11 Things you can do with a Jigsaw School App

1. Tell parents about your events. If you put in a date and time they can save it to their phone’s calendar – and even set themselves a reminder. Result? More parents at your events!

2. Get urgent news to parents quickly – everyone has their smartphone with them – wherever they are. So, get hold of parents and carers quickly when there’s an emergency – the boiler is broken or there’s six feet of snow outside the door! You can send a push notification that alerts those with your app that there is something new.

3. Stop bombarding parents with useless information – you can categorise your news and other messages into groups. So, for example, if a parent does not have a child in Year 7 or the football team they can choose to switch those messages off.

4. Get fast parent feedback – our survey feature allows you to set questions with multiple choice answers and will result in faster replies. No more paper surveys that never come back, no more asking busy parents to go and look on the website and fill something in. Good news when looking at Parent View for OFSTED

5. Send messages that are longer than texts, can have pictures in them and cost nothing – you can send as many messages as you want and there is no per-message charge as with the old text-based systems. Just a straightforward yearly subscription per school.

6. Reach hard-to-reach parents – an app with a translation service means parents can choose which language they read your content in.  We have over 80 languages to choose from. You can increase parental engagement and make everyone feel included.

7. Make your newsletters and other big documents available – you can put your newsletters, lunch menus, homework timetables in the app. Anything that can be converted to a pdf file can be made available in your app!

8.Reach most smartphones – some apps only cover iPhones and Android devices – but ours also cover Windows phones. This means that most parents with a smartphone can download your app for free! Don’t miss anyone out!

9. Have your contact details within easy reach – parents won’t need to look up your email or phone number – they can reach you directly from your contact page. They can press a button to phone you, email you, go to your website or look you up on the map – all from your contact screen.

10. Be easy to find in the app store – we will custom brand your app with your colours, photos and logos and it will appear under your name in the relevant app stores. What could be easier for parents?

11. Have complete control! We will give you access to an easy-to-use control panel and all content will be added by you. As soon as you put something in there and press send – it appears in the apps. No waiting around for someone else to add your content. Instant access and control for you.

Did you know that smartphone adoption is happening  ten times faster than the PC boom of the 80s, two times faster than the internet boom of the 90s and three times faster than the recent social network adoption? So, what are you waiting for? Get your own School App today!

Sunday Times Festival of Education

We have just got back from the Sunday Times Festival of Education – which was very different from any other show we have done.

Firstly it was held at Wellington College – one of the best public schools in the world and secondly it was held outdoors. Luckily the weather was hot and sunny for the whole two days. We actually went down there on Thursday as it is a three and a half hour journey from here in Staffordshire, where we are based.

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The magnificent Wellington College

We packed up the car with Jigsaw School Apps banners, leaflets, pens,  biscuits and staff and set off for Royal Berkshire. Our phone satnav capabilities got us to the school by 4pm and we gasped as we drove through the security barrier and up the long tree-lined driveway and saw the main buildings. It is such a beautiful place with huge grounds including a lake, cricket pavilion and ground and full-sized golf course. It was opened in 1859 by Queen Victoria and names after the Duke of Wellington. It has had many famous pupils – more recently Rory Bremner, James Hunt and Will Young!

We saw lines of white marquees so heading that way we found the Festival office in a Portacabin. We  handed over the paperwork to register and he got our official festival badges –  and we could go and set up our Stand 114 in the marquee ready for the next day and the beginning of the festival.

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Getting ready for Day 2

Everywhere was bustling when we arrived the next morning at Wellington just after 8am. Other exhibitors were setting up their stalls and even a few visitors had arrived. We were next door to the Shakespeare Trust – who kindly traded one of their Shakespeare insult badges for one of our Jigsaw School Apps pens :-)

We were pretty happy to see that we were situated opposite the food tents with their barbecues and hot dog and kebab stands. Not only would we be within easy reach of food when we got peckish – but it would also be a very popular area with visitors too.  The sun was beating down on us and it got hotter and hotter as we talked to people and handed out leaflets and gave demos. Gradually as the day wore on our stand went into shade and gave us a bit of relief.

 

We chatted to lots of lovely educationalists – some heads of schools, lots of teachers and even families and children. Also the students from Wellington itself were walking around and many were really interested in what we were doing. Some of the staff came to look too.  It was very different as they had a lot of sessions going on with high profile speakers and guests. This meant that it was only the  breaks in between when people were strolling around the exhibits. So we had quiet times – then sudden bursts of activity!

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Handing out leaflets in the sunshine!

There was lots of interest in our apps though – thanks to everyone who stopped to have a look and a demo! We will be in touch soon about setting up your free trials!

Of course – you don’t have to see us at a show to get a free trial – check out our website for more details:

http://www.jigsawschoolapps.com/

 

 

 

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Code Monkey

In other news the Jigsaw School Apps team have been out and about since we got back from the festival. Darren has been over to Crewe to do some demonstrations for interested schools in Cheshire. Nathan went to the Xamarin Developers Conference at Olympia, to see how it works to improve cross-platform coding.  He also came back with a very cute code monkey – which now has pride of place in one of the JSA offices!

Berni went to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce to attend a seminar on using social media in business – which featured three award winning organisations sharing the secrets of their success with social media. There was a lot of very useful information –  so look out for more useful and relevant tweets and Facebook updates soon!

Enter the Matrix!

Hello again

 

People often ask us –  at shows or during demonstrations – what is the difference between you and other companies who produce school apps? What makes you the best? So, we thought that the quickest and easiest way to explain would be to produce a comparison matrix – so that you can see, at a glance, exactly what the key features are – and which other companies (if any) offer similar ones.

See for yourself:

Company

iPhone/iPad

Android

Windows Phone

Translation

Automatic translation of your messages

Branded

In your colours and under your name in the store

File Sharing

Make PDF files available in the app

Surveys

Instant feedback from parents

Jigsaw School Apps

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

(70+ languages)

Yes

(Included in price)

Yes

Yes

My School App

Yes

Yes

No

No

Available at extra cost

No

No

BeAppy

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

The School App Company

Yes

Yes

No

Web version only

No

Yes

No

No

Our First Independent Review

We are very “appy” here at Jigsaw School Apps – as we’ve just had our apps reviewed by John Dabell for TEACH PRIMARY and TEACH SECONDARY magazines.

Have a look here: http://www.teachprimary.com/tried_and_tested/view/jigsaw-school-apps

We knew, from the happy customers we have so far, that the apps are great – but it is nice to have that confirmed by a professional! If you’d like to try one too  – email us at info@jigsawschoolapps.com or give us a call on 01782 305504, for a set of free apps for your school and a no obligation trial. See what difference it can make to your parental engagement.

In other news, we are gearing up for the huge Sunday Times Education Festival. It’s on 20th -21st June. We’ve done education shows before – but never a festival! We are expecting something like a Glastonbury for teachers. Wellington College certainly looks very impressive site and there are some pretty prestigious speakers attending from the world of education – as well as a fair smattering of celebrities too. We are looking forward to seeing Simon Mayo, David Baddiel, Ruby Wax, Johnny Ball and Lauren Child and the poet Simon Armitage.  You never know – they might pass by our stand!

If you are going to be there too please pop by and see us. We’ll be giving live demos of the apps and handing out free biscuits to go with your coffee or tea :-) We’ll be on Stand 114.