Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Build Custom Mobile Apps to Manage Internship Learning


I have been on a bit of a blog-hiatus this past month... but I am back!

Throughout my work with Big Picture Learning, I have always tried to find "hacks" to make it easier to manage the complexity of real-world learning. Here is one that is super exciting....

AppSheet is a tool for incorporating Google spreadsheets into custom mobile applications. Great for solving some challenges at internship based schools.

I have used the app to incorporate our LTI Coordinator's active internship data so that students can see the location and contact information for their internship and sign in and sign out of the internship. The sign in/out function leverages the location services on mobile devices to record the gps coordinates of the student at the time to ensure that they are at their internship.  A timestamp is recorded with each entry and students can even include pictures from their internship as added evidence. This service enables me to build custom apps for each advisory or for our whole school.


We also have an app that allows advisors to log their site visits and include pictures of the great work that their students are doing at their internships. This spreadsheet information is then pulled up on an administrative app that allows the principal to see all of the advisor site visits and know what is happening at internships. These are powerful analytics for school leaders to show the relationships of students, mentors and advisors.

HERE ARE TWO TEMPLATES
 of the LTI Attendance and Advisor Visit Logging that you can use to get started.

Appsheet is so cool because it is so customizable (i.e. hackable.) You can easily build ipad apps that track student or visitor sign in, study hall logging, or student project-progress reporting. Who knows how you will choose to use it! It is a scrappy little upstart in the world of mobile apps... Translation: it is not the most intuitive service to adopt and can be a bit unstable if you get crazy with it (as I tend to do.) But it's greatness lies in its ease of connection to data in google sheets (or box, or dropbox!) and ability to create one-up solutions. Perfect for meeting the needs of Big Picture Schools. Oh... and it can be free depending upon what services you want.

If you need help creating your own app for internship attendance, advisor visit logging, or whatever you need, shoot me an email and we can get started.



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