faq's - The Communicator.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.

What is it?

The Six-Delta Communicator is a lightweight application that runs on every end user's computer.
Information is automatically updated every time new content is added, even when the Communicator is not currently running.
The Communicator launches every morning, so users see your School's latest news at least once a day.

What does the School Communicator contain?

The School Communicator includes all the information parents really need to know. News, calendar events, a photo gallery, timetables, contact list and links to useful resources.

There are also critical Alerts for news that just can't wait.

My school already has a website. Why do I need this?

The School Communicator is cheaper to run, the information is more time-relevant - and parents actually get to see your content - it's right there on their desktops.

In addition, by utilising the link function in the News and Calendar section, you can actively push parents to certain sections of your website that contains further detailed information.

In addition the parent’s get to see the information that they need – the information for their children without having to wade through pages of other class’s information.

But then we would have double the work keeping the Website and the Communicator up to date.

Not at all.
Via the Admin Dashboard you can place a live feed Widget on your web page for both the Calendar and the News items.
The minute content is added to the Communicator it will update on your website.

Quick, easy and simple and no fuss.

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My school already has a Parent Portal. Why do I need this?

The Communicator, due to its immediate nature and ability to link to websites and URL’s, can actually drive parents to your Portal by just clicking on the link.
In this manner it is actually complimentary to your portal.

This does away with parents having to remember to the web address of the portal’s website – and with their busy schedule – forgetting to visit it.

Linking the Communicator to your Portal is quick, easy and guarantees that parent’s will visit the Portal to view their important and confidential information.

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We do our School communication through e-mail shots.

There are a number of aspects to this.

Teachers and Administrators have to manage large e-mail address lists and is a constant ongoing process. Many e-mail addresses are out of date or are incorrect which result in e-mails ‘bouncing’ back and causing confusion.
Parents are generally very busy and often have multiple e-mail addresses. School e-mails often get lost in the clutter and sometimes end up in spam or junk mail folders.
Newletters and calendars tend to lump all the school news and events into one format making it harder for the parent to find and isolate the news that is pertinent to them and their children.
By utilising the Communicator parents get personalised news each morning that relates to their child.As teachers upload their information daily (taking not more than 10 minutes per day maximum) the parents are constantly reminded on a daily basis what is required of them and their children with regards to school activities.As this is all sent through the Communicator a school can expect e-mail traffic on the E-mail Server to drop by as much as 60%.

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We use SMS’s to communicate with our parents for urgent information.

The Communicator can accommodate SMS functions should this be desired. This function is integrated in the simple Administrator dashboard for ease of use.

The Communicator also has a built in Alert function to let parents be informed of urgent events that just cannot wait whether it be a burst water pipe, a fire at the school or as simple as a cancellation of a sports event.

In addition, due to the cost of SMS's only urgent news, and not the general day-to-day activities, are communicated to parents.

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Our school uses Moodle and it’s free! (and other VLE's)

VLE's are good and do what they do well, but...

The Communicator is different from a VLE in the following aspects:

  • The Communicator is fully customised and branded to reflect the school’s image with its logo, school badge and colours.

  • The Communicator pushes information on a daily basis. End users do not need to remember a web address (URL) to log into it and do not require a username and password to view the information.

  • The Communicator contains information that is official and /or sanctioned by the school.Only teachers and administrators contribute thereby ensuring that the information offered is professional and correct with regards to school activities and policies.

  • The Communicator does require an initial registration fee but thereafter has the option to be free.


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We want our student body to contribute. Can this be done?

Yes.
It is the schools decision regarding this as it would be a trust issue.
It is suggested that the school designate individual students as contributors and apply access and moderation rights to them.

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Our newsletter is great and everyone loves it!

Newsletters are great and they do get the job done.
To a degree.

  • Newsletters are normally a one-stop-shop where all the school news gets lumped into a large document.Parents have to then root through the newsletter to find their child specific news.

