Preschool & School App Development: The Ultimate Guide
The ins and outs of the preschool and school app development
Industries are turning their attention to mobile technologies, and the education sector is not an exception. The education apps market share is expected to increase by $71 bln from 2020 to 2025. At the same time, schools look for ways to boost students' and teachers’ retention and improve the efficiency of their operations. Specialized mobile applications may help to achieve those objectives.
In this article, you will find out why school app development is worth the effort. We used our experience to list key features of such an app, the main stages of development, and the required team structure. You will also learn what influences the cost of building a school or preschool app. Let’s start!
Types of preschool and school mobile apps
Mobile applications for education come in all shapes and sizes. Some are focused on the specific needs of educators, learners, and their parents. Others cover a variety of tasks. Here are the main types of mobile education apps according to their intended use:
Teachers may use mobile apps to stream lectures, share educational materials and discuss them with students. The latter can also rely on mock tests and quizzes to help the information sink in and prepare for the exams.
Some apps offer information about the schedule as well as the possibility to change it. Teachers can fit in the courses with specific demands. Both educators and learners get notifications about upcoming lessons and events.
School apps can provide teachers with a way to do an attendance check because they can check-in and check-out in the app. Administrators can monitor staff attendance to manage human resources. H3 School/pre-school management
Software platforms for managing educational institutions tend to have mobile apps encompassing some or all of the features listed above. Moreover, they may assist with billing or physical resources management (books, specialized equipment, furniture, etc.).
Benefits of pre-school and school mobile app development
Around two-thirds of the world’s population are smartphone users, and for the developed countries, the share exceeds 90%. Therefore, introducing mobile apps in addition to desktop versions of e-learning platforms seems to be a logical step. Some of the benefits of school apps are already evident from the list above. Let’s discuss them in more detail, focusing on different user categories.
Benefits for administrators
The introduction of a mobile school management app can help to streamline some processes. Resource management becomes more efficient with improved staff attendance monitoring and event scheduling. Online fee payment options and notifications about future payments for parents improve the inflow of money. Additionally, an app can also be used for posting admission inquiries and thus increasing admission growth.
Benefits for teachers
The app can help to make some tasks such as attendance checks, course scheduling, or even testing and task assignment much easier for educators. Teachers and caregivers can exchange information about their students with administrators and parents. They can do it by updating learners’ profiles or just using built-in messaging systems. On top of it, the working hours can be measured accurately.
Benefits for students
With a school app at hand, learners get instant access to their schedules, grades, assignments, videos of lectures, and annotations. All necessary information is at their fingertips and is constantly updated.
All in all, a mobile school app can make students more effective and keep their engagement up.
Benefits for parents
A school app allows students’ parents to track the kids’ attendance and grades. They have one more communication channel to keep in touch with teachers and administrators. The educators and caregivers can provide them with updates about their children throughout the day. Such an option is especially important for pre-school education.
In some cases, the app can also inform parents about their kids’ exact location.
Main features of preschool and school apps
If you plan to create a school app from scratch, the list of the desired features will be one of the first things on your mind. The exact specifications may differ depending on the specific needs of the educational business. However, some features are sure to find a way into your list. Here are our suggestions, based on our experience in mobile app development for school.
Sign up and profiles
Sign-up form is a must-have for any app. To make signing in easier, allow users a log-in via social media accounts or an email ID. Thus, they won’t require you to fill in all the details manually or enter login details each time.
After the first log-in, the students and teacher should be offered to fill in their profile with personal information. Educators may mention their degrees, experience, publications in scientific e-magazines, etc. Their courses may also be listed in the profiles.
Learning materials sharing
The comprehensive school app should allow teachers to share all types of learning materials: text, video, audio and more. Students will also appreciate the option to download those data and access them anytime, anywhere. Thus, they will be able to learn on the go.
Teachers should be able to fit their courses into the schedules as easily as possible. Take into account that some courses may have special requirements (equipment, etc.). Analyzethe available time slots and classrooms to offer the best options: a smart digital assistant would come in handy. Students should be able to access the up-to-date version of the schedule easily.
Updates about student performance
Your app should allow teachers to log and share information about students' performance with their colleagues and administrative staff. Parents will also appreciate the ability to keep an eye on their kid’s grades.
Provide students with a way to turn in their assignments easily. The teachers will be grateful to avoid dealing with stacks of paper, and will also benefit from precise statistics on who turned in a particular assignment and at what time.
Parents will appreciate notifications about their child's academic performance, attendance, etc. Additionally, notifications can be sent if the school bus is running late or there is some kind of emergency during the holidays. With the help of notifications, the administration can contact a lot of parents 24/7 in no time.
