EIT ideaschool staff and students are keeping in touch with their own app in a very "snAppy" way.

Features on the newly-launched app include maps of the Hawke's Bay campus and buildings, a list of contacts, a late line connection and links to useful sources of information. Staff are also using it to post news items and notifications about upcoming deadlines and events.

Assistant head of school Chris Verburg said the app, developed by Hawke's Bay company snApp Mobile, took ideaschool to the forefront of latest developments for mobile devices. It will also be linked to an ideaschool website, to be launched later this year.

"By hooking into a server, staff can self-feed information, change contact details on the app and send out alerts to specific recipients," he said.

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"It works on iPhones and androids and it's instant, which makes it perfect for our purposes."

A grant from EIT's teaching and learning innovation committee helped fund the app's development - the brainchild of snApp Mobile design director Steve Butler, a graduate of ideaschool's Diploma of Visual Arts and Design.

snApp Mobile collaborated with an ideaschool team comprising lecturers Anthony Chiappin (graphic design), Jerry Gull (typographics) and Dean Moroney (audio visual design), tailoring the app to meet the needs of EIT's visual arts and design, fashion, music and screen production staff and students.

"The design and development process was a neat experience, with everyone throwing creative ideas into the mix," Mr Butler said.

"That resulted in a unique application, attuned to ideaschool's culture and branding.

"We even built an 'idea pad' for creatives to doodle using the ideaschool colour palette. They can then share their efforts via Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email."

Steve and Joshua Woodham established snApp Mobile 18 months ago, and since then it has grown to employ a staff of nine. The company's third partner, Mark Dekker, completed his Diploma in Marketing at EIT and for the last nine years he has been developing apps in Europe.

While snApp Mobile also designs applications for small businesses, working with educators is becoming a major focus for the company.

"We have developed apps for 17 schools around New Zealand including one for Christchurch Girls' High School, which went to No 1 for New Zealand education apps in the iTunes store only two days after its launch. We are currently developing apps for two UK schools.

"It's absolutely becoming a focus for us. Referrals are frequently world of mouth, with parents, students and staff appreciating the pluses of such an app."

After eight years in Wellington, Steve thought it would be difficult moving back home. However, he's found nothing beats living in beautiful Hawke's Bay and building a great team and business from the ground up.

"With the growing workload in mind we expect our business will treble in the next 12 months." Two EIT students regularly worked as interns at snApp Mobile and Steve said the company was looking forward to helping them develop their careers.