Teachers use iPads to take roll

A new Didax feature allows teachers to record attendance from any device with internet capabilities through the school website.

Before this year, teachers were required to use their school laptops to connect to the Didax program to record attendance.

The new feature allows teachers to use devices like smartphones, iPads and other computers to record attendance for their classes, attendance coordinator Gabriel Preciado said.

“It’s definitely more convenient,” science teacher Wendy van Norden said. “I use it much more often than I use the Didax connection. If I want to, I can bring my iPad to class and take attendance on that. It sounds so silly to admit that having one or two fewer clicks and passwords to type in makes my life easier, but it does.”

Preciado said the new capabilities improve attendance accuracy because teachers are able to quickly submit their attendance through an iPad or smartphone with their students in front of them, rather than waiting until after class.

“It is very convenient and has taken care of a lot of attendance errors,” Assistant to the Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken said. “When I wait to get to my desk after class to report attendance, I often forget who was absent.”

All teachers were given iPads this school year, which adds mobility and speed to the attendance process, Preciado explained.

“We’re trying to collect information a lot quicker, and it’s coming to us a lot faster,” he said. “If [teachers] have their iPads in front of them, they can send it right away, if not, we have to rely on them going back to their offices and remembering to do it.”

“I use it for my 11th grade class each day,” history teacher John Johnson said. “The problem I was having since I teach on both campuses was that I would do my ninth grade classes on the computer each morning, but, after my 11th grade class, I had to vacate the room right away. I would forget to do the 11th grade attendance until the next morning. It has been very convenient for me to do attendance on my phone.”

Software Development Manager Alan Homan and Web Manager Lillian Contreras brought the idea to Preciado during the summer, and the new component of the website has been up and running since the beginning of the school year.

“When the decision to purchase iPads for all faculty and staff was made, we determined that making attendance available on any internet-connected device would be beneficial,” Homan said. “This is a new feature that is very similar to the existing Didax attendance system, and faculty can use either.”

“I’m using it every day now because it simply loads and functions much faster than Didax,” math teacher Jacob Hazard said.

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