School apps are on the up as more and more schools are developing mobile apps to communicate with parents and students. How do school apps function in everyday life? And do apps really prove their worth?

How can we improve our communication with parents? Many school boards are dealing with the same issue. A school app proves to be the best solution: the parent’s smartphone takes the centre stage in all communication. Apps are fast, reliable and comprehensive in everyday life. Parents seem to read better and remember more when school communication is channeled through their mostly used device. And the attention value of push messages exceeds that of emails or paper notes by far.
Many school apps have been built after the publication of previous our article about the benefits and possibilities of school apps. Let’s now see how they work in practice. We asked an expercienced reseller, a first time app builder and a school vice-president.
“A school app proves to be of greater effectiveness than sending e-mails, handing out notes or publishing news and photo’s on a website, cause people just don’t read that old school media,” says app builder and reseller Jacy Toetenel of Melange Design. Jacy has built several websites and school apps for a broad range of clients and is well aware of the average school need.

“A free day tomorrow? Why didn´t you tell me?”

A mobile app is the most versatile communication tool,” appbuilder and AppMachine reseller Jacy claims. “Information is more accessible and interaction is stronger. Ok, people don’t forget the standard school holidays, but the incidental day off? Many parents turn out to be unpleasantly surprised that they’ve missed the announcing mail or note. ‘O, no, how do we arrange child care on such short term? Can’t you take a day off?’

With an app you send parents a reminding push message just a couple of days earlier. That message appears directly on the smartphone screen, making its attention value much higher. “I’ve seen many schools scheduling various push messages for the whole year,” says Jacy.
All school forms on your phone

Another advantage that proves to be working well is the use of various forms in the school app. Parents are pleased to find all school forms available on their smartphone. Ask for special leave? Register for extracurricular activities? A few taps on the screen will do the job.
Reporting an absent sick child also becomes easier with an app. You don’t have to call school, or wait for someone to answers the phone (they hardly do at 7.30 AM, right?) Just open the app, tap on the icon and send the message. For the school administration the absence of all those incoming calls can be a relief.