Archive for May, 2008

Tandem, Eco-Friendly??

In this day and age of environmental awareness, everyone is talking about small carbon footprints, recycling and sustainability.  Well, we’re no ones to leverage the cause du jour into a crass business purpose, but there are very real ways Tandem can impact the environment positively:

– Tandem may help you reduce significant paperwork in your calendar planning and approval process.  It’s all online, and event approvals using our system don’t require paper sign offs.  This may be of minimal impact in just one school.  But think of the implications if an entire district uses Tandem.

– Tandem may help save gas.  If parents are aware of canceled events via email, they can avoid unnecessary trips.

– Tandem may help reduce paper calendar handouts to students and staff.  Say the choir has a practice schedule filtered through Tandem.  Students can view this online and print a calendar out at their discretion.  And that’s just the choir.  Just think about how the athletic department could reduce their paper output by using Tandem.

These are just some basic ideas.  We want to help schools steward their resources more effectively, both financially and environmentally.  Tandem may just be part of the solution.

Do you have other ideas?  Feel free to post them here.

Great Ways to Learn About Tandem

You may be considering Tandem for Schools as a calendar tool to use at your school or district.  We’d like you to have the most information possible so you can make the best decision.  Though we’re kinda biased and think Tandem works great, there are some ways for you to learn more:

Our Product Information Page – Tons of info here, along with videos that clearly explain product features.

Support Forums – Even though you may not be set up with Tandem yet, this is a great place to learn more about Tandem features.

Email Us or call us at 866-685-3449 – Free free to contact us with your questions.  We’ll get back to you ASAP to see how we can help out.

Let us know how we can help you!

Did you know? Customizable Schedules

Tandem for Schools is powerful, and adaptable to your every need.  You can customize schedules, for instance.  Tandem enables you to filter items by team, activity, etc.  and set them as public or private, depending on if your schedule is for internal use or not.

This handy feature allows you to create event lists for sports teams, drama groups, music groups — or whatever group suits your needs — allowing you to display times and locations in one easy-to-read schedule format.  Use these custom schedules on your website or to create handouts, or whatever else you  need.  Tandem allows great flexibilty in how you use your school calendar and event information.

Creating and Connecting

The National School Boards Association underscores the need for thoughtful policies regarding online social networking within school communities in an excellent study.  With the exponential upsurge of sites like MySpace and Facebook, it is clear that reactive responses don’t work — students will still be typing away after hours, keeping in touch with friends.

Some stats:

71% of students use social networks at least weekly.

59% of online students talk about educational topics online.

50% of online students talk specifically about homework online.

All of this online social networking tech is still shaking out.  People still don’t know what to do with it, or what to make of it.  It’s an untamed beast.  But it shows powerful potential to connect with students and parents in new and efficient ways.

Imagine connecting with your local school community (and beyond) with online calendar updates, event invitations, etc. through MySpace or Facebook.

At Intand, we are looking to drive technology in these areas, especially in the event communication arena.  Look for more in the future.

10 Tips for School Technology Planning has a great article about some things to consider when planning for new school technology.  Some key points:

  • Think open – Does the technology tool you are considering implementing play well with the other tools you already have in place?
  • Keep and eye on total cost of ownership – What is the entire picture of costs incurred to get up and running, train and maintain the system?  Oh, and don’t forget the hidden costs not many seem to mention: What is the cost in lost productivity and morale as a result of frustration with the tool?
  • Share the risk – Are you taking on the entire load of the technology, it’s weak spots, potential obsolescence, etc?

Here at Intand, we are passionate about providing great technology tools that empower rather than frustrate.  And we are keen on giving you technology that is a tool that does not distract you from getting your job done, with effectiveness and ease.  Here’s how Tandem for Schools, our web-based, database-driven calendar system can meet the above concerns:

Tandem for Schools integrates easily into your current system, without fuss.  All you need to do is set up the calendar with your facilities, events, etc.

Tandem for Schools costs very little to own. We host it in one of the best data centers on the West Coast, so you don’t have to manage hardware.  It takes little time to get users up to speed and does not require weeks of training.  Licenses are per school, not per user.  When we upgrade the system, you are automatically part of the upgrade.  Easy.  High value for minimal investment.

Tandem for Schools takes on risk for you. You can try before you buy for 30 days.  Support is free.  We maintain the hardware. You don’t have to invest thousands of your scarce school dollars into technology that just may end up going unused.

In this day and age of over-engineered technology tools, Tandem for Schools will take the pain out of your calendaring and event planning processes.

A School Calendar Manifesto – The First Go

1. True calendar power = Maximum technology + Minimal Costs.
2. If you need more than a day of training to use it, you won’t use it.
3. Custom applications will waste your time, money – and your sanity.
4. If you can’t find an existing tool to get the job done, anywhere, use a custom application. If you can, see #3.
5. If your calendar does not drive higher participation, it is only providing part of what you need.
6. Effective communication of school events empowers parents and students.
7. If need to go to ComplicatedProduct University for a week each year to keep up with the technology, it may be just a little bit too complicated.
8. Centralized database-driven, web-managed calendars = decreased staff burnout rates.
9. Built-in conflict checking really will help you from pulling out your hair as you build and maintain schedules.
10. Just because someone is comfortable using an existing process, does not mean it is most effective.

More to come…

Social Networking is Not Going Away

With over 80 million users on MySpace alone, social networking is not going away. And that National School Boards Association report said that 50% of students using these services are specifically talking about schoolwork using these social networking tools.

There is a compelling article at discussing the proliferation of social networks amongst kids. Of course, much of the press has been bad — cyberstalking, online porn, etc., etc. But, social networking is not going away. And kids are definitely using tools like MySpace and Facebook to keep connected. The above stat is huge: 50% of kids use social networks to chat about homework.

So then, how can it be used to keep kids, and parents, connected to the school community? And how can it be used to drive higher participation? These are huge questions. And we are working hard to try and answer them.

Imagine school events being added to calendars which then automatically feed the information to students on Facebook or MySpace. Students use these sites incessantly, much to the chagrin of parents. And parents should be discerning. But we’d love to help schools use these technologies for the benefit of the school community, which will hopefully filter out the bad.