Bueller?

Is taking attendance menial... or meaningful? Sure, it can be a chore, a clerical task that can't be ignored, but who doesn't remember, as an elementary student, waiting to hear their name, ready to give that first, official answer of the day: "present!"

Attendance marks a beginning, a coming together of minds to begin a day, or a class - a ritual that heralds the promise of learning, community, togetherness.

But the checklist - that spiral notebook, or xeroxed slip of paper with everyone's name on it - that's going the way of the chalkboard, and I'll admit I'm a little wistful about it. That little slip of paper was a permanent, tangible testament to the start of the day. It was one of the "jobs" younger kids could take charge of. A little adventure they might go on, a quest to deliver that paper down to the main office.

But, if schools really want to trade all that adventure for taps, swipes, and realtime data transfer, I've got tools for that...

The Concept

emphaSIS Attendance is a stand-alone tool for taking attendance, but will be part of the emphaSIS suite of academic information systems. It can be used for homerooms, or for keeping intraday records for individual classes. It is intended for use on an iOS device running FileMaker GO.

Taking Attendance

Fire up FileMaker GO and open the emphaSIS attendance file. Tap the appropriate status for each student (the standard list is "Absent, Present, Late, and Left Early", but any values can be used with a little customizing in FileMaker Pro).

 

Playing well with others

emphaSISAttendance_iPhone_classImport.png

As a FileMaker GO solution, emphaSIS Attendance can be tailored to work with any hosted FileMaker-based SIS. But in case your school doesn't yet use a FileMaker-based SIS, the tool reads and sends information in a simplified XML format.

Setting up class lists

Create your own classes by using FileMaker GO's native add/remove record controls, or import them from your clipboard in XML format. If your SIS can generate XML representations of course data and email them to you, you can simply cut and paste them directly into the emphaSIS attendance

example XML is available on the iPad interface for each of the sample courses provided in the file 

Sending attendance

In emphaSIS attendance, the trip to the front office is accomplished with a single tap. All attendance records for the day are gathered and placed in an email in both human readable text and simplified XML for easy copy and paste into your SIS. 

 

You can even attach a CSV of your attendance data to the email. This option can be found by tapping the little settings gear at the bottom. 

 

Tap the gear to access options

turn CSV exports on and off. Your userID will be added to the file name

Make it yours

emphaSIS Attendance is offered as a proof-of-concept technique file to illustrate the simplicity and fun of FileMaker and FileMaker GO. Feel free to take it apart in FileMaker Pro, or FileMaker Pro Advanced and adapt it to your particular needs. If you find it useful, have suggestions or comments, or want help integrating with your SIS, please drop me a line.

Steps to install and use on an iOS device

  1. Make sure you have FileMaker GO 12 installed
  2. Download emphaSIS Attendance v1.0 
  3. (Optional/Advanced) Once you've downloaded and opened emphaSIS Attendance on your iOS device, you can download and install this iOS profile file to create a home screen launcher for your database


Sample Class Import:

The following XML can be cut and pasted into emphaSIS_Attendance to demonstrate the cut-and-paste class import function 

<Class><ID>13</ID><GroupID>CRS301</GroupID><GroupName>Homeroom, Wallace</GroupName><Note></Note><Enrollment><Student><ID>88</ID><StudentID></StudentID><LastName>Ann</LastName><FirstName>Kittenplan</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>90</ID><StudentID>s20</StudentID><LastName>Jim</LastName><FirstName>Troeltsch</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>94</ID><StudentID>s21</StudentID><LastName>Joelle</LastName><FirstName>Van Dyne</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>93</ID><StudentID>s22</StudentID><LastName>Kate</LastName><FirstName>Gompert</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>92</ID><StudentID>s23</StudentID><LastName>Ken</LastName><FirstName>Erdedy</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>89</ID><StudentID>s24</StudentID><LastName>LaMont</LastName><FirstName>Chu</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>91</ID><StudentID>s25</StudentID><LastName>Mary Esther</LastName><FirstName>Thode</FirstName></Student><Student><ID>87</ID><StudentID>s26</StudentID><LastName>Michael</LastName><FirstName>Pemulis</FirstName></Student></Enrollment></Class>