The first month of school at Shaler Area High School was full of anticipation for a new system as students were left without agendas and hall passes. The traditional paperback agendas were not given to students at the beginning of the year, like they usually are and because of this, little, green slips were temporarily flooding the halls.
The lack of paperback agendas was the result of a transition to a new app on the iPads that every student has access to. This app was used last school year at the Middle School and after proving to be successful, the high school decided it was time to change, as well.
After a few weeks delay due to minor glitches, the app was finally implemented for all students and teachers in the building on September 27.
The app, MySchoolInfo, pulls most of its information from the school website to produce a newsfeed that can be customized by the user. Students are able to write in their schedules to keep track of assignments. Useful apps, like Edline for example, are also located in the sidebar menu of the app.
As for the hall pass system, teachers create a personalized pin code to sign students in and out of their designated classrooms. While doing so, they set a certain amount of time for the student in which he/she is expected to return. Once signed out, the student’s identification photo as well as the teacher’s is displayed on the screen.
Despite rumors, the app does not by any means have an alarm or the specialization to lock the screen once signed out. If a student does not return in the allotted time, it is up to the teacher to determine the penalty.
This change has been implemented for a few reasons, with cost saving being most prevalent.
“The app itself will cost 20% of what the agendas would normally cost. We are saving a couple thousands of dollars by switching to this function,” the Assistant Principal, Ms. Heather Berney, said.
Ms. Berney also feels that this transition will help students’ technological skills by using an iPad more every day.
“We feel like we are preparing for the world after school because most of the world right now is paperless. It’s good practice for [the students],” said Berney.
Although this change from paper to iPads has sparked some controversy throughout the school, the district is excited and willing to try it out. They plan on responding to any feedback from both teachers and students.