IN efforts to streamline communication with parents, St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg has adopted the most technologically advanced approach with the launch of the school’s new app.The app was designed to assist parents to obtain information they need in one place and on a device they always have with them. Fixtures, results, procedures for sport injuries, important contact details, and links to the school’s Twitter feed, YouTube channel and Facebook page are all linked to the app.App users also have the option of receiving a daily Bible verse for inspiration and news feeds have supplemented expensive bulk SMSes.School principal Allen van Blerk said: “It is like a mall of information for parents that empowers them, in partnership with the staff, to manage effectively all aspects of their children’s schooling, sporting and cultural activities, and connects them as a community.” He said they tested it on tablets and smartphones, and invited the community to give them feedback so any adjustments for specific devices could be made. Van Blerk also said the app will not change any rules for pupils, as cellphones are still not allowed to be used during the school day and the school is still sticking to traditional means of teaching.“This app was made to give power to the parents. There is no doubt that boys will have the app on their phones, but none of the rules change for them. “Smart devices are used at St Charles College by teachers and wherever we can prove that learning is enhanced by them in a meaningful way. At this point in time, research indicates that a pen and paper, printed text and the humble book are still the superior learning options,” he said. The launch of the app saw the first phase of logistical and social communication completed. “The second phase will be the education area, where parents will be able to access key information that helps them to manage their children’s academic progress. For example, exam timetables and term plans, replacing the scrunched-up piece of paper that boys often forget to take home,” he said. The Android version of the app is available from the Google Play Store under “Saints Pietermaritzburg”. The iPhone version will be released next in the App Store.