That line from Ferris Bueler’s Day Off (one of my favorite movies, by the way) is a classic. And Ben Stein – the teacher – is just amazing. But, he highlights a problem that happens in every classroom, every morning:
Whether it’s a simple check mark next to names, a verbal attendance, or just looking around your classroom, it’s got to be done every day – and even every class period.
Luckily, with the invention of technology (what the heck would we do without it?), there are some stellar iPad apps to make attendance one of the easiest things you’ve ever done.
This app comes with a beautifully-simple pie chart that shows four attendance statuses: absent, late, sick, and present. I like that it shows students who were late and sick because it can’t count against them as “skipping” class. In addition to attendance, TeacherKit tracks grades and student behavior. Something tells me, they should do one thing really well and ditch the other application’s features to become more widely adapted – but, that’s just me.
2. Teacher Tool ($27.99)
For the price, I was hoping this application “walked on water”. And it kind of does (even though iPads dropped in water wouldn’t be a good thing…). One of the features touted by this app is their back-up. When you lose a notebook, it’s gone forever unless a kind soul returns it. When you lose data or enter incorrect information, Teacher Tool stores a back-up so you can go right back to it. It also “knows when you’re teaching” so it prepares the home-screen to the data you need the most. Just like TeacherKit above, you can keep grades on this app, too.
At first glance, I thought this was just another app – it doesn’t look very pretty, but, it works. And it took me a couple minutes to watch the video to see all that it does. From communicating individually with students who may have an attendance problem to being able to add new classes and students straight from Dropbox, it’s a nifty little app. Perfect for event attendance, too – not just in the classroom.
Mainly aimed at daycare providers, but useful for pre-schoolers and kindergartners, this is one of the more-solid apps I came across. It’s got a neat feature where you can send pictures of students (say, finger painting) directly to the student’s parents using your phone – in addition to the standard attendance features via sign-in/sign-out with monthly reporting.
iRoster is a lot more than simple attendance. Some of the features that stood out to me were the robust reporting of attendance, by class or student and the fact that it’s fully customizable, allowing you to add your school logo and custom fields if you need to. I also found a payment feature, which could be useful for field trips or holiday events to see who has paid and who hasn’t. You can also print testing sheets and certificates. iRoster seems to have it all.
Attendance is the perfect application of an iPad. Manual data entry combined with you always being on-the-go means you need an app that’s easy to use and lets you quickly enter data – not get frustrated. Give one of these apps a try and let me know what you think. I’d like to hear your feedback.