Last week I attended a training course run by the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDETB) entitled ’10 Days to make Life Easier’. The DDETB are embarking on a journey of introducing I-Pads into their affiliated schools and a number of teachers involved in Youth Reach education, secondary and post-secondary education attended the course. The course which focussed on how to reimagine one’s teaching using technology provided an opportunity for like minded teachers to network with subject colleagues and enhance their IT skills by using I-Pads to support teaching and learning.

Apart from being very impressed by the course itself I was particularly impressed with how the course organiser embedded I-Pad technology into the course from the moment one entered the classroom. This was achieved through the use of a clever and very easy to use course registration app entitled “Please Sign In”.

In essence “Please Sign In” is an I-Pad sign-in sheet. With it any I-Pad can be turned into into a portable, customizable sign-in form. On one page and in less than a minute a course participant can fill out a form, attach a photo and sign an agreement. Please Sign In then sends the authorised course owner an email with the contents of each sign-in. All the data is is transferred over an encrypted SSL connection and any data collected is deleted immediately after it is sent to you.

Apart from it’s usefulness as a public course registration tool, I see lots of possibilities for use of this app in schools and colleges. If as a teacher or lecturer you require compulsory sign-in for attendance at your course or in your class, this is an ideal paperless solution and a great way of ensuring that students are meeting the compulsory attendance requirements. Similarly if you have students working independently doing collaborative group work outside of normal class time it would be a great tool for students themselves to use to keep track of which group members are showing up or not. The students could then use this in discussions with their course tutors to ensure equity of contribution when it comes to group marked projects.

The good news is that it’s not that expensive. The first 50 sign-ins are free and your can then purchase 1,000 sign ins for the modest sum of $9.99. Alternatively a school or college could purchase an unlimited amount of sign-ins for $99.99.

It’s definitely worth checking out and I am thinking of doing a trial of same at our MICOOL F2F pilot course in Kerry, Ireland, next week.