|By Business Wire||
|May 27, 2014 04:00 AM EDT||
A technology developed to protect lone workers and potential kidnap victims is being used to provide children with an inspiring multi-media record of their school trip.
The innovative mobile tracking device also provides reassurance to parents who are anxious about their children’s safety by allowing them to follow their school trips live online using an interactive Harry Potter-style “Marauders’ map” to chart their progress.
It also enables teachers leading trips to upload pictures, videos, text and audio podcasts providing an instant record that can be enjoyed by parents by clicking on the map as they follow their child’s journey.
The new tool, Locuro, developed by Lincolnshire-based company Ubitrac, uses GPS satellite navigation to track school trips. It does so by means of a simple “pool” handset designed for use by the trip leader or a nominated adult.
A creative and exciting learning resource
The device has been hailed by teachers as a “wonderful” way of recording a trip and a highly creative learning resource.
John Devlin, headteacher of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary School in Keighley, Yorkshire, said: “It’s given us a wonderful record of our four day trip to Paris. It’s very accurate. You can actually see our progress up the Eiffel Tower. It gives the different heights at which we took photographs as we climbed.
“We had staff and parents following it from home so they could see exactly where we were. Some parents are naturally very nervous when they send their children away from home and it provides reassurance. It enables them to log on at any time and actually see where their children are.
“One of the real benefits is you can show the children where they’ve been. They can follow their exact route on a map of Great Britain and across the Channel into France. It really brings geography alive for them in a creative and exciting way.”
Peace of mind for parents
Parents have also praised Locuro’s capabilities. After following their child’s school trip to Kenya, one parent said: “I thought it was brilliant being able to track them geographically and see actual pictures of them, very soon after they'd been taken. It was really reassuring and made me feel almost as if I was there with them!”
Tony Foote, Locuro’s chief executive, said: “This easy-to-use technology offers a great way of increasing parents’ interaction with the school and their children’s learning without imposing on their independence.
“It also gives parents peace of mind. Some parents really struggle when their children go away on a school trip. For the ones who don’t worry it’s simply a great way to stay in touch and watch their children’s progress online and see photos and video of them enjoying their trip.
“But for parents who are anxious it’s a real lifeline. They can log on whenever they want to, see where their children are and be reassured they are safe,” he said.
Locuro’s high-tech emergency response centre
One of the Locuro’s distinctive features is its high-tech emergency response centre where highly trained staff monitor news services around the world 24/7 and alert schools to potential danger or delays.
When they identify an incident – a natural disaster or a terrorist incident for example – they create an electronic exclusion zone that sends an automatic warning to any school party entering the area. If the message is not answered within ten minutes they follow it up with a phone call.
In the event of a major incident Locuro’s emergency response team take further steps to provide parents the reassurance they need.
Imagine the following scenario. There is a major coach crash in France. News of the incident is broadcast on the BBC but details are sketchy. Naturally, every parent who has a child on a school trip in France that day would assume the worst and call their child’s school.
Locuro’s sophisticated system allows it to run an automated algorithm that determines which school parties in that country or area at that time could not have been involved in the crash. Within minutes of the first reports, the system automatically sends a personalised text message to the parents of each child on each cleared trip, letting them know their child was not involved. This not only provides relief for parents but also saves school switchboards being inundated with calls.
In the event of a school being caught up in a serious incident Locuro offers free emergency assistance. The emergency response centre’s virtual conference room structure enables the school, local authority, emergency services and (if the incident takes place abroad) the Foreign Office or relevant embassy, to combine to provide the necessary solution and support.
Find out more about Locuro at www.locuro.com
Note to editors: Locuro was developed in response to enquiries from schools that had seen Gaptrac, another of Ubitrac’s products aimed at gap year travellers. Gaptrac provides the same emergency response mechanisms as well as a digital record of the traveller’s trip-of- a-lifetime with photos, video and audio blogs overlaid onto satellite mapping.
The permissions system on Gaptrac is built for individuals and as such was unsuitable for groups travelling together on school trips. Following a consultation with schools, Ubitrac set about developing a complex yet easy-to- use permissions system and Locuro became a reality. This unique system is now about to be rolled out on a global basis.