With great fanfare, our overly-large school district recently released it’s first iPhone app and, after playing with it for a couple of weeks, I just have one question:
Ok, so there’s nothing really wrong with the software. I suppose it does what our PR office intended, which appears to be repackaging district press releases and other carefully filtered materials, adding a few carefully produced videos, into a mobile-friendly format. Basically the same information anyone could view on the website, except in a far less confusing interface (and missing the illusion of a functional search tool).
The most interesting part is the inclusion of something approaching a comment section. It comes in the form of a link to the system’s account on Uservoice (also found on the website), a service allowing organizations to to collect ideas and suggestions from their community, which the members can then vote up or down.
Overall, however, the app itself appears to be lacking any input from students, teachers, parents or most anyone outside of the communications office.
I wonder how much different this project would look if they had turned the whole thing over to a group of students and asked them what should go into a mobile resource about their schools. The lunch menus and sports schedules would probably still be included but maybe they could create something more useful, and interesting, than this narrowly-focused propaganda app.