  • Newsletters are not environmentally friendly whether being provided on hardcopy or being distributed via email as this places a heavy load on the school’s e-mail server.

  • Usually one poor individual at the school is tasked with putting the newsletter together which takes them weeks of chasing teachers and coaches for the information they need and there after hours putting it all together with photo’s, layout and proofreading.Instead of having one individual spend 40 hours putting together a newsletter the Communicator would have 20 (or more) contributors taking 5 minutes a day to keep parents up to date. Every day.

  • If the newsletter is printed in hard copy it can be expensive, time consuming, un-environmentally friendly and, unfortunately, by the time it arrives home with the student (if at all) is more often than not out of date.


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But the Parent is not always at their computer.

The Communicator is available on all smart mobile phones through a simple web interface. News on the go is not a problem.
Dedicated Apps for the iPhone/ iPad, Blackberry and Android phones are also available.

Once these apps are available the requirement, and expense, of using SMS’s to alert parents will not be required as Alerts will appear on phone screens immediately.

In addition, as the Communicator is free to parents, Dad can have it installed on his office computer as well.
So even if Mum is out shopping it will launch when Alerts are activated.

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But we have just spent thousands on our new school website/ portal!!!

While having a good website or portal is essential to any reputable educational institute, the sad truth is that very few parents consciously visit a school’s website once their child is enrolled.

As the parent is paying tuition fees they believe that the school should communicate with them – not that they should go hunt information pertaining to their child.
Unfortunately this is human nature.

Fact: School websites are predominantly visited by prospective parents. This is where the Communicator comes in.
For a fraction of the cost of a website and with free monthly subscription a school can ensure that parents are getting the message pushed to them every day of the week.

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What about the security of our information?

The Communicator is not a secure portal (but it can link to your portal).
Any information on the Communicator would be of the same nature that can be found on your school’s website, general newsletters or outside notice boards.

The role, and advantage, of the Communicator is that it is quick, simple and effective communication with the parent.

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Not all our Parents have computers or are computer literate.

No communication system is going to be 100% effective whether it be e-mail, website, school portals, sms’s or hand written notes.

Many schools however have done away with all ‘traditional’ means of communication and rely solely on the Communicator as it provides a simple interface where the parent can find all the immediate information they require.

Those parents who are not computer literate can access the information daily as the Communicator appears on their screen without them having to do anything except switch the computer on.
The Communicator pops up automatically every morning without users having to click on an icon at all.

For parents who do not have computers they can still access the information through their smart mobile phones.

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Go Green!!

The Communicator helps schools to achieve their Environmental Objectives in a variety of ways:
Less paper. No written notes, no printing of newsletters and other information leaflets. Save paper and printing costs.
Less traffic on the school’s e-mail server therefore less power consumption.
Parent’s only print documents that they need to sign and return to the school. The built in calendar keeps them up to date without them having to cover their fridge with school reminders and schedule.

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I am not very technically minded – can I still use it?

It is as easy as filling a form in on a web browser.
If you can use Facebook or Amazon.com – you can use the Communicator.
Training is provided for initial set up of the back end for administration if required.

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OK. How do we update it?

Updating is quick and simple. Contributors (teachers and administrators) are assigned an access level to the Admin Dashboard.
As simple as posting to Facebook or Flickr they upload their News, Documents, Homework and Photographs.
Calendars for each class can be uploaded up to a year in advance to avoid having to update the Calendar every day or week.

As an added bonus with a single posting to the School Communicator you can set the system to automatically update the school's Facebook and Twitter page with an automatic update to the School website.
One posting - 4 communication mediums covered. Nothing could be simpler.

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Who controls the info the parents see?

You do.
Integrated workflow allows you to delegate responsibility to multiple teachers whilst still tightly controlling what they can publish.
It's 100% up to you.

