Author Topic: Addition to track Sunday School  (Read 5479 times)

davidlindacline

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Addition to track Sunday School
« on: March 09, 2009, 08:47:20 AM »
Our church is just getting started into using the database. Our children's pastor has been impressed with the database and would like to use something like it to control check in/check out of Sunday school. The main draw is that the data  is already there since most of the children that come on AWANA night also come on Sunday. I gave her the option of exporting the data for use with another program but wanted to check to see if there were plans on expanding this program to have a module to use for Sunday school attendance.

Rick Leffler

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 09:00:26 PM »
Yes, I am seriously considering plans to expand the functionality of the Approved Workman database in order to meet the needs of Children's Ministry, Sunday School Directors, and Pastors.   

I am currently pulling together the functional requirements so I would be very interested in learning what your needs are.  Perhaps this topic could be used as an open discussion on this issue?  If anyone reading this posting is interested in someday using the database for broader purposes, please feel free to jump in and elaborate on how it could be further enhanced to meet your needs.  Thank you.

Rick at Leffler Systems
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

davidlindacline

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2009, 09:39:58 PM »
I know our children's pastor was wanting to use bar coding to quickly check in and out the children so that may be an option to look at. It would mostly pull the clubber record for contact and medical information. It may also be worth looking at the ability of the module to be able to check that the clubber attended sunday school if there is a record for them as an AWANA clubber. I will talk with her more and pin down some definate requirements that she is looking for.

tholgate

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 07:44:33 AM »
Our church currently uses a database created inhouse for our Children's program including touch-screen capability - the parents put in last 4 digits of their phone number, a list of all children in the household comes up, you click on each of them that are present, and it prints out a nametag for each of them and on parent tag with call number on it.  It is very cool.

We did use the same database for Awana (not the touch-screen capability) until we found AW which has so much more capability and detail.  The one thing we did lose, though, in switching to AW was the ability to scan in Clubbers via bar code scanner.  We had a list of the clubbers with their bar code and would scan their bar code and then scan another bar code for each of the positive items (Sunday School, Uniform, Book, Bible, etc.).

Another piece that is missing and would be very valuable for all church programs is extended reporting capability to include bar graphs, pivot charts, pie charts for the information in the database. Currently, exporting is the only way to "see" this information and then we have to know someone who can actually put those together.  We like to show our Elders board, graphically, what the programs look like in terms of numbers in each age group, cities and towns attendees come from, for Awana we like to see how many different churches are represented, etc. It helps in planning purposes for next year and helps to support our continued requests for funding. 

Hope that gives you some ideas - I think the possibilities could be endless in terms of wish lists!
Tina Holgate
Program Coordinator
Eastern Hills Bible Church
Manlius, NY

Rick Leffler

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 11:43:23 AM »
I've always wanted to add more robust reporting with graphs. The only report at the moment with a graph is the Attendance Report.

Would it be possible to get copies of the kinds of charts and graphs you use so I can see exactly what your needs and expectations are?  I'll then work on adding the same functionality.

Regards bar code scanning...  you mentioned having a sheet with names on it that you'd use to scan to register their attendance, and then you'd scan other bar codes to indicate SS, Uniform, Book, Bible, etc.    I get this, but I can't help thinking... "Is that really faster that clicking checkboxes for same?"   Maybe I'm missing something?
Rick at Leffler Systems
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

RPAwana

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 04:12:08 PM »
I can add my two cents here.
I also would like to see bar code capabilities incorporated.  Especially for check in.

Here is a brief description of how we do checkin:
1. We have eight tables setup in our gathering area: four for Sparks and four for T&T.  each table is assigned a team color, and has a colored flag attached to the table.  (Our Cubbies are in a completely separate area , and have their own checkin)
2. We have eight leaders/volunteers manning the checkin tables. Two leaders per table.
3. Each table has printed copies of the checkin sheets for that club and team color.  Each table also has preprinted name tag labels for that club and team color.
4. When a clubber arrives, he/she goes to their club/color table and checks in.  The leader checks all applicable boxes, and gives the clubber their name tag.
5. once the check in period is over (our check in time is 15 minutes prior to club until 5 minutes after club has started), the leaders report for duty, and the AWANA secrretaries gather the check in sheets and begin to enter them into the system.

