- Unique 2-way, personalised in-app messaging with automatic failover to SMS
- Secure, closed communication app can only be accessed by parents and students registered with the school
- School-branded, Facebook-style school news feed with engagement dashboard and analytics
Adelaide, 19 April 2016: ASX:MWR: With today’s launch of SchoolStar by school communication specialist MGM Wireless, schools can now be sure their messages are delivered securely via a world-first app that automatically switches to SMS if parents can’t access the app for any reason.
SchoolStar’s free two-way in-app messaging feature cuts costs for cash-strapped schools while securing sensitive school data.
The breakthrough service eliminates the fear that people outside the school community can access private information such as school sports fixtures and student identities.
MGM Wireless CEO Mark Fortunatow said that since the terror hoaxes that caused lockdowns in schools across Australia earlier this year, there has been increasing pressure on schools to deliver emergency messaging as well as attendance messaging and school news in a mobile format.
“Parents want to know what’s going on at their child’s school but don’t want other people to be able to access that information,” Mr Fortunatow said.
“Schools are legally prohibited from giving access to student details, including images and locations, and of course they don’t want to make information about things like school camps and sports days available to just anyone who downloads an app.”
To access SchoolStar, parents must be registered with their school and complete a 2-factor authentication process.
Mr Fortunatow said that the response to SchoolStar had been outstanding.
“Schools are loving SchoolStar – they can publish news and send messages with a smooth interface and easy integration path,” Mr Fortunatow said.
“All of this sits on top of a powerful Address Book and Grouping system that lets schools quickly message anyone, from individual parents, to family groups, right through to the entire school.”
Schools need and want to try every avenue possible to make sure the entire school community is kept informed in case of emergency.
“If the parent doesn’t have SchoolStar, or if their smartphone has no mobile data connection, Outreach+ automatically switches over to SMS to deliver school messages. SMS always gets through to all parents,” Mr Fortunatow said.
SchoolStar removes the need for schools to pay a subscription for school apps and a separate SMS service.
Parents can reply through the SchoolStar app, or by SMS.
“No matter how they reply, or if they contact the school first, their messages will arrive in a single email inbox for convenient access and response by the school,” Mr Fortunatow said.
“Schools don’t need to worry about the method used to deliver the message – MGM systems just take care of it all automatically in the background.”
Another big feature of SchoolStar is news articles, which parents receive in a Facebook-like news feed.
“News articles are easy to create, and parents love keeping in touch with what’s going on at the school,” Mr Fortunatow said. “It’s a fantastic parent engagement tool. SchoolStar includes an engagement dashboard with state-of-the-art analytics so schools know which content is working best.”
Even parents without the app can receive their school’s news articles. Outreach+ automatically generates an SMS with a link to the news article, allowing schools to expand their reach and make sure all parents are included.
“SchoolStar is a closed system and very secure,” Mr Fortunatow said. “Other school apps provide no protection of your school data, which might include names and photographs of students, dates, places and other sensitive information.
“SchoolStar only allows access to people in the school’s existing database of known contacts. You can even ‘lock out’ unwanted people, if they’re a nuisance in your school community.”
For an additional important professional touch, SchoolStar displays school branding whenever a parent logs in.
MGM Wireless invented SMS based attendance management systems for schools in 2002 and has since developed a suite of products that exploit developments such as cloud computing and the evolution and adoption of smartphones.
“Having been the world-wide pioneers of SMS communication for schools, we are proud to be delivering the technological advance which maintains the standards of security, personalised communication and management we set originally, with the utility and cost savings available through in-app messaging and communication,” Mr Fortunatow said.
About MGM Wireless Ltd and Messageyou, LLC
MGM Wireless is recognised in Australia and internationally as a pioneer of socially responsible technology-enabled school communications with a proven track record in designing, developing and successfully commercialising innovative world class technology products.
The company’s patented SMS school communication solutions empower schools to effectively communicate to parents and caregivers using SMS text messaging to improve student attendance, welfare, safety and parent engagement. Measurable benefits for schools include reduced operating costs, increased productivity and improved parent and community engagement, which ultimately improve student learning and social outcomes.
Schools in Australia and New Zealand use Messageyou software in their day to day operations.
For further information contact: MGM Wireless Ltd. - (ASX:MWR) Mark Fortunatow, CEO