Welcome to the Jigsaw School Apps blog.
We are a software company based in Staffordshire, England, who specialise in making smart phone apps for schools. We started with a soft launch in our area and currently have our apps in around 70 schools.
This month we decided to launch properly and attend the Bett Show 2014 as an exhibitor. We have been amazed and very happy with the response so far! It was great to meet so many inspiring people from the world of education who stopped by our stand for a chat and a quick demo of our products.
So, what exactly do we do?
Basically we design and create smart phone apps for your school or organisation to keep in touch with parents (or customers!) We brand them to your organisation – with your logos, mottos, colours and photos and put them in each of the app stores for your parents to download for free. We cover iPhones, Android phones and (unlike many other app providers) we also make them for Windows Phones too. We wouldn’t like to leave anyone out!
This means that the parents can go to their app store and look for your name and find your app, download it for free and keep in touch with all your news and events wherever they happen to be. People usually have their phones with them wherever they are – so will not miss any important posts from you.
So, if the boiler breaks down – post a news item and immediately your users will get a push notification – their phones will buzz and there’ll be a pop up message at the top of the screen to let them know that there’s a new message from you. There is no delay while you send info to us and then we post it – you have complete control of all your app content via a simple web-based control panel. So, the second you press send – everyone gets the news.
Say it snows on a Sunday night and you don’t know whether to shut the school the next day. There is no need to go into school to access the control panel – you can access it from anywhere – even your phone. As long as you have your log-in details you can add anything to your app.
Another very cool feature is the survey option. It is a way for you to get instant feedback from your parents. Enter a question, give multiple choice answers, post it and sit back and watch the responses come in. We’ve had some very happy heads who have told us that within minutes of posting a survey they have had twenty responses come in!
As you know parent feedback is very important and this method improves on the original “note sent home that never returns to school” or even a text that asks parents to look at the website and fill in a form. With an app they have the question and responses there immediately wherever they are – and it is as simple as selecting an option and pressing send. The responses are then collated by us and appear as a bar chart in your control panel.
Talking of parent engagement we have a NEW feature which we launched at Bett 2014 – the translation option. If you have parents for whom English is not their first language – then they can choose which language they receive your information in. You decide which of 72 languages you wish to make available to your parents and they choose, in the app, which they’d like to use. We can feed it through a translation service and you include everyone in the school community.
This is proving very popular – it is the sort of thing Ofsted like!
In a nutshell, we feel that smart phone apps are the future of school to home communication. Unlike texts, where you often have to pay per text, there is no limit to the number of items you can post each day. Also, you can make them as long as you like – no character limit, and can even include photos. In fact anything you have on your website can be made available in your app, if you can supply them in .pdf format. This means schools are including lunch menus, newsletters and that sort of thing.
So, down to basics – how much will this cost you? We’ll set up with apps for free, let you test them out, and if you like them then there’s a very simple pricing structure via a yearly subscription. Visit the website below for the price list:
phone: 01782 305504