How to use the Sematime mobile application to engage parents
At Sematime, we are on a mission to help any school anywhere engage parents through the mobile phone. There are four ways or channels that a school can use to engage parents: bulk SMS, *384*100#, website portals and the mobile application. Today, we will look at the mobile application channel.
Register your school on Sematime
You need to create a Sematime account for your school here, that is if you don’t have one already, and fill in the required details. After registration, add parents phone numbers into your Contacts. Each contact should have the student admission number and name. You can also capture both father and mother phone numbers if you wish to have them all use the app. We recommend that you first save all the contacts in an Excel file then import them as explained in Managing contacts on Sematime. Contacts are categorized into different folders for easier management. Each category can have multiple groups of contacts. For example, Form 4 2017, Form 2 2017, All Teachers, B.O.M members etc.
Adding content to your account
Parents want to use the mobile app to get regular updates of how their sons and daughters are progressing in school. Therefore, we do not wish to have them installing the app only to find that you have not posted any content yet. Ensure that you populate your account with these content types:
- Exam results – for all the exams that your school has done in a given term. Parents want to know what their kids scored, whether there were improvements and also how they can help improve bad grades. How to add exam results.
- Fees structure – parents want to know how much school fees they are required to pay in term 1, term 2 and term three. They are also interested in a breakdown showing the appropriation based on voteheads. This will help to increase transparency in your school.
- Fees balances – parents hate to have their kids sent home to collect fee balances while they should be at school studying. When you regularly update fee balances, they can use the mobile app to know how much the owe the school plus get instructions on how to pay.
- Upcoming events – when you set your school’s calendar of events and term dates be sure to update your Sematime account with the same. Sematime will automatically send reminders a few days before the event.
- Newsletters – while SMS is great for short text-based communication, it’s not the best channel for rich-media communication such as announcements that require you to include photos. With Newsletters, your school can publish articles with videos, photos, file attachments among others.
- Photos – they say pictures tell a thousand words. Nothing captures the excitement of school trips, games day, drama festivals than photos. Parents can share, like or even comment on them.
Installing and using the mobile app
Having come this far, your Sematime account is ready for use by parents. Send them a text message inviting them to download the Sematime app on Google Play Store. To make the uptake even easier, append the app download link to your message. Use https://goo.gl/98niG6.
Once installed, parents will be prompted to enter their phone number. We do this to check if their details have correctly been captured by your school. If phone number exists in our records, parents will then be asked to set a password to secure their data after which they can begin using the app.
Here are some screenshots from the mobile app.
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