School communication specialist MGM Wireless (ASX:MWR) has launched 191ASK School News Channel(TM), a patented text messaging Q&A solution that keeps the whole school community up-to-date with on-demand information.
All the routine questions parents ask schools every day can be answered by texting a code or keyword to one unique number anywhere in Australia: 191ASK (191275).
MGM Wireless Executive Chairman Mr Mark Fortunatow said that School News Channel could mean the end of the scrunched-up note in the schoolbag.
"Any parent who has tried to find out where the sports field is on a Saturday morning with half the team in the back of the car will appreciate School News Channel," Mr Fortunatow said.
"This is a true mobile solution that lets people with no technical skills create information at www.schoolnewschannel.com.au to share with their school community, whether parents, teachers, the school board or students, on their mobile phones."
MGM Wireless said that 191ASK School News Channel(TM) gives the whole school community greater control of information.
"There are 10 thousand schools in Australia, all of which could be using School News Channel to deliver the type of information 10 million Australian parents want to access," Mr Fortunatow said. "Sports location, exam dates, assignments due, tuckshop specials, timetables - they will all be available at the touch of a few keys.
"Parents won't need to call schools and wait on hold, they can have the answers right away, or leave an ad hoc question for the school to answer later. Students can also benefit from School News Channel, both by becoming content producers who provide up-to-date information for their schools, and when they use the service themselves to access the information they need day-to-day."
School News Channel is a major innovation in school-home communication that can be compared to MGM's messageyou(TM)Schools, launched in 2003 as the world's first text messaging solution for student attendance management and crisis alerts.
While messageyou(TM) enables schools to text out to one parent or the whole school community, 191ASK School News Channel allows parents and others to text in their own requests.
"When incoming requests are handled automatically by School News Channel and outgoing communications use messageyou(TM), school administrators and leadership are freed to focus on strategic business, student care and teaching," Mr Fortunatow said.
Schools can start using the service for their school communities today, simply by registering on the website at www.schoolnewschannel.com.au.
"We now invite schools to trial the service and offer their school communities a whole new level of information access," Mr Fortunatow said.
"It's well known that the best schools are those that focus on excellent school-parent communication. That's our vision for School News Channel - to build strong school communities by keeping the lines of communication open.
"This week's launch at the Australian School Bursars Association conference in Adelaide is just the start for what we believe is a globally significant innovation."
*Australian Innovation Patent 2007100840
How 191ASK School News Channel works
School News Channel(TM) securely retrieves information stored in a school's student database and makes it available on-demand when parents text in requests from their mobile phones.
Schools can also make a wide range of information available for parents to request by entering school information on a secure website at www.schoolnewschannel.com.au
Information can include sports teams, venues and results, parent-teacher meetings, board meetings, exam dates and assignments due - all the information that schools continually send out to their school communities using phone calls, noticeboards and newsletters.
The service uses a single text-in number for every school across Australia -191 ASK (191275). Parents pay a low fee - 55 cents including GST - per request, charged directly to their mobile phone account.
All parents need to do is text a *KEYWORD or *CODE to 191ASK to find the answers to questions like:
*SV or *Sport Venue: Where and when is my child playing sport this week?
*AR or *Arrived: Did my child arrive at school?
*TT or Timetable: What is my child's timetable?
Text *HELP to 191ASK for a full list of channels provided by your school.
To get on board or find a list of School News Channel codes for mobile information requests, register your school at www.schoolnewschannel.com.au