Matthew Knott

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What is 'My Swansea Schools'?

Posted on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 19:21

It's been a long process but today I am really proud to bring 'My Swansea Schools' to the people of Swansea. What is it, what does it do, and what is the impact?

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What is it?

My Swansea Schools, is a mobile app that allows people to see the news, events and photos from schools in Swansea in a single app, currently for iPad and iPhone. 

What does it do?

Aside from the aforementioned information, you also have access to school contact details. But what it really does is give schools that use the portal for their public facing website a great platform to engage parents, guardians, students and governors in a far more accessible way than simply using the website.

As with any mobile app, it's advantage over a website can be immeasurable in terms of how the information can be consumed. 

What is its impact?

We'll have to wait and see how this pans out but we have really high hopes. This is our first natively coded app for a mobile device, so I'll be surprised if we don't learn a lot about our user base from this. The iPhone / iPod touch version of the app is fairly standard, the iPad not so much. 

We've been bold with the iPad design, trying to give people a type of school dashboard, making full use of the screen real estate, this may work, it may fail but feedback so far has been hugely positive.

One of the impacts we are hoping to see is that more parents and guardians find this more accessible than the website, and take a greater interest in what's happening in their child's school.

If just one parent uses the app and learns something new about what happens in their child's school then I'll be happy. School's in Swansea do so much amazing work that they share on the portal through news and photo galleries, and other mediums such as twitter, and the mobile app is a great way to showcase life in a school.

My hope other big is that this encourages schools to post even more amazing content to their websites. When I go out to school's I see so much creativity and innovation, that I hold nothing but admiration for the teachers in this county, so I want this to be the platform that lets them share that with people who have an interest in the school.

What next?

This is our first app, but it won't be our last. The next 12 months will see a lot of changes for Swansea Edunet as we move to a new platform but our passion as developers mean we will no doubt be slaving away at all hours to find innovative ways to improve the way education services are delivered in Swansea through technology.

Mobile apps are becoming more and more a part of everyday life and we want to be able to give people the tools to work, collaborate and learn in a way that is fun and natural.

An honourable mention has to go to Edward, our other developer, who has been working tirelessly to bring the Android port to life. It's not been easy but he's been approaching it in a typically determined fashion and even had time to transform my desk into party central when I got back to the office today.

Finally, one of the main things we want to focus on for the next release is getting the Welsh side right, and we're completely committed to doing just that.


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