People hold on to old school photos, and yearbooks are a lifetime treasure, but no one keeps the school directory, no matter how much thought or artistic vision went into it.
Directories are hard to find, difficult to keep on hand and annoying to look through. They also cost parent teacher associations thousands of dollars and dozens of man-hours, wasting tens — if not hundreds — of thousands of trees worth of paper in the process.
The MobileArq mobile app is looking to change that, though.
Created by longtime distributed computing specialist and parent of two Niru Mallavarupu, MobileArq takes the classic school directory digital, giving parents, teachers and staff instant, mobile access to schoolwide contact information via their mobile devices.
The app works on any mobile platform and updates changes or new information automatically. Users can run other apps simultaneously, plugging school events into their calendars or emailing, texting or calling other community members directly from the contact list. Whether for the on-the-go accessibility or for the simple convenience of having school information alongside work and personal emails and contacts, plugged-in parents with busy work schedules will be thankful for a mobile experience that fits their lifestyles.
For school administrators and involved parents, MobileArq carries other benefits. The app comes with various pre-formatting options, eliminating the need for endless committee debates and facilitating the conversion to digital. The funding is also flexible. Schools and PTAs can choose to pay a flat rate upfront or allow individual families to buy in according to their preference. Mallavarupu likes to promote an ad-based funding model designed to stimulate local economies and community involvement.
According to Mallavarupu, 20 schools in the New Jersey area have already bought in to the digital directory concept, some raising net surpluses through local advertising campaigns.
It’s hard to tell how quick the rest of the country will catch on, but if half of the U.S.’s public schools make the leap, Mallavarupu estimates they could save 225,000 trees, along with alot of money and headaches.