Tiffany Hester is the Coordinator of Clinical Practices for the Teacher Education Department at Kansas' Fort Hays State University. She places undergraduate teaching students in classroom internship programs that are required for completion of their program. In doing so, she works closely with school districts to find appropriate placements for each student, coordinates with students, and then monitors the progress of each internship. In order to execute the internship program effectively, Tiffany must track lots of sensitive and important information as well as personal notes and observations about the placements.
"The process was becoming more and more cumbersome as the semesters went on."
In the past, she used a simple spreadsheet to keep track of all this data. Tiffany also needed to share the spreadsheet with students in order to give them their placement information. It was a method that required her to hide columns, conceal her own notes; and not to mention, it was a process that invited lots of risky mistakes. Even a small oversight could have led to the distribution of private information to swaths of the wrong people.
As Tiffany says, "The process was becoming more and more cumbersome as the semesters went on. I was looking for a way to share information with [the students] so it would be simple to find what they needed to know, so I could limit the information they could see, and so that it would also be user-friendly."
"One click and everything they need to see is there."
Each year during semester breaks, Tiffany spends time thinking about her processes and seeking new tools she can utilize to streamline everyday functions. This time, she was searching through the Google Add-ons store and came across AppSheet. After some experimenting and tinkering, Tiffany found that a self-made AppSheet app could provide solutions to her three biggest needs: a simple sharing tool that provides only the relevant information to each respective student and is user-friendly. She says, "[The users] just have to click and everything they need to see is there, what they don't need to see is not there; I can still have the Google sheet on my end that I can add notes to, and I don't have to worry about whether that column has been hidden, unhidden, or any of those kinds of issues."
An added bonus, Tiffany found, is the ability for students to view the app within a browser from the install link she will send them. FHSU accommodates many low-income students who do not have access to smartphones or tablets, and rely solely on the use of computers. AppSheet's platform gives the students the ability to utilize the apps from within a desktop or laptop environment.
"In wanting to minimize questions, emails, confusion...this has been a huge help."
Tiffany's app is ready to be deployed once the new semester starts mid-January. Each student in the program will receive the install link once classes have resumed. Tiffany believes her app will help save her at least an hour's work per day.
Ah, what we could do with five extra hours a week...
Thank you Tiffany!