Cellphone app lets parents watch learning from a distance

Gloria Harvey, left, and Lucy Blakiston, both 17, with Marlborough Girls’ College’s new app.
SCOTT HAMMOND/ Fairfax NZ

Gloria Harvey, left, and Lucy Blakiston, both 17, with Marlborough Girls’ College’s new app.

Marlborough Girls' College parents can use a new app to check their daughter's results and whether she has been in class.

About 600 people have downloaded the Snapp Mobile app since it was launched at the college in February.

The technology allows parents and students to access a wealth of school information on a smartphone or tablet.

Other schools in New Zealand have similar technology, but each app is tailored to the individual school.

As well as school notices, maps and contacts, the software links to a password-protected website that allows parents and students to check attendance and academic results.

Marlborough Girls' College principal Karen Stewart said the app was the first of its kind in Marlborough.

"We thought it was a really good way to get information out."

School staff can send alerts to students and parents with the app - a feature that was used following the Onamalutu forest fire in February.

Monica Fyfe, who has two daughters at Marlborough Girls' College, said she checked the app each day.

"You can look at it while you have your breakfast in the morning . . . it's in your hand rather than having to go to a computer."

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Marlborough Girls' College staff member Jo Des Forges helped to put the app in place at the school.

The app was very easy for parents to use, Des Forges said.

"The more parents that we can get into the system and using the app the more informed the community will be."

Parents and students without a device capable of downloading the app could access the same information using the school website and a password-protected parent portal.

Marlborough Girls' College student Lucy Blakiston, 17, said she didn't think students would be too worried about their parents checking up on them with the app.

"It gives just enough information for your parents to be involved without being over-involved."

Snapp Mobile business development manager Joshua Woodham said 100 schools across New Zealand had purchased the apps since the company began marketing the technology about 18 months ago.

School apps cut down on administration at schools - for example, by letting parents know that a school athletics day was going ahead when the weather turned bad.

"Usually you might get 300 parents calling up the school to see if it was still on.

"Instead the school can send out a notification with the app."

To download: Go to the app store on an Apple or Android device and search Marlborough Girls' College.

 - The Marlborough Express

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