In effect, we are doing double work, but we do not have enough extra computers or licenses to have a licensed computer at each table, nor do we want to be setting up and tearing down four to eight computers every Wednesday.

We already have a Sunday School check in system that utilizes touch screens and key fob readers.  These computers are strategically placed around the facility, and could be outfitted with a bar code reader.

It would be nice to somehow utilize these computers with the ApprovedWorkman software.

Ideally, the clubber would have a bar code on their book.  They would walk up to the touch screen, scan the bar code on their book, touch the buttons for Bible, Dues, etc.  The system would print their name tag, and off they would go.  No more double entry, no need for eight leaders at tables and no more secretaries trying to figure out whether that is a smudge or a check mark.

Rick, I would be more than happy to discuss this offline with you, and even test it for you.

Thanks again.

davidlindacline

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2009, 07:27:33 AM »
I have to agree with you Rick on the bar code scanning, I don't believe it is any faster for check in, but it could improve accuracy and reduce man-power on club-night. Currently our T&T group checks them selves in and the results are usually pretty confusing. Some use checks and some just scribble through the boxes. I work strictly with the Cubbies so it is easy for me to verify the handbook, bible, etc during book time. I'm not sure how the other clubs work so I cannot speak for them. My thoughts are that the bar coding would only be used to check-in or out and not for the marking of the other items.

bgoodaz

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 07:02:00 PM »
I have also been approached about scanning for attendance. For Sunday School we have Card Scanners (at multiple entry locations) that scan 'QuikCheck' Barcoded cards record the attendance the screen tells the parent the location for the child to be taken. There are also receipt printers in the classrooms that spit out a receipt for the parent to take with them, they are duplicate and one stays in the classroom.

This all to say that I have been asked about interfacing this system with AW. Going one step further I have been asked about the possibility of using fingerprint scanning as the data capture device.
Bart Good
Awana Database Administrator
Scottsdale Bible Church

Mainah

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2009, 06:54:29 AM »
This is all way out of our scope.  Scanners?  Bar coding.  Hmm.  Maybe our church of 200 which seems big where we are, is very tiny.  We are light years away from anyone in our church ever thinking of anything like that!
Diane
Saved at Awana in 1975!
Office Director
Cornerstone Baptist Awana Club
Maine

tholgate

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 01:29:04 PM »
I will continue to think through this, but from our experience in the past and now a little experience with AW, I think the first step I would like to see is to scan the Clubber (most likely a label printed out with their bar code on it that is placed on their handbook - tying it in other places/uses in the db needs thought) and that brings you to their line in the Check-in screen, places a positive in the attendance box, and then you "click" the rest of the positives for that Clubber.  In our process, this would be a big time saver.  We currently print out the check-in sheets and then data enter the items later.  This new step would give me more confidence that we could do it more quickly "live" in the db which is something we need to do.

I can see other bar code uses in inventory (inventory going in, then inventory going out like a store), but I would guess that would be very involved as far as programming goes and probably not necessary at this point.

Fun to dream!
Tina Holgate
Program Coordinator
Eastern Hills Bible Church
Manlius, NY

Rick Leffler

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2009, 10:09:09 AM »
We seem to have a fair number of kids who either lose or forget their book.  If a barcode is stuck on their book, what then?  Also, what about visitors who don't have a book?   I suppose in those cases you could still revert to the "manual" process of finding their name in the Check-in List grid.   Maybe we could have AW print some Awana Club Membership ID cards for everyone that included their picture and name and a barcode?  (Of course they would often lose or forget those too probably!)

Just a reminder to anyone reading this posting... the Check-in List grid features an incremental search ability for the Last Name and the First Name columns.  Let's say a clubber walks up and you can only think of their first name. You can click once anywhere within the First Name column then just START typing a few letters of their first name (don't worry about capitalization, just touch the key) and as you type the highlight bar will move to the nearest matching record.  You don't have to scroll up/down at all and within usually two or three keystrokes you'll have highlighted the corrrect clubber.   If you want to abort the incremental searching, just press ESC.

