Social School – The Current Problem
The idea for the social school app is based on the need for schools to reduce costs wherever possible, but without reducing their educational or communication standards. Schools are no different than businesses, they need to manage their costs and improve how they can operate and use whatever technologies and tools can help them achieve this.
Parents, and mums in particular, have to balance the demands of work, children, as well as a busy home and social life; they have to be organised, efficient and juggle tasks and demands on their time. Anything that can make life a bit easier should be a welcome solution then. However, many schools are still using old forms of email and printed paper to communicate and these often get left to one side, forgotten or worse still binned.
A social school though would use social technologies to benefit both the school and mums; making it easy to communicate, provide information that is easy to access and tools that filter out the ‘don’t need to know’ leaving just the ‘need to know’.
The problems that the social school app could help with:
- paperwork has to be distributed and sent out to people, often with important information mixed in the with the ‘nice to know’
- often pieces of information come out separately causing disjointed communications
- Mums have to take the information and add it to their organisers e.g. calender or they don’t
- schools have little or no clear feedback mechanism that is easy to use – involves parents phoning in, grabiing teachers or staff at the end of the day
- common questions are repeated to many people taking up time, no visible open questions or FAQs e.g. for a field trip
- administration have to deal with multiple channels: phone, print, email face-to-face incurring costs and time
The Social School App – The Idea
The social school app is based around the idea of an app that seamlessly knits together the important tools and processes as well as provides useful benefits such as alerts.
Social School App – Benefits For Mums
The social school app would enable mums to have an easy access to what is going on at the school for their child(ren). Information would be filtered (although mums could view more if they wanted) so that class timetables, events, notices related to them. A social school app would also:
- enable mums to easily connect and help organise school runs or pick ups – they can connect through Facebook and use this as well for messaging in the app but also on private or open messages on Facebook
- quick view would present the key events coming up e.g. highlighted in a colour dates and schedule
- each event could be clicked on and it would show any check lists or important information related to the event
- within the social school app mums would be able to quick message school if a child was ill
- mums could message the school to ask questions direct to a teacher (not to be abused – need guidelines on this)
- alerts and other features of the phone could be used to help set notifications/reminders and messaging
Social School App – Benefits to the School
The social school app provides the school with an efficient way of communicating essential information to parents/mums. Important communications that needed signatures could be used so that a digital signature is required by the app e.g. secured through a pin (prevent children from using mums app!). Feedback and easy one stop interface would save and money as well as be more efficient.
- the social school app reduces paperwork and associated handling time and costs
- provides efficient processes to manage communications e.g. see who hasn’t responded and send quick message reminder
- quickly have access to who is off sick and immediately notifies the related teacher as well as admin
- provides easy methods to gain feedback from parents reduces need for face-to-face meetings
- helps stimulate more open and collaborative approach e.g. organising events/requests for help/ideas
The Social School App – One Stop
The social school app can be built across multiple mobile platforms so that it is a low cost solution with an easy to use web based interface for administrative staff as well as through parents that do not have a mobile app. The user interface on the phone would be a simple set of choices that would each lead to more detail. All aspects of the app notifications could be tweaked to suit the person using the app. Overall it represents a step change in how schools could communicate with parents as well as help organisationally.