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Too Many Students Late or Absent from Class? There’s an App for That

Too Many Students Late or Absent from Class? There’s an App for That

Five schools in Harlem, including Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts, are using technology to approach reducing absences and tardiness from its students.

The Harlem schools are using an app, called Kinvolved, that allows teachers to take attendance with the “swipe of a finger,” and immediately sends alerts to children’s parents when they are either absent from or tardy to a class.

Science teacher at Wedleigh Etta Covington told The New York Times that since using the app in November, she has already seen an improvement in student attendance. She said she’s noticed participation from students who she had previously never even seen in class before.

Kinvolved seeks to help schools create a more positive and effective learning environment by increasing parental engagement.

"Kinvolved’s goal is to spur greater parental involvement by increasing the details parents receive from their child’s school while making the communication process more efficient. In addition to sending attendance notices in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and other languages, teachers may use the app to inform parents about school events or class tests,” NYT said.

In addition to increasing parental engagement, the app also helps the schools increase the availability and use of big data to figure out trends.

"For administrators and teachers, the app also includes pie charts showing school-wide or student-specific attendance trends, such as lost instructional time in a given week or month.”

But while Kinvolved is a helpful tool that helps get the data and alert parents, it’s only part of the equation to raising attendance rates.

Some parents, for example, don’t want to be bothered with the notifications for their children’s absences or tardiness. According to administrators, at least one parent has requested to be removed from the alerts.

Underlying problems like when children come from non-supportive homes or suffer from “family illness, job loss or homelessness” are other factors that need to be addressed through solid support systems.

For that reason, Wedleigh has created more support systems to help students that the app has helped them single out for frequently having problems making it to class on time or at all.

"The school has used data logged by Kinvolved to direct additional attention to those families whose children miss school most often. The students meet regularly with advisers and mentors to set monthly attendance improvement goals. The school rewards students who meet their monthly goals, giving them a free movie ticket,” NYT said.

So while some experts are concerned that schools that have the app available to them will place too much emphasis on technology alone, it does not appear to be an issue in Wedleigh.

 

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/25/2016

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