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).

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