WillowTree Apps today announced the launch of its Mobile Education Platform™.    The platform, based on live apps with the University of Virginia, Syracuse University and the McKinney Independent School District, revolutionizes what K-12 School Districts can offer parents as a mobile engagement platform.  The apps are available of iPhone, Android, Blackberry and mobile web.  Read the full press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/7/prweb9680205.htm

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With numerous colleges throughout the country releasing native apps for iOS, Android, and the ever-growing iPad as portals for interaction between teachers, students, alumni, and other constituents, the writing is certainly on the wall for major changes in the way schools think about digital communication with their constituents.  Mashable Tech writer Jeff Kirchick’s recent article about “5 Ways Higher Education is Leveraging Mobile Tech” will definitely jog your imagination about what mobile development might be able to accomplish for you as an innovator in your institution’s technology department.

As a fairly recent graduate, it’s very exciting to watch the proliferation of mobile development in academic institutions first-hand.  The idea of having a University of Virginia app probably would have seemed a touch ridiculous while I was still slogging through McIntire, but now that I’m on the ground floor of university app development, it’s a little hard to believe that I relied solely on e-mails and desktop-based collaboration portals for information that could have been walking with me the whole time.  But we’re not just talking about tonight’s homework assignment or the hours for the career services office – Kirchick’s article shines a light on functionality that makes a university mobile app more than just a simple tool of convenience.

Imagine grabbing your textbooks in a crowded school bookstore and checking out with a single swipe of your SmartPhone rather than painfully waiting in a long line with about 30 pounds of paper on your back.  Imagine touring a campus with the ability to point your iPhone or Android camera at a building to get its full history and purpose.  Imagine instantly polling all of your students on a classroom question with graphically-displayed outputs on the projection screen in real-time.

Guess what: there’s really no need to imagine – these things are already here.  Kirchick’s Five Ways are just a sampling of some of the marvels that our grade-school teachers probably smiled…

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The new UVa update went live last night — some sweet new functionality:

– HoosBus now included so you can track buses around Grounds

– Take a picture and submit it for inclusion in  “Week in Photos”

– Live scoring for almost all sports

– Notable Alumni

– Ability to set alerts to only certain sports

– Direct links to stories from alerts

– Better links between apps (e.g. linking names in course directory straight to the contact info)

Check out info about the UVa education app here or download it from iTunes here.

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