In the olden days, communication between parents, teachers, and school administrators was fairly straightforward. Back then, school communities likely made do with the occasional telephone call, permission slip for field trips, and face-to-face parent-teacher conference. All parties would be happy with such arrangements as long as schoolchildren could get the most out of their lessons, go about their daily routines, and stay safe during school-sanctioned activities.
But the mindset for communication has evolved as quickly as our children’s learning environment. As kids in this generation strive to navigate an increasingly globalised, fast-paced, creative, and challenging world, the educational sector becomes obliged to pick up the pace. Luckily, schools have modernised communication tools to help them, and many have implemented the community-wide usage of a school and parent communication app.
If you are employed at a school, or possess an active role in a school’s decision-making body, perhaps it’s time you advocated the use of a school communication app. A dedicated app could improve information dissemination processes, responsiveness, and cooperation amongst leadership figures in the school—and consequently, shape the holistic formation of schoolchildren. To guide you on choosing the right app, here are some factors to consider:
The app’s promise of efficiency
Look at the range of what the school communication app is able to do. Ideally, it should be able to fulfil simple functions—such as helping report when a pupil is absent, or recording distinctive answers from permission slips in one database—without any hiccups. The app developer should be happy to demonstrate these functions to you.
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Speed and custom options for information dissemination
Information dissemination is crucial in a school setting, be it for publicising special school events or providing updates in emergency situations. See if the app has features such as a customisable newsletter function that can allow circulars to be passed around and shared with ease, as well as push notifications to send important alerts to students, educators, and parents.
Organised content updating and sharing mechanisms
Perhaps the keystone feature of the app should be the school calendar, which can be made to sync with the calendar of the tasked school administrators. With a calendar function on the app, everyone can stay abreast of important school events—occasions such as parent-teacher conferences, school fairs, and sporting meets—and manage their time accordingly.
User-friendliness and accessibility across a number of platforms
The app should be pleasing to the eye, easy for everyone to use, and accessible across different smart devices. This ensures that even the most “old-school” amongst parents, teachers, and staff can properly manipulate the app.
Partnerships with reputable advertisers
If the school communication app is free to use or can be downloaded with a minimal fee, then it’s likely that their funds are coming from regional or local advertisers. The app developer should be upfront with you about the nature of sponsored content on the app; they should also seek your approval for the said content, guaranteeing that there is nothing there that goes against the school’s rules and core values.
A heightened sense of community
Ultimately, the app should be capable of doing one important thing: keeping the various members of the school community linked to each other. If its features can accomplish this—and as such, make it a pleasure for parents, teachers, administrators, and students alike to interact—then it is probably worth rolling out.
It’s true, the times have changed. Technology plays a much bigger role in our lives today. However, there remains the task of raising young members in our community to the best of our abilities. With the help of the right school communication app, all it will take is the cooperation of a virtual village!