19 Dec 4 Reasons to Avoid “Freemium” Communication Platforms
Bringing everybody in a school on to one common communication platform is an advantage to teachers, administrators, and parents
We know—there’s an app for everything. In the blink of an eye, smartphones have become the most-used tool in our society, and we’re suddenly able to complete all kinds of tasks from the palm of our hands. School-specific communication is one of the many kinds of communication that can now take place via mobile app — and several of the options are free. Many tech-savvy teachers have jumped on this low-cost opportunity to communicate with their classroom parents, and with these apps can quickly convey class-specific information.
Sounds great, right?
Wrong. As parents, teachers, and problem-solvers, we at School Deets highly recommend avoiding the “freemium” model for school communications. Here’s a few reasons why:
We believe in one common platform
If every teacher in the building is left to their own devices to decide how to communicate with parents, school communication immediately becomes disorganized. One teacher may use a particular app, and their colleague may use a different one. Another might send home typed classroom updates in a folder. Perhaps the PTA sends a weekly newsletter. Already, there is no central clearinghouse for communications, which means no oversight for accuracy.
A school-wide system is to everyone’s advantage
If everybody is using the same communications platform, all staff will understand how to use the same systems. Everybody will receive the same training, which will allow colleagues to assist one another if necessary. One common system allows communication to be organized and condensed so that only those who need to know the information will receive it. Read more here about why we recommend streamlining your communications systems
Parent expectations are impacted
With a voluntary free app, you may have only half the teachers in the building choosing to use it. Think of a parent with a kindergartener whose teacher uses a mobile app and a third grader whose teacher does not. That parent is already receiving mixed messages about how they should expect to receive communication. Even if a principal requires their staff to use a free mobile app, administrators will have no way to actually see what communication is going out. This is why School Deets designates admin, sub-admin, and contributor roles to those who use the platform in the school, as the central hub allows admins to see what messages are being sent and to ensure that the messages are organized and accurate.
The important details can be missed
At the end of the day, schools need parents to know the most important day-to-day details. With all the noise of today’s world with phone calls, texts, emails, and notifications, it’s easy for the details to be buried. When schools streamline their communication systems and make a plan for effectively engaging parents and families, parents are less likely to be overwhelmed by too much information, more likely to feel connected to their school community, and more likely to be effective partners in their child’s education.