School Communications Made Easy

Patrick Püntener
02.04.20 11:29

When the demand for distance learning increases overnight, good communication between teachers, parents and students is crucial. For theachers, the ability to send important information or impressions from everyday life as text or picture messages from a smartphone or computer to the whole class, individual groups or individual parents is a fundamental pillar to keep activities such as exercises and exams going and to stay connected.

Schools have a specific stakeholder structure unlike other organizations. The resulting communication needs are different, too. This must be reflected in communication tools to make them really useful. Email, Whatsapp, Telegram or other standard messaging solutions are not suitable just because they don't support the specific communication patterns of a school. With our Condense blueprint for Schools we provide a standardized setup concept that can be adapted to any specific requirement and allows us to bring school communications online quickly.

Communication Patterns

A typical pattern in commercial companies looks like this:

Condense use cases

  • The company has a need to reach their staff in order to communicate, provide information, align and engage
  • In some cases, "the staff" is not just including employees, but also contractors, partners or other external parties working closely with the company's employees. But this does not necessarily change the communication flow since both employees and external parties share a common goal - which in turn is in line with the company strategy
  • The result is a quite clearly defined information/feedback loop that can be applied regardless of the organizational structure

For schools, this pattern common to many commercial companies can't be applied. But there is a different pattern instead:

School Communication Pattern

  • First, there is a need to communicate between school (management) and teachers which could be compared to the above
  • But there are other stakeholders that need to be included: the students/pupils and in many cases also their parents. Instead of 2 groups of principal stakeholders we now have 4: school management, teachers, students and parents.
  • Moreover, some of the communication must be strictly separated by class and only takes place between specific individuals from the teachers' group and a specific sub-group of the students' group.
  • In elementary schools, pupils and parents often need to be treated as synonyms, since small children will require help from their parents to understand messages and tasks they get from their teachers.

Condense Communications Blueprint for Schools

To cater for these specific needs, we have designed a blueprint configuration that can be applied to a school and be used as starting point for further refinement. Our Condense blueprint for schools is designed to simplify communication between schools, parents and students. It makes the teacher's job of sending important information fast and secure.

(You can find more information about the Condense Employee App on our website at https://www.cycl.ch/en/condense)

Condense for Schools

Condense has a number of benefits compared to other solutions

Parents and students can confirm messages with one click. Confirmations become immediately visible to the teacher. The time-consuming checking of emails or multiple instant messaging channels is now a thing of the past.

Condense breaks down language barriers

Recipients of a message have the possibility to have it translated into more than 60 languages with one click. This helps you to involve relatives in the everyday school life who otherwise cannot be reached due to lack of language skills.

Condense helps in an emergency

Parents and teachers have access to  student profiles together, which contains important information and contact details for emergencies. Teachers can send alerts to students and parents via push notifications on any smartphone.

Simple distribution of schedules, address lists, exam dates and alike

Condense not only helps you with school communications, it also supports the secure and simple distribution of more static information, such as  schedules, lists of contact persons, address lists, information about special projects, exam dates etc. by class. Likewise, school events can be communicated with a possibility to register (e.g. parents' evenings, 1:1 with parents, ski and summer camps, school trips, project weeks and optional courses).

Condense uses data protection with highest standards

The entire communication is encrypted and stored in European data centers run by Microsoft. Condense fully complies with GDPR and information is always shared within clearly defined groups (such as a class).

A secure communications app not only for schools

Condense is not only for schools: it is an ideal solution for all groups with group leaders/trainers/educators, where the leaders want to exchange information with the group members (or their parents or legal guardians) quickly, regularly and with little effort.

Summary

The communication needs of schools differ in important aspects from the typical "internal communications" of commercial organisations. There is a direct line of communication from school management to teachers, which is comparable to the typical corporate communication. But there are other stakeholders to be involved, such as students and parents. The Condense Communications Blueprint shows how the Condense Employee App is ideally designed to meet the needs of schools, effectively supporting communication across the four groups: school management, teachers, parents and students.

I would like to know more about the Condense Communications Blueprint for Schools.

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