[K12OSN] OT - Student Entered Attendance System

Carl Keil carl at snarlnet.com
Mon Jun 23 20:08:01 UTC 2008

> Seems crude, but aren't you talking about an RFID warehousing system?
> >
> > On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 12:58 AM, Carl Keil <carl at snarlnet.com> wrote:
> >
>> > > Hey Kind Folks,
>> > >
>> > > I've been asked to create something and I thought I'd pick the collective
>> > > brain before possibly entering into the wheel reinvention game.
>> > >
>> > > Does anyone know of a computerized system for keeping track of attendance
>> > > that would function with the kids themselves (k-12) entering their own
>> > > comings and goings into the system?  As I sit down to design this I'm
>> > > imagining all kinds of data integrity nightmares with kindergarteners
>> > > clicking "sign in" and "sign out" buttons that are next their (or someone
>> > > else's) name.  This would be some sort of kiosk by the front door.  I'm
>> > > thinking that if I use a web interface (I am a web programmer), I'll use a
>> > > thin client for this.
>> > > This is for a free school, where kids can enter and leave the school at
>> > > different times.  There is no "home room" or designated check in time.
>> > >  Right now, kids sign in on paper, but it is making reporting and tracking
>> > > trends difficult.  I'm toying with the idea of using facial (and possibly
>> > > voice) recognition software.  So, a kid comes in, sticks their mug into a
>> > > camera and clicks a button that either says they are coming or going.  If
>> > > the picture can't be recognized, it is stored and flagged for human
>> > > identification.  I have no idea how to do that though.
>> > > One other design problem is that we need some record of who's in the
>> > > building that we can grab if there's a fire or other emergency.  That's
>> > > where the sign-in sheet on the clipboard really shines.
>> > >
>> > > Any brainstormy thoughts at all about pitfalls or solutions would be
>> > > helpful at this point.  Anyone else have a situation similar to this?
>> > >
> There are many pitfalls, the biggest being smart kids - don't ever
> underestimate the ability of a four year old to deceive.
> Single scan (forget the in/out buttons, just have the current state ready)
> will tell you just that something got scanned, so there is a problem right
> there. The kids can scan in and -not- enter or leave.
> All the tokens not attached permanently can be exchanged ....
> Can you do something of a bit futuristic nature, since the future will
> happen soon? What I have in mind is "chipping" the kids with tiny RFID
> chips. Works for my cats. I had to change the design from a single scanner
> with the door mechanism to three scanners, so that I really know where
> they are. I've seen cats and kids change their minds and back out after
> opening the doors to go in -:)
> Of course the above was somewhat in jest, but there is no good solution
> without the use of biometrics, and even those can be fooled.
> One inexpensive way is to count heads going in and out - web cam, simple
> software. Make sure you push the video to an external server. In case of
> an emergency, you'll now -how many- kids are in, to find out -which- kids,
> you'd need to view the video. As far as I know, this is acceptable level
> of data for emergencies.
> Good luck, julius
The first thing I asked the school's director was if it would be OK to 
chip the kids.  This is exactly like herding cats, which, apparently, 
you have some experience with.  I've since realized that even chipping 
the kids and/or video surveillance won't work.  The kids at this school 
have the option of playing outside if there is an adult out there to 
supervise.  This isn't considered "checking out".  The kids really do 
need to click or swipe something to signify their intention to 
stay/leave.  Since these kids can't be relied on to bring ID badges 
every day and tattooing bar codes is a wee bit too futuristic, I'm 
heavily leaning towards fingerprint swipers. 

Can anyone recommend a linux friendly, affordable, USB, fingerprint 
reader?  One that can read through gloves, mittens, masking tape and 
layers of assorted jams and jellies?  My wife loves the idea of a hand 
sanitizer station next to the finger print swiper, cut down on colds and 
flus and track the kids all in one fluid motion.

Thank you everyone for your help thinking this through.


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