DELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien School District has announced a new addition to its lineup of mobile “apps.”
Now Andriod-based smartphone users can stay connected to the Delavan-Darien School District by using a new mobile app designed for products that use Google’s mobile operating system.
The Delavan-Darien Andriod app — named “DDSchools” — is similar to the district’s app that is already available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users. The Android version is available through the Google Play Store (search “Delavan-Darien” at https://play.google.com/store), or via the green Android icon link on the bottom of the district’s website, www.ddschools.org.
With both apps, users can connect with and learn about the district in a variety of ways, including: calling or emailing the district from the app; visiting the district’s social media pages; finding specific information about Delavan-Darien Schools, such as grade-level curriculum and extracurricular offerings; reading up-to-date district news, daily announcements and monthly newsletters; checking out the building calendars; finding out what’s on the breakfast and lunch menus; logging into student email, PowerSchool (the district’s online student database and grade system), and lunch money accounts; and more.
Since the district launched the iPhone/iPad/iPod app in March, there have been close to 400 downloads from Apple’s online App Store.
“We’ve found some good success with our earlier app, and we’re hoping for the same with the Andriod version,” said Mike Heine, coordinator of school/community relations for the district. “It’s not as visually appealing as the iPhone app, but it offers many of the same features and is a nice ‘one-stop-shop’ for important information for our school district community.”
Both apps require Internet connections to function, and both update themselves automatically as content is added, changed or removed.
The iPhone/iPad/iPod app was updated this summer with more graphical elements and icons, which makes for a better user experience, Heine said. This earliest version of the Andriod app is primarily a text-based menu system with limited graphics.
Heine said he hopes users find the apps useful, easy to navigate and beneficial for Delavan-Darien School District community members, whether they are students, parents, staff, alumni, taxpayers or perspective school district members.
The company used to design the apps, Buzztouch.com, allows the district to build and maintain the apps for free. Publishing them to both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store cost $125, Heine said, noting that hiring a company to design, build and maintain an app can cost thousands of dollars.
The small investment was well worth it as the district’s need to reach people on their mobile devices is increasing, Heine said.
Since the beginning of 2012, the district’s main website has had more than 12,000 visitors (about 5 percent) who were using mobile devices or tablets. Throughout all of 2011, the district’s website was visited 8,660 times on mobile devices. In 2010, mobile visits totaled just over 2,200, according to district data.
“With these two apps, we’re staying connected with our audience and literally putting information our school district members need right into their pockets,” Heine said.