by ALEFIYA BHATIA
Mobile school apps (Graphic: Edudemic.com)
When was the last time you turned to your smartphone to locate an ATM or a restaurant? How about to check your bank account, pay your bills, monitor your fitness program or buy those shoes you fell in love with? Maybe you just used your mobile phone to plan your next trip to the beach?
It likely wasn’t more than a few hours ago...
Smartphones have enabled us to practically live our lives on the go, helping us make time for all the things that our busy schedules often don’t allow for. With smartphones becoming your trusted help, catering to EVERY need that you have, shouldn’t you give your parents, staff, alumni, and related stakeholders the convenience to access information about your school on the go?
Here are 4 reasons Your School should have a Mobile Communications Solution:
1. Mobile Trend - According to Pew Internet research, 85% of American adults own a Mobile phone and now use the devices to do much more than just make phone calls. While 56% of Mobile phone users access the internet, 43% of them download apps. Tapping into the trend of increased mobile usage, more and more schools are turning to mobile apps to better engage with their community.
2. Increased Engagement - The involvement of parents and the greater community in the process of a child's education is critical. Engaged communities result in higher academic and social outcomes, stronger values, and increased future success in a child’s life. With hectic work schedules, it’s not always easy for parents to be as engaged in their child's education as they would like to be. A mobile app is an instant solution for parents, alumni and other stakeholders to access all school-related information anytime, anywhere.
3. Greater Edge - A lot of schools are already leveraging the power of mobile apps for greater cohesion between their teachers, parents and alumni. Moreover, schools with a mobile solution have a higher propensity of getting more referrals as parents really help spread the word about the school and the apps can easily be downloaded by anyone from any of the popular app stores.
4. Budget Friendly - With the gaining popularity of school apps, it is becoming easier to find School Mobile App solutions providers who can make customized apps for your schools at low costs. The pay as you go or easy subscription based models make it very convenient for schools to get exactly what they want without exhausting their budgets.
Still THINKING about getting a mobile app for your school? It’s time to spring into action! Crescerance is a trusted partner of Beyond Technology Education and has helped public and private schools across the country Go Mobile. Get in touch with them today to learn more about how you can increase the engagement of your community in the vital on goings of your school.
image courtesy of device.com
I came across an article on ZDNet is proclaiming that China has modernized its education system because it has installed 6,000 cloud service terminals in 300 schools. The article goes on to say that the project will save money and optimize resource allocation. I agree with the last part but I have a problem thinking that they have all of a sudden modernized their classrooms with the installation of terminals.
Chinese cloud services provider, 3Tcloud, is implementing the country's biggest education cloud project, enabling the local authority to optimize resource allocation and cut maintenance cost.
According to a report last week on Chinese tech site CCIDNet.com, the city of Zhuji in Zhejiang--one of China's most developed provinces--has installed over 6,000 3Tcloud computing terminal devices in 118 schools. The terminals are supported by 28 pieces of blade servers and a 60TB HDD storage installed in the city's information center.
The project, scheduled to be fully completed by 2015, would replace all obsolete PCs in the city's school system with over 30,000 cloud terminal devices. It would cut cost on software and hardware maintenance, lower power consumption to 3W per device level, as well as allow the municipal education authority to collectively allocate online education resources and enhance efficiency in administrating each school's computer rooms.
"By using such a system, we could effectively push forward the development of the city's teaching, resources, research, and evaluation--all of which is done on the cloud," said Chen Xikun, director of the IT center at Zhuji's education bureau. "Take teaching on the cloud, for example, students in different courses have full access to all resources available, and it helps the elementary and secondary education of Zhuji develop in a balanced way."
Since the project's commencement in April 2012, Shanghai-based 3Tcloud has been replacing PCs in the schools in Zhuji with X900 cloud computing terminals, a device that supports virtual machine under CHP protocol and is no bigger than a ADSL modem.
"To modernize an information-based education system, we will continue to set up multiple Zhuji-like education clouds in China in the future," said 3Tcloud CEO Tan Tianting.
We can learn from domestic schools that just providing the hardware is not the answer. What is the answer? Teacher training and support via curriculum integration workshops is the answer.
The bottleneck in education is that most teachers do not have the ability to use the technology tools that are available or they do not have the time to re-create their lesson plans to take advantage of those tools.
Many of them were never told or given a demonstration on how technology can positively impact their jobs. Even younger teachers are struggling to take their limited technology experience and carve out time to address their own classroom curriculum.
I believe that given the current teaching environment we need to increase training and modeling to teachers and also re-write lesson plans calling for the proper use of technology the entire situation can be fixed. Now how do we find the time and proper model to do this?
When I talk with school Administrators about their goals with technology integration I always ask about leadership.
What I have learned is that leadership and the ability to find answers and make things happen are one of the keys to a successful implementation. Let’s be honest, not all school Principals possess the tools to effectively lead a high level technology initiative. Now of course there are resources available but do they have time to commit to finding the right resources? Do they have the technical ability to understand the topics that they will be facing? Are they ready to jump into something that may lead to failure?
I have always learned to hire to my weaknesses. Many Principals can hire a strong AP or entrust their project to a well-connected staff member. That is one strategy for effective leadership. Another great strategy is to invest in building a strong administrator-friendly Personal Learning Network. This can actually be a fun and rewarding project if you find the right people that can lead you in the right direction.
However, it is not a sign of weakness to talk with a trusted and highly recommended Educational Technology Consultant. This process can significantly shorten the learning curve. What should you look for?
Experience in education
References in education
Knowledge of mobile computing and iPad integration
Samples of their past work
A strong and open working relationship that is based on trust and a mutual vision for where your school needs to go
Be aware of current integration models like flipped classroom, 1-to-1, blended learning and SWIM Grid
Often times a good consultant can provide references to other Principals or schools in exactly or close to exactly the situation you are in and the direction you want to go. A good consultant should provide information, guidance and a basic plan of attack before they ever charge you. It never hurts to ask and even if you choose not to move forward with that particular consultant at least you would have gained some valuable insights and knowledge so you can better prepare yourself for the journey you are about to take. But then again, if you are busy, they can probably make this happen in their sleep? Decisions!