Another method of quickly finding someone on the Check-in List grid is to use the Search field in the Check-in List screen's toolbar.  You can type part of the First Name or Last Name and press ENTER and then the grid will display only those matching records.   It is very fast and convenient.  Try it!    (to clear the search value and cause the grid to once again display all records, click into the Search field, or if your focus is still in the grid press Alt+e which will move focus to the search field and then press DELETE.)

I'm still hoping to tinker with the little USB fingerprint reader as an optional way to quickly do a self check in.  I think this would be better than barcodes because the hardware would be simpler and cheaper and folks could just touch it as they walk past, no adult would have to do the actual scanning. 

I think this forum is a great way for us to share ideas. Thanks to all who participate!
Rick at Leffler Systems
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

tholgate

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2009, 02:36:38 PM »
I had no idea the Check-in grid had that feature!  Very cool! Could certainly speed things along.
Tina Holgate
Program Coordinator
Eastern Hills Bible Church
Manlius, NY

Sherri

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 01:50:48 PM »
Rick, I just noticed this thread & thought I'd let you know that I have been thinking about how we might use AW for VBS next summer.  Since so many of the Awana kids come to VBS & we've got all their contact and medical info entered already, it seems like it's worth a shot.  I was thinking that I could make it work for VBS without any modifications to the software.  I haven't actually tried entering data & you may be able to think of limitations I'll hit that will prevent me from using it, but here were my thoughts:

- Do a backup & create the 2010-11 club year
- Create new clubs for each group in VBS, so can assign a unique logo for each (grades are mixed within each group, though, so kids will all need to be assigned manually)  (I'll delete these after VBS)
- Temporarily pdate our club's name to say VBS instead of Awana, since it will show up on reports
- Put 'VBS' in the Member Codes so that reports would only include those members
- The registration sheet's Title would have to be 'photo-shopped'; would use the registration check-box within AW to make sure we have paperwork for all kids.
- Would print name tags with just the club logo & name of child
- Could print mailing labels, as is
- Could use the check-in sheets, but it's probably overkill; I don't think I could use the application's check-in functionality, since I don't think I can set up a club's year to have more than one day per week.
- Could not use the sign-out sheets since we'd want separate ones for each club (perhaps an enhancement?)
- Would print a Medical List with food allergies to give to snack workers

I think that covers our needs & I think AW can help us -- let me know if you sense roadblocks ahead!
Sherri Meadows
Monument, CO

dave4him

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2009, 04:42:21 PM »
This is already available Sherri. Not fully tried and tested here, but the work has begun. This thread, [link removed, see update below], covers a short discussion, while I had more discussions via email with Rick. I had set up our AWdb last summer for VBS but our VBS Director decided to do as previous year because these changes were so new and our VBS was starting in like 2 days! This would have add many more kids to our database for the next Awana Club year, but I didn't press the issue. Looking forward to VBS 2010. If you wish, I will type out a detailed set-up procedure so you can evaluate. First thing, you would start in Generic Lookups > Club Years and create a new year, like 'VBS 2010' or CAMP 2010' and select '1' for interval. The rest is in NYS, creating the clubs (K, 1st, 2nd grades, etc.), being careful in Club Promotions to promote or not, making class assignments, and reversing most of the Resets. Let me know if you need more detailed setup description.  

Rick has SO many new ideas coming in that I don't know how he keeps it clear in his head  :D


[Updated 3/18/13 - removed outdated link; here is a new link to Rick's instructions for using AW for VBS (or camp) attendance:
http://approvedworkman.com/forum/index.php?topic=1485.0]
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 11:58:08 AM by Annette »
David Barnes
Awana Commander
First Baptist Church
Branford, FL
N.Fl. Awana Ministry Team

rryan58

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Re: Addition to track Sunday School
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2009, 11:05:30 AM »
Rick,
I also would rather see the fingerprint for clubber identification rather than the bar code.  We are running about 275 kids each night which includes our bus ministry(about 60 kids) and this would help check in tremendously.   This would help to quickly get medical info on the child also.