to send a reminder to all families and students about the Homecoming game this weekend and the themes for dress-up days for Spirit Week.
8:55 am - Teacher
After first period, a teacher sends a personalized message to a parent through the parent communication app. This is the third day in a row their child has been ten minutes late to class. The teacher says that the first ten minutes of every class includes a pop-quiz and because their child has been late they've missed the quiz, and therefore possible points.
9:00 am - Parent
The parent receives a personalized message from the teacher about the tardies. The Parent was aware of the quiz grades from the Parent Portal App, but was unclear about why his child had earned those zeros.. Now that he knows, that saves the parent a round of phone calls to the school.
9:30 am - Student
A senior receives a push notification on the app about the college visits happening at the counseling office this week. They can add the event to their personalized calendar to remember to attend the visit from UCLA—where they've always dreamed of going.
10:30 am - Student
A sophomore sees a large camping backpack in the hallway by a teacher’s classroom door. It was there an hour ago during the passing period as well. The student has never noticed this before. They click on the Quicklink for the tip line on their app homepage and quickly snap and photo and report it. Shortly after the PE teacher is reminded to pick up their gear from outside the classroom where they left it.
11:00 am - Football Coach
The football coach sends a reminder to his team that practice today will be in the weight room, not on the field. Go Panthers!
3:00 pm - Parent
They click on the Maps functionality to see where to park for the first annual parent volunteer meeting. They are even able to see where to go once they have parked.
An important note: this parent has their push notifications turned off. However, they still use the app.
4:00 pm - Student
A 7th grader checks the app to see what they wrote for their homework assignments. They have a question about the assignment so they use the Staff Directory and click on their teacher to see what’s been posted on the teacher’s page. They make a note of the assignment in their Digital Planner, and when they get home that night they ask their parent to review their work when they finish it.
5:00 pm - Parent
The Parent clicks on the Staff Directory and quickly accesses the teacher’s web page to see the details of an assignment in Google Classroom. They realize they can receive alerts from this page so they subscribe to it, and then they check their child’s homework.
5:30 pm - Principal
The Principal is about to leave school for the day. She sends a quick push notification to all app users reminding them tomorrow is crazy sock day—and there are only four more days until the big game. She attaches a link in the notification to the school store to purchase tickets and spirit wear in advance.
At the end of a busy Monday, all school community stakeholders had an easy way to access the information that they needed when they needed it—through the school’s app. Best of all, this information can be translated into the user’s desired language, and a web version of the app is available for anyone who can’t download the app–always keeping in mind digital equity.