School App Evolution

By August 10, 2017 Blog

3-minute read.

“How to make the App switch”

Getting parents to download and use your existing school App was hard. Now that you’ve decided you need to move to a new secure App – how do you go about it without alarming parents? A strategic approach is required. Spending a little time planning the change will build parents’ confidence and engagement.

Act Like a Politician

“Never admit that the previous App was anything other than the base level technology available at the time” a highly-successful school principal once told us.

Most parents would be unaware of the security issues relating to the old App and principals certainly would not want to advertise the failings to the parent population.

In introducing a new App, principals should communicate the school’s progressiveness in embracing the latest technology and security developments rather than focusing on the limitations of the old App.

Don’t focus on the failings of the old App

Parents will follow good leadership. Schools should focus how the new App meets the increasing security requirements of the modern communication environment.  The message should be that the old App was suitable then, but the new App technology is necessary now.

Talk about improvement & the benefits of the change

Most people are motivated to change if they know that a new App will not only continue to deliver the benefits of the old App, but also provide enhanced benefits.

Based upon the school’s research and the special features available with MGM’s School Star, you will be in a good position to explain the benefits of change.

Provide a reason for change

For example, if you’re switching to MGM School Star, you could point to:

  • The secure 2-stage registration: only users authorised by the school have access to the App. With recent publicity about breaches in data security and child safety, parents will appreciate the move to a more secure method of communication.
  • Automatic App notification switch over to SMS: if a parent does not have the App or an internet connection they will still receive important or emergency alerts by SMS. A great safety and convenience feature for parents.
  • Information Tagging: news and stories are labelled (tagged) meaning that parents can set their favourite tags on the School Star App. Any updates relevant to their interests are immediately available on the front screen; no more ‘old news’ or blank spaces on the App interface.
  • Hot buttons: these take parents immediately to key information such as the latest newsletter, canteen specials, term dates, permission forms, school camp details or school policies. This feature not only makes it easier for school staff to keep data up to date and save printing, it avoids parent frustration in accessing information on the web.

Support for parents making the change:

Parents will also benefit from active school strategies to help parents load and use the app like:

  • Printing the MGM ‘Apple’ and ‘Android’ download instructions. These can be sent home with students, along with an explanation of the benefits of the new App. Instructions can also be included in the school’s ‘enrolment pack’ issued to new parents;
  • Have hard copy instructions at the front office and encourage parents to download the App whilst they are waiting to pick up their child or attend a meeting;
  • Arranging ‘group’ downloads (for example, at meeting of the P& F, School Council or Meet & Greet).
  • Getting staff to download the App and subsequently helping parents;
  • Identifying parent influencers in the school who may spread the word to other parents.

And finally, write your content in the right way

Research shows that of the parents who download your school App, only 25% will use it again! To ensure your parents keep using your school App, correct drafting and presentation of your school news is critical. (Disclosure: MGM’s School Star App has the analytical capabilities to measure parent engagement and show you which news items your parents are reading and which they like most.)

To request a free school communication consultation for your school by an MGM expert, simply click here, fill out your details and an MGM Consultant will be in touch.

Next Article … How to Write and present compelling content for school Apps.

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