I’m like Kip. I love technology. Always and forever.
But my favorite thing about technology is how it can be leveraged to improve people’s experiences. And today’s #TechTuesday post is all about that. When I moved up to the Fresno area and began working the Selma Unified School District, one of the first impressions I was able to make was with my idea to digitize our Chromebook Calendar.
If I understand correctly the system that was in place before my arrival, the former program manager would field in-person requests from teachers and hand-write them on a paper calendar. So, a teacher would tell her what dates they wanted to check out on of the school’s Chromecarts (a rolling cart that holds 32 Chromebook laptop computers). She would check availability on that date, write them in, and so forth. I think that she probably fielded requests from teachers after she had run out of carts, and had to deal with their disappointment face-to-face (that idea gives me the heebie-jeebies).
Knowing that one of the cool features of Google Calendar (exclusive to Education accounts) was the ability to make appointment slots, I hatched a plan.
- I created 12 appointment slots (for the 12 Chromecarts) for each school day in my own account (in a sub-calendar called ALMS Chromecart Reservations).
- It’s just like creating a calendar Event, but in education accounts an additional option is available to create an Appointment Slot
- I made the appointments for hour-long increments throughout the day, even though the reservation is actually for the entire school day
- I did this so the appointments would be visible individually (not stacked 12-deep on top of each other).
- I shared that calendar with the staff
- I created a Program Manager website, where I created a page for the calendar
- On that page, I explained the new process
- Teachers visit the calendar page, look on the date(s) they want
- They click an available appointment, add their name and room number, and voila!
- The appointment is now visible in two places: the ALMS Chromecart Reservations calendar, but also on their own Google Calendar!!!
To be honest, it took several teachers a couple times to get comfortable (not a bad learning curve) simply because nobody else ever uses this appointment slot feature. But after that, it’s been working pretty much without a hitch for close to two years now! I’d love to be a 1:1 school and render this calendar unnecessary, but until then it’s nice to have a good system in place.