Software solution by Arrowtown company
Arrowtown School has been the guinea pig for new software developed by locals to get their messages to parents and students.
Teacher Nicole Fawcett and her web-developer husband Greg have launched Message My Way – a cloud-based service that allows schools to communicate with parents, staff and students via the method preferred by the recipient.
They have been working with the school to trial the software, and deputy principal Tim Young said it had been beneficial when the school had to communicate urgently with parents on days when it was snowing.
‘‘We did a communications survey after the second snow day and the parents just raved about it. They absolutely loved it,’’ he said.
Nicole Fawcett said most schools relied on sending emails, making phone calls or paying for expensive apps to deliver messages.
The new software would deliver the message across any preferred platform including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, the school’s Facebook page, messaging apps like Slack, Kik and Telegram, as well as more traditional methods like email, SMS/text and voicemail.
It’s the only software of its kind that offers voice messaging and direct social media messaging also for those who prefer to get an audio message.
Greg Fawcett said the idea was to take the hassle out of an essential, time-consuming, element of a school’s daily operations.
It was designed to easily upload school databases, had the capability to create lists into highly specific categories, and had an easy-to-use parent interface so they can update contact details at any time.
It also had potential for local authorities to get urgent messages to rate payers - such as water outages or fire risk warnings, he said.
The couple are owners of tech start-up Virtual Industries Group and are the creators of the highly successful School Interviews website, which is used by more than 1100 schools throughout New Zealand and more than 2600 schools in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom.
The idea for School Interviews came from former Arrowtown School principal Robin Harris at the tech-savvy school, Greg said.
Message My Way developers Nicole and Greg Fawcett with Arrowtown School deputy principal Tim Young (centre).