Manual attendance is a laborious task for both staff and students. Nearly 83% of teachers that we surveyed said our current attendance system needs improvement. Teachers at Foothill High School often spend anywhere between two to five minutes taking attendance. In Flex, it becomes more inefficient as the teacher spends a whopping 7-12% of class time taking attendance. Although attendance is very important for schools, the number of hours wasted is a huge issue. Presence solves this problem by submitting attendance accurately without wasting any class time. Our technology uses handpicked hardware and software to save time and give schools the useful information. Automated attendance means more instructional time and more accurate attendance.
At Foothill High School, Presence can make a great impact benefiting both staff and students. With Presence, teachers can increase instructional time by up to 10%! With Presence View, the teacher can view all the student information including real-time attendance. Teachers also can take advantage of the statistics that Presence provides such as the duration students spend outside of class and the number of times a student has missed class. These statistics can help teachers identify students that may be struggling in their class and help them. Presence will also lighten the job of the attendance office. Our system would politely remind teachers to submit their attendance, which many of them forget to do. The system can automatically submit attendance to Q. Students and parents would not have to worry about accidental absent markings. Also, students do not have to spend the time writing down the time and their name on the “Student Sign In/Out” sheet. In fact, a lot of handwriting on the sheet in illegible which makes it harder for teachers to read during an emergency. The system can log students time outside of class with the input of their ID. This would be very useful in the case of an emergency. Since our school sometimes faces internet issues, Presence was designed to operate during internet connectivity issues. It will store the data locally on the Raspberry Pi and will transfer all data to the online database later. Also, using RFID cards is better than barcodes because these cards can hold more data such as Student Name, ID Number, Grade etc. RFID readers can be implemented in other areas of the school as well such as the cafeteria and the library.
Class Attendance With Presence, the teacher does not have to worry about attendance or wait anymore. The teacher can confidently start class as students sign in to class with a simple tap. This also solves the problem when substitute teachers are managing the class as they do not have to worry about attendance. The system also manages students signing out/in of class to get water, use the restroom etc. and replaces the “Sign In/Out” Sheet that takes a long time to read and write to. Using technology brings many more benefits such as statistics which the teacher can look at for determining whether a student time out of the class is too long.
Flex Attendance With students going to different classes than they are assigned, and a difficult to find flex roster, our current Flex system needs some improvements. With Presence’s Flex system, you can sign up for a class with a dedicated app. This app has been tested on both Android and iOS. The app communicates and updates a roster in which attendance will be taken from. During Flex, the device will use the student data from the Flex roster to take attendance. Flex attendance is also integrated with Presence View.
Presence View We created a teacher dashboard to have a control center for the entire system. The teacher dashboard includes a page for each of their classes as well as a settings page for their account and for the device. They can configure the device settings remotely. The teachers can also modify a student’s status before submitting attendance to make sure that it is accurate. This dashboard can also be configured for substitute teachers as well.
The attendance system can fail if there is no power, internet or due to some unknown bug. If it does fail, teachers can manually take attendance until the issue is fixed. Presence will be able to take attendance offline and store the data locally until an internet connection is restored.
Our code can be handed over for examination if Foothill is concerned with security. We designed the system with security kept in mind. The program only communicates with the MongoDB that it’s associated with. That is the outside communications being made. When the program communicates with the database, it sends an encrypted write command that can only be decrypted by the server. No student information can be altered in the database. The device wipes all data from its memory every class when it is reset after each period (Teacher still has access to data through Presence View’s logs). The only time the device will keep the data is when it is not connected to the internet in which it will wipes the data after transferring it to the database.
Remotely accessing the Raspberry Pi will not be possible as the password to each Pi is different from the default one. This will make any type of connection to the Pi including SSH (Secure Shell) impossible except for authorized users. If anyone steals or gains access to the device, all programs and API credentials are password-protected, so nobody can break into the system. The device is put in two cases and is designed to be tamper-proof. To solve possible issues, we include a troubleshooting guide for each classroom in the case of some minor errors that can be easily fixed. We will provide a technical support manual for the people who can be trained to fix/repair these devices.