By utilising the Moderator system the Communicator Administrator can restrict teacher access to News, Calendar, Gallery or downloadable Resources.
In addition teachers and coaches can be restricted to only posting content to their class or team.

A designated Moderator is notified when contributors (teachers, coaches, etc) have posted content that is awaiting approval.
Once approved that content goes live to the Communicator within 5-10 minutes.

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Is it available in any other languages besides English?

The Communicator has options available for the following languages currently:

  • English.

  • Dutch.

  • French.

  • German.


Any language which uses the Western alphabet can be accommodated on request.
Developement for an Arabic version is currently underway

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How long do I have to wait from posting new information to it appearing on the Communicator?

Less than 10 minutes dependent on data traffic.
In 90% of the cases it is less than 5 minutes.

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What do I get?

The School Communicator is a complete communication solution, and includes a desktop communicator customised for your school, a web-based administration system that allows you to update the content as and when you require.

24/7 support by offsite (phone or email) or onsite.
Post deployment training for school staff/ administrator.
Future updates as they are rolled out.
Mobile apps and future upgrades to these.

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It looks expensive?

Not at all.
Purchasing a Communicator is cheaper that running a ¼ page advert in one of the leading children’s quarterly publications in the UAE. (Q4, 2012).

When one considers the amount of time spent compiling mailing lists, creating and editing hardcopy newsletters (as well as printing costs) as well as administering all the information on multiple platforms (Word, Web, Outlook, etc) the Six-Delta Communicator will allow for far more streamlined delivery of information.

In addition costs may be offset by using the advertising banner space thereby effectively removing the cost of the Communicator.

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I see there are two different versions. Does this mean less functionality on the cheaper option?

No.
Both versions have the exactly same information transmittal capability.

The Regular version allows Six-Delta to place adverts in the banner area in order to earn revenue and support the free monthly subscription for the school.
The Premium version allows schools to place the banners of advertisers or their sponsor logos in that area. (The school can also choose to leave it blank).

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Wait!! You said advertising on our Communicator?

Yes. This model allows Six-Delta to provide the School Communicator monthly subscription free to the school.
Rest assured that no products or companies that are considered unsuitable will be accepted to showcase their products on the Communicator.
Banners displayed on the Communicator conform to the regions religious, ethical and moral norms.
No banner adverts for tobacco, alcohol, 'adult' services, junk food or similar type products will ever be advertised on the Communicator.

The school also retains the right to veto a banner advert should it conflict with incumbent sponsors or business models.

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What does it cost?

There is an initial AED 7,500.00 (U$D 2,035.00) registration and customisation fee payable.
This is a once offf payment and will never be charged again.

There are is an low  annual renewal fee of AED 2500.00 (U$D 680.00) payable at the launch anniversary.
There are two options:

  • Premium - Schools place advertising: AED 2,500.00 (U$D 680.00) per month.

  • Regular – Six-Delta utilises the advertising slots: Monthly Subscription Free to the school.


Please note that prices are subject to change and should be confirmed at the time of signing up.

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How long will it take to launch my School Communicator?

For the initial registration and customisation up to finished product will not take longer than 4 weeks.
In most cases, subject to the design customisation of the Communicator interface, this will be 2-3 weeks.

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Will it affect my IT infrastructure?

No.
The School Communicator is a hosted solution, which means we take care of all the back-end technology.
There is no impact on your existing IT systems or infrastructure.

The IT department will not have to lift a finger to integrate or support this solution.
If anything, it will improve your IT infrastructure as it will lead to a substantial drop in e-mail traffic over your servers.

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What if I need help?

The School Commuicator offers telephonic and email support to both parents and school staff during normal business hours.

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How do parents get the communicators onto the pc’s or macs?

We assist with notifying your parents by providing a download notification document (pdf) which the school mail shots out to the parents for a period of 4-6 weeks prior to ceasing all general e-mail communication.

The Communicator can be downloaded from either your school’s website or from this website.

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*** ENDS ***

 
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