2020 was a year of change for many. One group that was particularly impacted was the student population. In many parts of the world, children and how they learn is now radically different from what it was before the pandemic and school apps have become ever more important.
At the start of 2020, the original assumption was that the impact due to the pandemic would be short-lived. However, this assumption rapidly changed as the scope of the emergency around the world became more clear. Governments around the world were concerned about many different things concerning how education would need to be delivered in the future. These questions included:
School mobile apps and university mobile apps have, over the past several years, become a way in which educational institutions communicate with their students and guardians. Recently, however, the pandemic has helped to speed up digital innovation and adoption across a host of industries and services. These changes have been particularly beneficial with applications for schools helping them become even more useful.
Users of smartphones tend to use the phone the least and depend on mobile apps for all of their communication, entertainment, and education needs.
School mobile apps provide a distinct function and are targeted at students and their guardians to improve communication. Schools used to offer a part of these capabilities through email and the web, but school apps are significantly more convenient and useful. Constant notification checking became a typical thing for everyone whether it’s a phone or a smartwatch, so school applications will help you stay up-to-date about everything related. That’s how all involved parties such as students, teachers, parents and others can interact and stay engaged at the same time in the same place.
Apps have some obvious benefits when compared to websites and email messaging. Not only is it easier to send a notification using an app, but you can also offer increased personalization with apps. Added to this are the mobile device features like the camera, GPS, and accelerometer that can become game-changing, and here is why:
Regardless of where and how your education is being delivered — whether it is a university, a public school, an e-learning company, or anything in between — a school e a mobile application offers many benefits. These apps connect parents, teachers, administrators, and students in a cohesive whole. Some of the many benefits of applications for schools include:
Apps can help build a community and improve communications.
Some school mobile app examples to consider include sharing details of unique seasonal activities, which students might not otherwise be aware of. Conversely, mobile apps can be used to communicate about last-minute cancelations or plan changes to quickly inform parents and students about a change in plans. These messages can be sent via push notifications to registered students so that they are informed promptly.
Communication does not only need to be from the school to the student. Many school mobile apps allow students and parents to provide absent notes to make sure that the school is aware of a child’s attendance.
Education is about more than the information in a textbook. For older children, especially, having access to online resources can be critical. School apps allow teachers to easily share specific blocks of text, as well as links to articles and more.
Mobile apps also provide teachers with a way of sharing video and audio files. This could be related to the topic at hand or could even be a recording of the lesson itself. By creating a library of content that grows over time, students can pick the selection that is most relevant to them.
This helps to guarantee that students always have access to all of the information they need, which can be extremely helpful to students that are ill or away from class for whatever reason.
Schools are always chronically under-funded, regardless of the age bracket they serve. While bake sales might suffice to make up the shortfall in a public elementary school, larger institutions require more funds. This is where a school mobile application can help.
School apps offer improved brand recognition, which can be a driver in itself, as well as the opportunity for monetization. From a brand visibility point of view, apps with a recognizable school logo that are always visible on a home screen are a much more powerful marketing tool than any website.
With thousands of companies looking for a way to advertise to students and their parents, a mobile app offers schools an easy means of monetizing unused space. For smaller institutions, opportunities with local businesses can be explored. Larger educational institutes might want to explore partnership opportunities or even PPC ads.
Another method of monetization that should be explored is premium content. EdTech institutes and universities can employ subscriptions as a means of earning revenue from students. If this model is explored, the content will need to be put behind a “paywall” with only certain lessons being offered for free. It is key that the quality of these lessons be exceptional, as potential students will use your free content as a way of comparing you to your competition.
Apps also provide a way of charging and receiving money. With an app, schools can charge regular school fees and can even charge micro-payments for access to resources or events. Too, apps can be used to charge penalties for things like late fees on books. While not a revenue generator in itself, the app can help to regulate payments, removing the onus from the school of chasing students.
Mobile school apps can be the single home for all things a student is interested in and can track all of their information, including grades and reports. This information can be shared with parents, letting them track the progress of their students, even if they are unable to speak directly to the teacher.
When it comes to picking a solution for your institution, the criteria to consider is whether you choose to go the “off-the-shelf” route, or are more interested in custom application development.
The first idea that comes to mind is to start exploring existing solutions for your needs. There is a vast range of ready-made solutions from which you can choose from. Although they have wide functionality, finding the one that suits you may take a while.
Unlike off-the-shelf apps, custom-built apps or bespoke apps are designed for a specific purpose. When it comes to schools, custom-built solutions are often a better option for a variety of reasons.
To create an app of your own, you need to get experts. For a problem-solving app, you need to set up correct goals, explore your target audience and based on it, select the required mobile platform. Find out about all the stages of mobile app development.
While the initial upfront cost is often higher than an off-the-shelf alternative, this investment pays dividends like that in the longer term:
To explain how one can get their benefits from a custom-built app let’s look at the actual case where NIX took part in. MindTap is a digital educational platform run by Cengage, aimed at simplifying students’ work with an extensive amount of content, customizing it to suit their needs, test their activity, progress, and performance. A priority task for developers was in optimization of an existing UI performance, reducing the probability of memory leaks and maximizing data storage that provided faster processing. As a result, MindTap gained the biggest number of users in a month, unique sessions, and expanded the course catalog.
Today, students, teachers, and parents need an alternative way of communication. School mobile apps cannot replace one-on-one conversation; but they can act as an excellent supplement, helping to forge stronger bonds and build communities.
Each option may be taken into consideration for your school or university depending on features suitable exactly to your educational needs. In the case of MindTap, their main goal was a fast extension and enhanced performance, so a custom-build app was the decision with regard to the prospect.
Technology continues to evolve and change and mobile are at the forefront of that change. Done correctly, school mobile apps can help enhance a school’s reputation and improve the lives of all. If you are interested in learning more about school apps and want to understand how this technology can help your institution, be willing to implement AI to your e-learning app or you need AR for future lessons – ask the NIX team for help.
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