Tutorial scanners provide many improvements

February 9, 2020 — by Mathew Luo

The new tutorial scan-in system and its corresponding application, the TeachMore FlexTime App, were released Feb. 4. The app not only streamlines the tutorial sign-in process by changing the sign-in method from a physical sign-in sheet to a student ID barcode scanner, but it also provides an online platform for teachers and students to book tutorial appointments together. 

This new tutorial scan-in system is, for all practical purposes, an upgrade from the previous one. Now, tutorial sign-in queues around the school will move more quickly, and the school will now be able to accurately track where students go during tutorial. 

The school’s switch to the new tutorial sign-in system is commendable. Though many students would prefer having no sign-ins at all, the school cannot revert to that model because tutorial would risk no longer counting as instructional minutes for the state department of education. With the school’s hands tied by California law, the redundancies in the scan-in system and the TeachMore app should be overlooked. 

Though the scanners cannot consistently identify pictures of IDs on students’ phones, they work as intended on physical IDs. That alone is enough to make tutorial sign-ins much less of a hassle. Tracking students’ tutorial usage, in addition to satisfying state auditors, can also help the district make a more informed decision about the bell schedules in the coming years. 

The newfound ability for students and teachers to schedule tutorial appointments is somewhat beneficial as well. It is now easier to keep track of tutorial appointments, although this capability does not extend to after school or lunch appointments. 

These two functions of scanners are not only an improvement to tutorial, but they also represent a big step forward in improving the school’s use of technology. The school can use the same scanners at dances, events such as Career Day and perhaps even rallies to monitor attendance. The TeachMore app could soon join the ranks of Canvas and the SHS website in its usage. 

All that being said, the switch to a better sign-in system does not fundamentally change what sign-ins are: an invention to satisfy California’s educational law. Many of TeachMore’s new functions are superfluous. The school cannot actually enforce “tutorial truancy,” and tracking down students in case of emergency is probably better done over the PA system. Tutorial appointments have traditionally been made face-to-face, and there are no real faults in that system.

Nonetheless, the school is trying its best to make tutorial as hassle-free as possible, and the well-executed rollout of the scanners is testament to that. Growing pains will pass, and in time, perhaps these scanners will be viewed as an asset rather than a burden.