School Apps

4 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a School App

March 7, 2021

We know that we’re a little biased here, but a school app can be a transformative communication tool for your community! But, we don’t need to tell you that, after all, you clicked on this post because it’s highly likely that you’re thinking about implementing one at your school. 

Introducing a new piece of tech into your school’s existing digital ecosystem is a big step. You have communication goals to kick, you need to make sure the app integrates with your school management system, and that you’re not adding a tonne of extra pressure onto your team’s already packed workload. 

So, where do you start? In this post, we’ll ask you four key questions to help you choose the perfect school app. 

 

1. What problem are you trying to solve?

If we may so bold, we’re going to assume that a key motivator for implementing an app at your school is because your family-school communication isn’t quite as smooth as it could be. Did we hit the mark? If this is you, don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’ve talked to many schools who told us that before implementing an app, streamlining communication was one of their biggest challenges

Think about it, you probably have several different channels to communicate with parents, students, and your staff. Perhaps just some of these channels include:

  • Email 
  • Newsletters
  • Social media 
  • School website
  • School blog
  • Direct mail 
  • Event calendar 

Not only does your team need to juggle several different communication channels, but you also need to ensure that families engage with what you’re communicating to them! In a mobile-first world, where nine in 10 people own a smartphone, it makes sense to place all of this information in one easy-to-access place. Whether you're struggling to engage your community or need to find a way to cut down the number of communication channels your school currently uses, it’s important to identify the core problem you’re trying to solve.

Once you’ve done so, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty details, we’re talking app modules! Every school comes with its own set of unique communication requirements, so let’s start looking at how to design the perfect app.

 

 

 

2. What functionalities will you need?

The beauty of a Digistorm school app is that you get to choose which modules are going to help you achieve your communication goals. We’ve built a wide range of custom and standard modules to choose from, but here’s a quick list of some of the most-loved features (according to our schools). 

Calendar 

Our calendar module allows you to integrate with your school’s existing calendar so that families can get all the information they need about upcoming events in one place.

Newsletter

Designed to help boost your newsletter engagement, this module gets more eyes on your school newsletter by enabling quick push notifications to alert families when your latest edition has been published.

Notices

Don’t rely on paper notices making it from the school bag to the kitchen table, instead, you can send timely and targeted communication directly to your school community. 

Timetables

Students and their families can see everything from a weekly overview to class information, subjects, class times, room locations, and more with this handy module. 

News

Get the word out — fast! When something exciting happens at your school, your community will be the first to know with the news module that dynamically pulls recent headlines from your website, straight to the app. 

Extracurricular

Rehearsal location changed? Football practice canceled due to wet weather? You can keep families across all of the last-minute changes to any extracurricular activities in real-time! 

Of course, these are just some of the many school app modules we offer — we can even build custom modules if you’re looking for something a little different, just ask! 

 

3. Could an integration boost the user experience?

Okay, the final (and perhaps most important) question when considering a school app is deciding whether integrating with your existing school management systems would boost the overall user experience? Integration is a key focus for us here at Digistorm, and while it can take some work to get things set up, there are numerous benefits once it’s done.

We’ve teamed up with leading software providers to develop clever app integrations for our schools. We partner with Schoolbox, TASS, Edumate, and Clipboard, just to name a few. An integration between your app and SIS is a powerful way to further improve efficiencies within your by creating meaningful links between your existing software systems. Why not take things one step further (and easier) by integrating essential third-party communication tools such as social media feeds, calendar, and video players! 

 

4. How secure is the app?

Understandably, data security is a major concern for schools so it's important to ensure that your new school app will be safe and secure. When creating a new school app, we always secure personal data between the user's mobile device and our servers through SSL encryption. Put simply, this means that before any data leaves a user's device, it's encrypted and can't be unencrypted by any server other than Digistorm's! 

 

Ready to take the next steps toward a Digistorm App? Talk to our friendly team today about a personalized demo for your school (totally obligation-free, of course!) While you’re here, why not check out some of our resources to see how schools just like yours use school apps to streamline communication.