Keeping Attendance in the Cloud

Living in Wisconsin, we have our share of cloudy days.  We wait all winter for those clear blue sunny skies.  But, this summer I have become a strong advocate for the clouds–rather for cloud computing.  I’ve already written an article this summer about teaching my face-to-face ESL Research & Study Skills course paperlessly on Blackboard.  But, also this summer I used Google Docs for maintaining my attendance records.

Now, maintaining attendance records is one of those mundane chores that is undoubtedly one of my least favorite tasks yet is an incredibly important one required for our state reports, i.e. program funding.  So why the excitement about using Google Docs for the daily attendance?

I teach in multiple classrooms throughout the campus each and every day.  With Docs,  I don’t have to carry an attendance book with me and risk forgetting it in my office or leaving it behind  in one of my many classrooms.  I don’t have to worry about misplacing the book or someone else carrying it off.  (Yes, it has been known to happen!)   Additionally, while Microsoft Excel works equally well, the advantage of using Docs is that I don’t have to take/waste the extra class time to log in and log off of each computer each hour in order to use my desktop Excel, and I don’t have to use (and lose) a flash drive.  I just sign into the website, and there are all my attendance records for all of my classes.   At the end of the day, I can just as easily call my information out of the clouds and work on my record keeping at home.  All without worrying about having my information accessible at whichever of the multiple computers I use each day.

One more good thing about using Docs for keeping attendance, if I’m absent, all I have to do is give my team teacher or substitute the link to my attendance list without that person needing a password or a special account.  They only need to click on the link.  My records are saved in the clouds, delivered to them in an instant,  returned to me in a snap, and stored safe and sound in my favorite clouds.  And what’s more–it’s all free!  No cost to me, no cost to the students, no cost to the school.   What could be better?!!!


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