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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, School mobile application - Pro's and Con's? in Technical; Hi there again, No idea if this is the right forum to post this is - Mods, feel free to ...
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    School mobile application - Pro's and Con's?

    Hi there again,

    No idea if this is the right forum to post this is - Mods, feel free to move this to elswhere.

    Myself and other members of the I.T team went to a meeting the other day to discuss how we can improve the usage of I.T within school - a consultant from another school mentioned that his school have just recently released an iPhone and Android application to make it a little easier to share information about the school to parents, the pupils and staff members.

    So we are looking to do the same (the developers have offered us a fantastic price so we are seriously looking into this).

    I am compiling a list of Pro's and Con's for the next meeting, so can you guys think of any? I'm mainly asking just incase I have missed something critical out.

    Thanks very much.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Just make sure that pupils can't use it as an excuse for using their phones in school... which is likely to be against your behaviour policies!

    No phone policies aside, I can see plenty of uses for it!

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Apps are good just don't restrain the content to just the app shutting out people without those phones. Good to target multiple platforms and have a web only fallback. I'd target WP7 too just because that it my personal prefference

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    My personal opinion is that it is a gimmick but if it works why not.
    I imagine it is one of those build-a-free-app jobbies that uses the school RSS feeds and some static pages. You may as well build a nice web app that would be cross device compatible and be done really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Just make sure that pupils can't use it as an excuse for using their phones in school... which is likely to be against your behaviour policies!

    No phone policies aside, I can see plenty of uses for it!
    We are an infant school so the App is going to be used mostly by parents and staff. The information is there for the pupils if they need it but I don't see many of them carrying mobile phones around!

    Thanks for the reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Apps are good just don't restrain the content to just the app shutting out people without those phones. Good to target multiple platforms and have a web only fallback. I'd target WP7 too just because that it my personal prefference
    We do have a website in drastic need of updating and modernising which is something that I need to crack on and do when I get a spare hour! We have also looked into WP7 but the developer wants double the price to submit the application to Windows.

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    My personal opinion is that it is a gimmick but if it works why not.
    I imagine it is one of those build-a-free-app jobbies that uses the school RSS feeds and some static pages. You may as well build a nice web app that would be cross device compatible and be done really.
    We are using a local web application developer to help us create this application. Ironically the founder of said company is the assistant head teacher of a local school!

    Thanks!

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Personally I would go down the lines of a mobile website rather then a physical app - helps with cross platform compatibility and reduces somebody complaining because you don't support there device

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Personally I would go down the lines of a mobile website rather then a physical app - helps with cross platform compatibility and reduces somebody complaining because you don't support there device
    Thanks for the reply! We are already in talks with the developer for the application so I am afraid its all system go, but we will see what is left in the budget to produce a mobile-based webpage too.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe-WLS View Post
    Thanks for the reply! We are already in talks with the developer for the application so I am afraid its all system go, but we will see what is left in the budget to produce a mobile-based webpage too.
    If you're developer can incorporate RSS in to your websites news feed then cross platform websites and automatic app integration should be easy; it'll ensure that all sources show up the same information

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    Duke5A's Avatar
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    Couldn't the goals of this custom app be met with a free school Facebook and Twitter account? The devices you're trying to reach already have social media entwined with their functionality.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    A propper mobile website is the way to go
    Costs less to develop and requires no special skills to run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    If you're developer can incorporate RSS in to your websites news feed then cross platform websites and automatic app integration should be easy; it'll ensure that all sources show up the same information
    We are indeed incorporating an RSS feed into the new school application. This is going to feed directly from the actual school website to ensure that both the app and the website have the same information on. Thanks for the reply!

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    A propper mobile website is the way to go
    Costs less to develop and requires no special skills to run.
    The developer has offered us this service at around 1/4 of the price that he would offer the public or small business. I think this makes it about on-par in terms of cost as a dedicated mobile website.

    Thanks for the reply!

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    The developer has offered us this service at around 1/4 of the price that he would offer the public or small business. I think this makes it about on-par in terms of cost as a dedicated mobile website.

    Thanks for the reply!
    Indeed but in the long run the mobile version of your site might be more flexible. You'd need someone to update the app if you ever wanted to add new features.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke5A View Post
    Couldn't the goals of this custom app be met with a free school Facebook and Twitter account? The devices you're trying to reach already have social media entwined with their functionality.
    Agreed - put the information somewhere that they already check anyway. The parents already read their email, and I suspect the majority of them (especially since you're a primary school) also check Facebook and Twitter every few days, so why give them somewhere else they need to go for information? I would rather spend the time into getting a decent presence on existing social media and/or using email, rather than spend time and money on an app, especially since there will be parents with WP7, Blackberry and no smart phone, and you don't want to exclude them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Agreed - put the information somewhere that they already check anyway. The parents already read their email, and I suspect the majority of them (especially since you're a primary school) also check Facebook and Twitter every few days, so why give them somewhere else they need to go for information? I would rather spend the time into getting a decent presence on existing social media and/or using email, rather than spend time and money on an app, especially since there will be parents with WP7, Blackberry and no smart phone, and you don't want to exclude them.
    Brilliant, thank-you! I have put the fact down that users of Blackberrys and WP7s will be excluded from using the application - and lets be honest, they make up a fair proportion of the market.

    Thanks very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke5A View Post
    Couldn't the goals of this custom app be met with a free school Facebook and Twitter account? The devices you're trying to reach already have social media entwined with their functionality.
    This is a very good point, I have mentioned this.

    Thanks!

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