Update on Attendance 2 and Using QR Codes for Attendance
I have now been using Attendance 2 to take attendance for the past two weeks (or at least on the days I have been at school). Since I posted my previous post, the developer of Attendance 2 enabled the front camera to use for scanning (previously only the back camera was used).
I purchased a GigEasy iPad Holder at the TMEA conference, so I place my school-granted iPad into that holder (on a mic stand), and place it near the door so that students scan their QR codes as they enter the room.
You can open multiple QR codes with Preview for Mac, printing them sixteen to a page. I had some full-page labels (available at any office store, perhaps even Target and Wal-Mart), so I printed the QR codes on those labels, cut them out with a guillotine paper cutter, and handed them to students. They either put the stickers (which have their name and folder number) on the inside of their folders, or they took a picture of the sticker with their phone, and simply scan their phone when they come in the door.
It works VERY well…particularly if I remember to set out the iPad.
Paul Shimmons (at iPad and Technology in Music Education) has been using Attendance 2 with QR codes for attendance, too. Attendance 2 places the QR codes in your Dropbox folder. He downloaded the QR codes from Dropbox and put them in a Pages document, making each .75 inches tall. Then he handed his out to students.
It only takes a moment to scroll down your list of names after students have finished scanning their QR codes to see who is absent (or forgot to scan in). A few non-choir students have stopped by while students are scanning in before the bell, and it universally gets high acclaim from those students. I've spoiled my students, however…what I hear is, “What else do you expect from Dr. Russell?”
Just a couple of other notes: you can also set Attendance 2 to scan bar codes (e.g. all of our students have an ID with a bar code), but the process of getting all of those codes seemed too complicated. Additionally, I think students will forget their student IDs (only used in the media center) more often than they will forget their folders with the QR code. Additionally, the QR code inside of the folder has greatly reduced the number of students who typically “forget” their folder until after warm-ups/sight reading. The screen flashes when a scan is recognized (usually very fast), but I have requested that the developer add the option of a “beep” as well.
I set the student identifier to be the following:
Name of Choir, Name of Folder
WC 02 (i.e. Women's Choir Folder 2) or MC 18 (i.e. Men's Choir Folder 18)
Every now and then you come across an idea or a product that just makes your life easier as a teacher. This is certainly one of them, which I will continue to use. Attendance 2 is $4.99. It's not a “pretty” app…but it really works. Also recommended: a GigEasy stand.