Archive for April, 2008
Did you know? It’s easy to change Tandem calendars.

Tandem for Schools makes calendar changes a breeze.  And any changes made will be immediately available to everyone.  Plus, users (parents, etc.) that are registered on the calendar get updates of any changes.

Because the Tandem calendar operates out of a central database, your school staff will save loads of time when schedules do change.

Here are some scenarios where Tandem for Schools will greatly streamline the calendar change process:

– A baseball game gets rained out.  Rather than have to make a bunch of phone calls (and receive a bunch from inquisitive parents), you updated or cancel the event.  Registered parents get an email, and everyone on your staff knows – pretty much now.

– Your school administration is trying to finalize the general school calendar.  You enter it in the system.  But two days later, you receive an updated schedule.  You can update it in less than five minutes.  Tandem instantly reflects the changes.

– Had some snow days?  Change the last school day on your calendar with ease.  Parents, staff, everyone?  Happy and updated.

Remember, all of the above scenarios are simple updates made by one staff person to one centralized calendar.  No more fuss getting your changes made and calendar users updated.

Shameless plug:  Tandem for Schools is easy to use and will take the stress out of calendar management.  Learn more and give it a try at www.intand.com.

PDF Calendar on Your Website Enough? Likely Not.

Jon Udell made some interesting points in his blog about the importance of calendars and data feeds. He call syndication of data feeds “transformative technology”. Syndication? Data feeds? Gobbelygook?

He is right. These two technologies are important, but what do they mean? Syndication allows internet users to grab information (usually in the form of RSS, or Really Simple Syndication) and consolidate it in one place rather than going to multiple web sites to gather their daily info dose.

Simply put, at many web sites, you can subscribe to a feed, and read all of your subscribed feeds from one place using a reader tool (Google Reader is a good and simple one). And Viola! Every time new posts are added, or information is updated, it shows up as new in your reader. Easy, and cool!

You will be interested to know that Tandem for Schools provides RSS feeds of calendar events. Users can filter events by group to track events and updates. So there is nothing for users to do except review their feeds on a regular basis. If events are updated in the system, everyone has the updates immediately, easing communication and office logistics.

So, the PDF you may be posting may be working for you for now. But what happens if the staff member that updates it is out? How do change requests get communicated? Tandem for Schools gets around all this. Your entire staff can be empowered to manage the calendar. And your parents and students will be drawn in to higher involvement. That’s the goal anyway.

Did you know? Tandem Can Notify Parents of Schedule Changes.

Tandem for Schools can be a big help when school or district events get changed or canceled.  Parents can sign up to have updates sent to them via email (and through other means like SMS, etc. in the future).  So if they have kids in soccer, they can be notified if a game gets canceled due to weather.  No more taking 100’s of calls in your school office when there is a schedule change in question.  Once a staff member updates the calendar, everyone who has signed up for the updates knows about the change.  And you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Sexy Technologies…Low Faculty Morale??

A recent post at Weblogg-ed exposes a problem: technology for technology’s sake. It seems that a Alexandria, VA school spent $98 million on new facilities and tech, only to find that faculty morale was still low and cynicism ran high.

It’s a shame, because technology can empower everyone in the school ecosystem — from parents to students to faculty and staff. It’s clear that there are a lot of bloated technology solutions out there that give minimal empowerment for the costs incurred.

Some questions might be in order which may help determining if the tech you need is actually the tech that will help your school or district:

  • Will this save you and other staff time?
  • How long is the learning curve? Remember that most technology has two main competitors: pen/paper and the old way of doing things. If the learning curve is perceived to be higher than these two “competitors”, your cause is lost.
  • Does the tech you are looking at implementing build your school community and drive higher involvement, or not?
  • What is the total cost of ownership (TCOA)? What is the cost per student?
  • How long does it take to implement the new tech, and once it is up and running, how long before it actually drives efficiency and community?

There are other criteria of course, but it seems that the above questions are forgotten rather quickly.

Built-in Conflict Checking

How many times have you scheduled something on your school calendar, only to find later that the facility or time you specified was double-booked?  This is a frustrating scenario, both for staff and outside users of your calendar.

Tandem for Schools overcomes this problem with built-in conflict checking.  When you enter an event, you’ll know right away if you are double-booking.  And your job will be easier because of it.

What it’s all about…

The NSBA (National School Boards Association Blog) had an interesting post this week about community engagement with schools.  It linked to an opinion piece about the importance of teaching kids critical skills, but noted that community engagement is critical.  We would agree.

We hear frequently from our customers that they desire more involvement by parents and kids.  But how?  It all comes down to communication and connecting the community into the goings on at the school.  With all the myriad programs and events at schools, parents and kids start to lose track.  Communication is the tough part.  Without the right tools to keep parents updated on their kids’ involvements and events that pertain to them, driving community is a huge challenge.

A good centralized school calendar is key, in our estimation, allowing parents and administrators alike to communicate with ease.  With all the personal devices people are using to manage life, simple updating and school calendar integration is the next killer app.  When people know what’s going on, community will grow, and participation will flourish.

Did you know? You can try Tandem for free.

Tandem for Schools is a great tool for most districts and schools. We’ve made it easy for you to determine if Tandem will take the pain out of your school district calendar planning.

Just go to demo.intand.com and play with the calendar all you like. Enter the following info to login:

Username: demo@intand.com

Password: tandemdemo

This site will give you full-featured access to Tandem for Schools and give you the opportunity to see the power of this tool in action.

If you still have questions, and would like a live personal demo over the phone, feel free to call us. We’re glad to help!