By Dennis Pierce
The ubiquity of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices with Internet connectivity has changed the way we live—and work.
Is mobile connectivity the new normal, something we all take for granted now?
“Absolutely. We expect that we can access our data at any time,” said Marie Bjerede, project director for the Consortium for School Networking’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative. “For meetings, we can pull up a spreadsheet, or we can Google information that we don’t have—and all of this information is always available to us.”
This anytime, anywhere connectivity enables K-12 leaders to do their jobs more effectively. It means they can patrol the hallways, conduct classroom walkthroughs, or attend a basketball game—and still be connected to parents, staff, and the information they need to do their jobs effectively.
“Administrators need to be able to connect with their employees and their colleagues, synchronously and asynchronously, and have information at their fingertips—whether they’re out at a restaurant and an emergency comes up, or if they’re sitting in their office,” Bjerede said.
At Lake Park Community High School District 108 in Roselle, Ill., administrators are using a mobile app from SunGard K-12 Education to get instant access to student or school information from wherever they are. John Gates, manager of information systems for the 3,000-student district, called the app “a really good addition to our toolset here.”
Gates said Lake Park administrators now have easy access to information they used to have to request by radio communication. “It just makes them much more effective,” he said.
For instance, if they’re not familiar with a student or whether the student belongs in the lunchroom at that time, they can quickly scan an ID badge or look up the student’s name to see his or her schedule and know exactly where that student is supposed to be.
“That’s a pretty common example; sometimes kids go and visit their friends when it’s not their lunch period,” he said.
School administrative software needs to be just as mobile as today’s K-12 leaders are, which means it must operate across multiple platforms and devices to keep up with educators who are always on the move.
“If a fire alarm goes off, it’s expected that we have an immediate way to track attendance,” Gates concluded. “Constant access to information is just expected these days.”
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