Home Apps VIDEO Interview: School Stream makes parent interaction a dream

There’s a new way for schools to keep parents fully in the loop about school events, excursions, communications and much more: Australian app School Stream.

These days, when you have a problem with something, it’s no good complaining about it. You need to do something about it, and in today’s modern world, people can do just that.

So, when Melissa Bridson wanted a better way to communicate and interact with the school her children go to, she decided that modern technology could provide a solution.

Rather than just sitting on the idea and dreaming about one day doing it, she approached a talented developer who is now the co-founder of School Stream, and started working on the School Stream app - designed to deliver school information instantly and directly to parents and students on their mobile devices.

That was back in 2013, and after a year of solid development, the app was released to the market with great success, going from strength to strength which now sees School Stream used in every state and territory in Australia with over 25,000 users.

School Stream has even gone international, with users in the US and Greece, too!

Now, I’m not a parent, but I remember when I was in school - newsletters got lost, miscommunications could occur and there was none of today’s app-based efficiency.

Fast forward to 2015, and the way we communicate has definitely changed. We have seen it in business, governments and our social lives – and it’s time for education to be included in that change.

Schools historically have never had an effective platform to communicate beyond snail mail, parent/teacher nights and relying on kids to pass on expensive-to-print newsletters or other information, which is hardly the most efficient or modern way to be doing things these days.

What School Stream has proven itself to be is a ‘game changer’, providing schools, teachers and students with a simple way to communicate seamlessly, and clearly, it has quickly caught on, not only in schools all around Australia, but as mentioned, even internationally, which is a great success story.

So, we decided to talk to School Stream’s CEO and co-founder, Melissa Bridson, to take us through the history behind School Stream, the features and benefits it offers, the challenges in developing the app and plenty more - all of which makes it a great start-up success story, too.

There’s plenty more information below on how School Stream works - please read on below!

So, what else does School Stream do?

Well, it helps schools run ‘the business of schools’ in a more efficient way, because in today’s financial climate, schools need to operate like businesses.

School Stream has genuinely revolutionised the way schools communicate, letting them operate more productively, driving greater cost savings, and freeing up staff time to concentrate on what matters most – education.

A great indicator of the success School Streams is enjoying is also seen by the fact the company has enjoyed a 100% re-sign up rate after the first year, something that’s practically unheard of for most businesses, but also a clear validation of the value schools, staff, parents and students are seeing.

Indeed, by digitising their communications, School Stream says that Australian schools alone have the potential to save up to $40 million per year, a figure that would be multiplied greatly when moved to an international scale.

Another useful stat is that School Stream has a ‘push notification open rate of 98% which shows that the tool is effectively reaching parents, unlike school newsletter that end up at the bottom of the school bag.’

I can certainly remember a time when a rogue banana ended up at the bottom of my school bag, which turned its contents into a sweet smelling, messy mush that I then had to clean up and salvage as many books and papers from. I can’t have been the only kid to whom that happened at the time or since, which is what can happen when kids will be kids.

In any case, School Stream delivers instant and timely notifications so you can reach the entire school community from anywhere at any time.

Teachers don’t have to waste time on complication school communications, letting them focus on what they do best, which of course is teaching!

Schools can be in direct contact with parents and students in an instant - useful when the school excursion bus is stuck in traffic and well overdue, alleviating the worry of parents waiting for a bus to turn up that’s far later than intended.

School Stream is web based for schools, so setting up and using the platform is easy, and affordable, while making the updating, editing and planning of school content for teachers a breeze.

The app is fully dynamic and customisable, too. After all, every school is different, letting teachers and schools tailor the content based on the particular needs of the curriculum and subject areas.

There’s even a section for the school canteen, so parents can not only see the menu but select meals for their kids (if a parent doesn’t have time to prepare a packed lunch, for example), ensuring healthy options are chosen rather than the unhealthier ones kids might choose were they just handed some cash and told to sort it out for themselves.

And, with the entire system app based and this paperless, it’s environmentally friendly, too. The average school consumes 74 trees per year in newsletters and other paper-based communications. In today’s world, who doesn’t want to reduce their carbon footprint, too?

And… that’s not all. The app can handle alerts, absentee notes, digital signatures, bus information, RSVP-ing to events or parent/teacher nights, online forms, one touch contact, a photo gallery and much, much more which you can see here.

Full pricing details are here, too, with the School Stream team naturally standing ready to answer any questions as you’d imagine.

So, it’s great to see an Australian success story having a truly meaningful impact on the way schools are run and the way they’re communicating with parents, students and staff, and I sincerely wish them great success in the future!

Here’s their video which gives a great overview of how it all works, take a look!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

 

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