A trip back to Attendance

One of the early apps I used on my iPhone was Attendance, a straight-forward attendance app created by Dave Reed of Dave256Apps. At the time, our school was using an archaic attendance system (SASI), and the iPad was not even on anyone's radar (except, perhaps, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive). Attendance allowed me to take Attendance on my iPhone, saving me time in class.

Eventually, our school moved to Infinite Campus, a school management software system that is exponentially better than SASI (it still has its problems, but the company continues to develop the product). So I didn't need Attendance any longer.

Since that time, he has released Attendance2, a new app that supports iOS 6 and beyond (it gets difficult to support all legacy devices).

I have continued to follow Mr. Reed on Twitter, and on February 7th, he tweeted:

I have been looking for a way to use QR codes in high school choir, and this is the logical result: create a QR code for your students to take attendance. Not only does Attendance2 read QR codes, it generates the images as well, and sends them to Dropbox. From Dropbox you can open them in Preview (Mac) and print 16 QR codes to a page.

I had so full-page adhesive labels in the house, so I printed the QR Codes on labels, and will cut them out and distribute them tomorrow. Students can stick the QR codes on their folders, and I also printed (from Preview) a PDF version of the QR codes so that if someone loses one, I can reprint them quickly–even from my iPad.

I used my folder list as a way to identify students…using the “text to columns” feature to break up first and last names, and then using the folder number (along with an added character, such as with this formula: =”MC “&A2 [A2 being the folder number]) to make a unique identifier for each choir. Then I used Attendance2's ability to export QR codes, and as of tomorrow, students will scan themselves in to my “school” iPad as they walk in the door. After everyone is scanned in, I will check the attendance quickly, and move on. It should save quite a bit of time in the process…attendance is an important but slow part of every rehearsal.

I can even do the same thing on our tour, making a list of students and scanning them as they enter the bus. We will have no question about who is present or absent as we go from place to place.

Mr. Reed also tells me that Attendance2 can handle bar codes as well…and all our students have a student ID with a bar code…but I'm pretty sure that many of our students won't have that ID with them.

I'll let you know how the QR experiment works. Attendance2 is $4.99 on the AppStore.



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