When it comes to automating school procedures, it can often feel like a huge undertaking for administrators, but it doesn’t have to be. When administrators focus on automating and streamlining the everyday events that take place at their schools, they are able to provide their faculty and students with a safer and more reliable environment. Not only does automation allow for plenty of tasks to get done faster and more efficiently, but it allows faculty to invest their time in what’s most important— educating and supporting students.
An automated alerting platform allows for mass system integration and continuous monitoring. For instance, most schools are already equipped with a variety of technologies, such as fire/smoke detection, door access control, security cameras, PA systems, monitors, landlines, etc., but typically all of the systems run separately and don’t communicate with one another. However, when all of these systems are tied onto an automated alerting platform, they are able to be monitored and utilized simultaneously all in one place.
Once all of these systems are tied together, they can be used to help improve communication and school safety. For example, if a school’s fire alarm were pulled, this could trigger multiple actions from the school’s other systems; The automated alerting platform can automatically pull live video feed from the school’s security cameras closest to the triggered fire alarm and send it directly to faculty’s desktops and mobile devices. With this video-feed, numerous things can be determined immediately, such as who pulled the fire alarm, where the alarm was pulled, and whether the area needs to be avoided if an evacuation is necessary. When all of a school’s systems are utilized, any situation can be handled more appropriately by allowing for informed decisions and actions.
An automated alerting platform is also a great way to improve communication through mass notification. Administrators can upload their school’s entire student, parent/guardian, and faculty contact information, allowing for mass text messages, calls, and emails to be sent with the touch of a button. This is a great tool for emergency and non-emergency situations. For instance, if there is an early closing or a delay of the buses, that information can be sent out to the appropriate people so they can stay informed. It can also be used for simple reminders, such as when picture day is or that there’s no school for an upcoming holiday. And with mass notification, administrators can also determine who they want the information to be sent out to by creating specific groups. This means that if they only want to contact teachers, the football team, or the entire eight grade class, they are able to do so.
Once a school’s systems are all integrated onto an alerting platform, administrators can further improve communication, as well as information tracking, by implementing in-room classroom portals. Through these portals, which are typically in the form of a tablet, teachers are able to receive the mass notification alerts as well as personalized alerts containing detailed information. For instance, if a student’s lunch is dropped off at the main office, rather than sending someone to take the lunch to the room, a non-emergency alert can be sent to the teacher’s portal, allowing the situation to be dealt with at the appropriate time. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to minimizing classroom disruptions, a common problem that leads to an unproductive learning environment.
Teachers can also use classroom portals to track important information, such as student’s attendance, grades, and even moods. When all of this information is recorded, it can then be organized and displayed for easy viewing on an analytics dashboard. Teachers are able to access this data to gain insight into students’ behaviors, performance, and mental health. Recording and monitoring this data is a crucial action to take in addressing students’ needs and ensuring their success.
With the classroom portal, teachers are able to mark their students’ attendance for each class. This is especially useful for monitoring students that change classrooms throughout the day. For instance, a student’s profile can be accessed through the data analytics dashboard, revealing that they consistently miss a certain class even though they attend their other classes consistently. With this information, a staff member can address the student to get to the bottom of the problem, whether it be that they’re avoiding a particular person in the class or simply need help with the material.
The same concept applies to tracking students’ moods. Each teacher can record how their individual students’ daily moods are, creating a concrete set of data that can help address students that may be experiencing poor mental health or other stressors. For example, if a student consistently begins the day in a good mood, but their mood declines after lunch, this may indicate that they are experiencing bullying or other negative situations that are impacting their mental state. Because teachers and staff have so many responsibilities, these patterns can easily go missed, but when they’re recorded and displayed, they can be properly addressed.
Implementing tools to help improve school operations is in the best interest of everyone involved. Teachers are able to spend their time educating and focusing on students, students receive the help and support they need, and parents and guardians are kept informed. When the focus of implementing these technologies is simply on creating better daily outcomes, rather than becoming a tech-overloaded school, it becomes easy to see why these tools and the time to learn how to use them are important to invest in.