Mobile App Updates
Over the past few weeks we released updates to our mobile apps. We made a number of nice changes, and wanted to make customers aware of them.
New Parent/Student Mobile App
We recently released a complete rewrite of the parent/student mobile app. It looks more like a mobile app, and less like a mobile web-page -- similar to the teacher/admin app. We hope you like the updated user interface.
Android Parent App
The parent app is now available on Android. This gives parents access to mobile apps on both of the major platforms: iOS and Android. We think this is meaningful as schools can direct parents to use the mobile app, and it will work regardless of their choice of device.
Instead of creating a separate app, we added parents to the existing TeacherEase app. The Android app now works for teachers, admins, AND parents/guardians (but not students yet).
Unfortunately, students cannot yet use the mobile app on Android. We need to do more work to comply with Google’s Family Policy, which currently prevents us from using “Sign-In with Google” and some other functionality we need. Once resolved, we’ll release a separate app for students.
Notifications on Android
We also implemented notifications on Android, which were a gap in the previous teacher/admin release. Parents can receive notifications when their student is absent, grades were entered, homework assigned, etc. Teachers can receive notifications too, when they receive a parent message, students turn in work, etc.
With the exception of student support, Android is now at feature parity with iOS. All features available in iOS are in the Android app too.
Improved Control of Notifications
Since enabling notifications in mobile apps, we redesigned the communications flow from school to students and parents. The first improvement is to allow recipients to control how they receive messages. When a message is sent, they can choose to receive it as email, mobile app notification, or both. Some users want real-time results and prefer their phone to buzz whenever there’s an update. Others would rather messages silently queue, to be checked later. This is configured in “Notification Settings.”
When admins/teachers send a message to parents/students, they don’t need to be concerned with recipients’ notification preferences. They just send a message, and it will be delivered using the recipient's preference (email, mobile app, or both). TeacherEase uses the right format based upon the recipient’s notification settings.
If an admin/teacher sends a message, and the recipient has chosen to receive it as a mobile app notification (and not email), then they receive a notification. The first thing the recipient sees is the notification (it will show in their news feed too).
If the user clicks on the notification (or news feed item), they are taken to a TeacherEase page to view the full message on their device. As usual, messages are logged and can be viewed later.
If users don’t install the app, or enable notifications on their device, they can’t choose app notifications in the TeacherEase settings. We’d encourage users to enable notifications.
We hope you like the new mobile functionality.
The Common Goal Team