It’s 2017. We live in a world where technological advances abound. As soon as you get your hands on the latest gadget, its sleeker and faster successor comes along and prompts your desire to upgrade. Evidence of the tech takeover can be seen in just about every industry, from medicine to manufacturing to education. Yes, even school districts (some more quickly than others) are adopting new technology to reshape the way teachers and administrators perform their jobs, interact with students, and manage data.
From a tech standpoint it seems easy to write a program capable of storing, categorizing, and securely sharing large amounts of information in a way that is specific to a particular industry’s set of needs, but it’s still hard to imagine that certain processes — the ones that have always been analog and manual — can ever be streamlined by technology. After all, isn’t it just too complicated? Wouldn’t sticking to the “old way” of doing things be best, regardless how much time it consumes? Is it even worth trying to find technological workarounds?
Perhaps, more than anyone, teachers are accustomed to limitations that prevent their districts from implementing new initiatives. So many parts of a normal school day present obstacles that seem impossible to avoid for lack of systematic, easily integrated solutions. Things like paper or wood block hall passes, students taking too long in the halls, gaps in school-wide security protocols, difficulty with scheduling and communication — these are all issues that have become engrained in the day-to-day operations of a school.
Improving classroom management and student tracking, for example, may seem like a lost cause. If the goal is to reduce students’ wasted time in the halls, the analog system of paper hall passes doesn’t offer the most effective options. There is no visibility, no tracking, no ability to understand which students are using the halls or which teachers are letting them out. This presents obvious challenges for administrators who are tasked with ensuring their schools pass “safe school” initiatives. There’s only so much that can be done with fire drills, evacuation protocols, and lockdown procedures. Realistically, an attack, threat, or natural disaster can happen at any given moment — including when students are out of the classroom on hall passes. With old-fashioned passes, there is no way to pinpoint a student’s exact location, communicate with them (to tell them to shelter in place or return to the class), or time precisely how long they’ve been in transit, etc.
Furthermore, if a particular student is abusing their pass privilege or getting into trouble while in the halls, teachers don’t have much information to communicate to parents for the purposes of behavioral intervention. Imagine if there were a cloud-based, digital solution which could instantly let teachers know how many times per day the student had already used a pass, where they went, and how long they took. What if this solution could also be set to prohibit certain students from meeting in the halls at the same time, meaning if one were already out, the other wouldn’t be able to request a pass? What if this system could alert teachers when students failed to check in at their destinations, and could also produce hall pass activity reports by student or building for the day, week, month, and school year? What if this system could ensure that a student’s location could be precisely pinpointed in the event of an emergency?
Communication between teachers and faculty, administrators, and students would be easier. Proactive conversations could be held to stem potentially problematic behavior before intervention becomes a necessity. Trends could be noted and managed. Security could be tightened.
In addition to the lack of transparency they offer, antiquated and traditional methods of administering hall passes are known to be disruptive to classroom instruction, frequently requiring a teacher to be interrupted. What if there was a cloud-based, mobile device-enabled app which handled all pass situations (i.e. bathroom, locker, any teacher’s classroom, guidance, any library or hub space, the nurse’s office) with no extra work for the teacher? It would be the student’s responsibility to initiate and fill out their own hall pass, and the solution could offer “automatic passes” so that teachers could remain hands-free and interruption-free when students need to go somewhere on a recurring basis, such as the restroom or water fountain.
What if the solution also offered future appointment passes, to more easily manage the communication needed between teachers for students who need to leave a class and go somewhere else in the building? Imagine if planning, scheduling, automatic notifications, smart reporting, and dashboard customization were all possible through a simple, user-friendly interface that operates on any mobile device or web browser. This is what technology is capable of, and enabling education professionals to simplify and streamline day-to-day operations doesn’t have to be a dream or a massive undertaking anymore.
Programs like e-hallpass, by Eduspire Solutions, do exactly this and more. Designed by educators for educators, e-hallpass has been called a “total pass solution” and a “top teacher tool” by users across the country.