An online payment gateway allows schools to collect fees more effectively. The process becomes more convenient and hassle-free both for parents and administrators. The former won't have to go to school or a bank to pay their child's fee. An app with a billing panel will allow them to deal with this task in a few clicks.
Analytics, especially predictive analytics, is important for educational institutions and businesses. Administrators would appreciate generating reports with the statistics they need (room utilization, staff working hours, etc.) in a few clicks. It will foster data-driven decision-making.
How to build an app for school management: main stages and team
There are several key phases of app development: discovery, design, development, and testing. Let’s find out more about each of them:
Discovery. First and foremost, you should understand what kind of application you actually need. Do you want to develop a classroom management system app for school or create a simple scheduling app? Analyze the features of available solutions and list the most prominent needs of your educational institution or the institutions you target. Determine functional requirements and the high-level features.
Design. Your app should be visually enticing and intuitive. Provide the team with time and resources to create wireframes and refine the structure of UI/UX. Building a simple but functional and appealing interface requires creativity and hard work.
Development. This is the part when the backbone of your app actually takes shape. Engineers select a database solution to save information about learners, education, curriculum, etc. They create the main elements of your app, also covering accounting and administrative needs, if required. Stay in touch with them as some ideas may need to be modified to fit the development process.
Testing. Before launching your app, test how each feature works. Make sure that everything operates as you intended. Give QA engineers time to fix any bugs that may spring up.
To create a custom school management app, you will need a team of professionals. A reliable software development company such as Menklab can provide you with such a team. It will include the following specialists:
Business Analyst, tasked with shaping the project’s vision. This person analyzes the business processes of the customer to understand the requirements for future software solution. The role of a business analyst is especially important in the initial stage to set the project on the right track.
Project Manager, coordinating the development of your app. Usually, this person is well aware of the best practices in the mobile app development industry. The project manager will find technical solutions tailored to the needs of your business or your potential customers.
Developers who are armed with state-of-the-art tools to create apps for Android, iOS, or both.
Designers who are responsible for the IA, information architecture of your app. You will need some UX/UI experts and graphic designers.
QA Specialists who meticulously try to “break” your app, so all bugs and flaws will become evident and can be addressed and resolved prior to launch.
How much does it cost to develop a school app?
The development budget is one of the main concerns for those who decide to build preschool mobile app or some other edtech.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Firstly, the cost will depend on the size and functionality of the product. For instance, integrations with third-party software may pose some challenges. If you start prototyping, focus on the basic features to save time and money. You can expand your solution later after running some tests on MVP(minimum viable product).
Secondly, the price will depend on the number of platforms you want to cover. If you know that your users have a wide variety of smartphones, you may need to create both Android and iOS versions.
Finally, the hourly rates of software engineers differ according to the geographical region they operate from. In some cases, outsourcing software development to some other country is the best option. Here are some approximate rates for software developers:
Below, you can see a timeframe of an average project.
If you have some specific project in mind, contact us. We will assess the required amount of work and provide you with a precise quote.
Why choose Menklab as your school app development company?
Menklab has eight years of experience in software development. During this time, we’ve created numerous solutions for education. The star of our portfolio is Nurture — the preschool communication and management platform, which is used in more than 30 countries. Here are some details about the project.
Aside from the web application for school management and web payment portal, Nurture has iOS apps for teachers and parents and an Android app for parents. The parents can enroll their children and provide information about them to caregivers. Each child has an individual page. The curriculum, meals, naps, behavior, mood, and other data about each child are logged there.
The apps allow caregivers to send photos and videos of kids to their parents. Moreover, the latter parents can even watch live streams of their children. An average Nurture customer has 30+ locations and 20 streams for each. Around one hundred parents can view cameras simultaneously. A scalable cloud-based hosting solution ensures the smooth operation of this feature.
Nurture also provides security monitoring. It uses face-recognition technologies to cover the entry and exit points as well as the premises of daycare institutions. Each child can be located in no time. On top of it, the platform has some built-in channels for emergency communication with parents.
The implementation of Nurture had a palpable influence on our client’s business. Two extra schools were opened each year. Improved customer retention, more efficient education process, and operations management saved more than 5% of topline revenue.
Build the best school app with Menklab!
The introduction of the school or preschool mobile application has numerous benefits for educational institutions. It makes performing some tasks much easier, boosting the efficiency and job satisfaction of teachers and administrators. Students and their parents have all the materials and information they need at hand. It helps to keep learners' engagement and retention up. All users benefit from swift notifications and enhanced communication.
Menklab can help you build such an app. We have an experienced team armed with all the necessary technologies. Our company will make sure that you get the software, driving your business forward. Contact us, share your vision, and we will do our best to make it come true!