Does Your Public School have an iPhone App?

Does Your Public School have an iPhone App?
Learn about how iPhone apps could help improve relationships between schools, students, and parents, as well as encourage better learning in the classroom.
Apps for the iPhone range from car locators to recipe helpers, and every other tool in between. Now, iPhone apps are even making their way into public classrooms, allowing students, teachers and parents more effective ways to keep in touch with one another. Instead of fighting cell phones in the classroom, some school administrators are learning to make the most of technology to enhance the classroom experience.

An Academic Test Run
 
According to a recent report on TMCnet, one mobile phone provider is breaking through the ice and bringing the iPhone into the classroom. MacroSolve, a provider of mobile phone apps, has recently announced that they will be creating a new phone app that is specifically designed to make the job of educators a little easier. The app will be tested out by Edison Preparatory School, a public school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 
According to MacroSolve CEO and President Clint Parr, schools have an ever increasing need to connect within their own community. Communication lines between administrators, teachers, parents and students must allow for real time exchanges that keep everyone up on the latest happenings at individual schools and within the district at large.
 
This is where iPhone apps specifically designed for this purpose come into play. This technology will help the academic community communicate more efficiently, ensuring that information is exchanged at a rate that does not hinder the student's education or the communication between parents and school staff.
 
Benefits of iPhone Apps in the Classroom
 
There are plenty of opportunities that the iPhone apps might offer. Some of the functions of this technology might include:

  • Updates on school schedules
  • Current information about extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities
  • Ability to communicate in real time with parents, teachers and staff
  •  Possibility of students creating their own projects to enhance their classroom experience

The providers of this service and school officials hope the iPhone apps will strengthen relationships and lines of communication between parents, students and school staff. Since students are using this type of technology more and more outside the classroom, they can easily adapt to the new tools, and some are even more willing to come to school because of them!
 
Edison principal Stacey Vernon is happy with the tool because it makes it easy for the school to broadcast important announcements in a timely fashion.
 
Vernon told TMCnet that iPhone apps are much more cost efficient than traditional forms of communication as well. He adds that tech-savvy students are able to participate in the creation and upkeep of content, providing good experience that will take them far in a high-tech world.
 
Not Just for High School
 
According to a report in the Daily Nebraskan last year, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are also seeing the benefits of iPhone apps in the classroom. One freshman at the school, Cale Hadan, received an iPod Touch for the semester when he signed up for the UNL Honors Program. Hadan told the paper that use of the iPod Touch helped him to perform spell-check on assignments and calculate a variety of math formulas.
 
Another student, Brock Weeldreyer, uses an iPhone app for taking notes in his classes. Even professors admit that looking up math formulas and other information on the iPhone or iPod is much more efficient.  Since there are more than 85,000 iPhone apps to choose from, students can usually customize their apps to their specific academic needs.
 
Traditional Communication Options
 
Before the advent of the Internet, parents and teachers were restricted to phone calls and face-to-face conversations to stay abreast of current school happenings and student progress. Other methods were attempted as well, such as sending papers home with the student alerting parents to latest developments.  With the advent of the internet, email became the preferred communication method for many parents and teachers.
 
According to an article on Education World, email tends to be the most efficient and effective method of communication in schools today. However, email does not come without its share of drawbacks. Electronic etiquette must be monitored, as the written word can be misunderstood much more easily than verbal messages. Some teachers are also not comfortable with email because it can magnify some of their writing deficiencies.
 
With many communication options to choose from today, iPhone apps may become one of the more popular. The ability to communicate quickly and effectively may bring parents, students and school staff together like no other communication mode has ever done.

Additional Resources [+]
Head in the Clouds: Why Public Schools are Embracing Cloud Computing
Head in the Clouds: Why Public Schools are Embracing Cloud Computing
Google Apps: Coming to a Public School Near You
Google Apps: Coming to a Public School Near You
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