School Apps: Helping to Overcome the Challenges of Virtual Learning

October 16, 2020

In Australia, the fourth and final term for the year resembles a sense of normalcy with the majority of schools being able to welcome students back for on-campus learning. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. Around the globe, many schools are still soldering on through lockdown, doing their best to provide virtual learning experiences for their students. 

This is no easy feat! 

Even under regular circumstances moving to virtual learning takes considerable planning, let alone amidst a global pandemic that forced schools to pivot in just a matter of weeks. There have been more than a few initial challenges to overcome such as; technical issues and internet access, but today, we’re looking at some of the challenges busy families face in managing their children’s virtual learning. In this article, we’ll show you how your school can help families overcome these obstacles with the help of a school app. 

You might be wondering why should your school consider implementing a school app? If you haven't noticed, people are quite fond of their smartphones these days. In fact, research shows that in the US, people check their phones around 96 times per day – that’s about once every 10 minutes! With a dedicated school app, it’s easier than ever to connect with your school community, streamline existing software, and centralize all of your communication into one, accessible place that is guaranteed to be seen.

We’ve written extensively about the benefits of school apps, but for now, let’s jump into how they can help your school to overcome virtual learning challenges for families.  


They might be missing key news and updates 

Keeping your school community up to date with the latest news and information at your school is tricky at the best of times, let alone when families are juggling busy schedules and virtual learning. You can no longer rely on hard-copy newsletters, so perhaps you’ve switched to a digital format. This is a great first step, but what if there was an even more convenient way to get your message in front of the right eyes? 

Allow us to introduce you to the Digistorm App’s handy notices module. Now the main advantage of creating a notice within a school app over say, an sending an email, is that your community will instantly see a new message appear in their app, alerting them to your update. You can also easily send a notice to your entire school community, or just targeted segments based on subscriber categories. 



Communicate last-minute changes – quick! 

Another key challenge that comes with virtual learning is that it requires schools to be extremely agile. It’s not that easy to communicate last-minute changes about student schedules or health and safety updates. Your school might rely on email sending email communication, but this can be easy to miss! 

With a school app, you’re able to instantly send push notifications so that you can rest assured, knowing that your message has been seen. The great thing about push notifications is that they can be sent at any time, even if a user doesn’t have their school app open. They look a lot like regular text messages, but can only reach people who have downloaded your school app.



Keeping up with key dates and (virtual) events 

While in-person events have taken a big step back this year, there are still a number of dates and events families need to know about. Everything from upcoming assessment to public holidays, parent-teacher conferences can be documented in your school calendar. But again, families are busy so, it’s important to reduce the steps they need to take to gain this information. 

The Digistorm App allows your school to integrate your existing school calendar to pull through all of the key information, instead of having to rebuild it – pretty handy, right? This means that when carers open the calendar module in their school app, they’ll get a snapshot of everything that’s coming up. We’re all about making life easier, so another important feature is that carers can add this calendar to their native Google or Apple calendars on their smartphone and subscribe to receive notifications. 



Next steps

While it’s unclear how long schools will need to provide students with virtual learning, the benefits of a school app will remain long after we all return to normalcy. As families continue to navigate work, financial stress, and their child’s education, it’s important to make communication and organization as pain-free as possible. If you’re interested in learning more about the power of school apps, take a look at the resources below or get in touch with our friendly team today.