SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Posts Tagged ‘Schools’

Schools shut due to snow – 100,000 parents are told by text

Posted by Admin on February 2, 2009

For those of you not in the UK, then perhaps you won’t appreciate how just few inches of snow can bring this country to its knees – the roads get near gridlocked, trains don’t work, people don’t go to the office and best of all (for the kids) … schools are closed. It’s madness really, especially as so many of you will be used to real snow (for a bit of a rant about it all check out Ewan’s post on Mobile Industry Review).

Of course, those of you in the UK won’t be reading this for a couple of days anyway as you’ll all be off work making snowmen!

Anyway, as I mentioned, many schools are shut today – either because teachers and staff can’t get there, boilers and other infrastructure breaks, or because the snow is determined as a health and safety risk. The kids don’t really care what the reason is. But there’s nothing worse than walking all the way there, or digging the car out to drive there, only to discover once you reach the gates that school is closed – what valuable sleeping or snowball fight time has been lost.

This year for at least 100,000 kids, that didn’t happen thanks to Groupcall.

Schools on the system can access Groupcall’s Messenger system remotely via a secure web site and then use the system to send a message (SMS, email or voice message) to the parents’s contact information which is stored on the schools’ management information system. Amazingly the system only costs c. £1 per pupil per year. Groupcall’s Lawrence Royston said of the system:

“Parents really want schools to embrace systems like Groupcall Messenger both to improve the flow of routine communication and to ensure that they can be quickly contacted in the event of an emergency.”

I’m sure they do, it sounds great. In my day we had to tune into local radio to see if your school was closed. My school was closed every year as the boilers always broke down at the first sign of snow – until the year I started going and they fixed them!!


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Mobile technology to fight truancy

Posted by Admin on January 30, 2009

Did you know that in the UK on a typical school day there are 50,000 children who are not in school and over 8 million school days are lost each year? Me neither. That’s a huge amount. Not only is it bad for the kids’s education (obviously), but can cause worries about safety too.

Well I saw this story about how schools are starting to introduce new mobile technology to help combat this by automatically calling, texting or emailing parents if their child is missing from school. The system, called Truancy Call, keeps trying them until it gets an answer.

Of course, many times the child is away legitimately (illness, holiday etc) and their parent has forgotten to inform the school. In this way it’s quick and easy for them to do so. Sometimes however there can be less savoury reasons for a child missing class:

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