I have a couple of things bugging me and I figure here is the place to get it aired out! Maybe you can advise me, or in the least appease me while I rant. It’s been a while since I complained. So here is rant number one. Maybe I will feel appeased after just one.
It’s the next best thing since sliced bread!
I have library friends right now who are really hot and bothered about Google forms, particularly using a google form for library visitors to sign in. Now I tell you, am totally in favor of Google Forms. I’m a BIG fan. But this is just something I personally cannot justify at this time. Yes, folks, we use the good old fashioned sign-in notebook for students visting the library on a pass. That’s right. Me. Miss use tech for everything at all costs.
One less student computer, one more record-keeping machine.
We have contemplated using a computer and google form to have kids sign in. Our problem is we just dont have the hardware to use for just that purpose–every available computer is better in use by a student with a class in the library than set aside for the purpose of signing in. Yes, I’d like to have one, but no, right now I just cannot justify using one of our student library workstations. (My selfish goal is that eventually we will be one-to-one with laptops or ipads…lofty goals, yes, and goals that will SURELY make me work even harder for the library to be seamlessly integrated in the school.)
Many site the timestamp as one of the best reasons to use a Google Form in the school library. The form absolutely DOES timestamp each student who uses it. But in a school as large as mine, there is no way to monitor and ensure the actual kids typing in a name are one and the same. We make kids sign in using a notebook with an actual table–enough for 20 students per page. It asks for a date, name, purpose, time in, and time out. And every month I count the visitors for our monthly report. But I also every month find a “Mickey Mouse” or some other strange name signed in somewhere in the many names listed. We only make those visiting on a pass from class use it. All others are counted with classes that are scheduled, and before and after school as well as lunch are rough estimates.
That sign-in sheet serves a larger purpose at my school. Most of the time one of us three (me, my co-librarian, or our assistant) watch as students sign in. Generally we are checking out the authenticity of the pass–yes we’ve had our fair share of forged ones–unthinkable that a high school student would do such a thing–gasp!!–while the student is signing in. But some sign in misrepresenting who they are if we are not 100% vigilant. But our teachers on an infrequent basis use the notebook to check time in and out for students (even calling us to see what time they arrived or left.) Our assistant principals on occasion also check the info. If the info was on a google spreadsheet, and mind you info submitted with a google form DOES wind up on a google spreadsheet, unless it was shared widely with the entire school community, the only ones with access would be the creator and who it was shared with. That would require those folks interested (and authorized) to actually stop us from a library duty (like say, um, teaching) to check for them if they were not on the shared data list. Last but not least, we use it to grab data for number of students using the library in some way each and every month.
One of my friends suggested we use a scanner to do the job. It’s a valid suggestion too. But again, unless you have a really expensive system, the data would have to be exported/downloaded, which also takes time. It is not instantly available even after scanning a badge. At our SCASL library conference and SC Edtech conference, they use devices that read magnetic strip cards. each attendee gets a card assigned to their name, and then each session they get scanned. The data scanned is used to provide a transcript of sorts for sessions attended and turned in for renewal credits or whatever districts need to verify attendance. The data must be downloaded from the devices they use. If our schools would change from a barcode system to a magnetic strip system, I suppose that would work, but then we in the library would need two ways to scan information for checking out–one a magnetic strip reader to load the student and then a barcode scanner to scan the data (books) at checkout. So it’s not a win win for us either. Sigh.