Updating a Process with Technology

As technology advances, one must remember to think if there a better way to achieve a goal. Even with a system or process that works as technology advances the process should be revisited. This week life provided this reminder.

Every spring yearbook sponsors around the country are frantically pulling together pictures, articles and other tidbits and facts for their published work. The coordinators and their student assistants work up until the deadline keeping everything under tight wraps. One of the largest tasks is correctly identifying students. One area that needs a lot of help is identifying an individual in a group photo, like drama, multimedia club, yearbook club, football, etc.  If the names are not spelled correctly or nicknames used the index of student images will not reflect correct information. 

My daughter is part of the middle school yearbook club. This week they have another deadline and need to have 44 group pictures with complete identification. Since yearbook is a club- they can only work on things before and after school or when given permission to be excused from their teacher. The yearbook sponsor has been doing this for over 20 years and shared some of her past processes. Before Digital Cameras, students would bring the picture around to students and teachers to have them identify the individuals in the photos.  The names would then need to be typed and prepared for the yearbook. When yearbook images went digital, students would open a picture on a computer and in a word processing file they would identify the students they could. At that point there were two steps they took – either printing out the picture to identify missing students or bring a student in the picture to the computer to look at the image.  As technology advanced and the school had a shared drive the yearbook students could login and pull up the picture from any computer on campus. All of these solutions worked – but with the advancement of technology things just got easier and more efficient. 

I started thinking there has to be a better way to do this.  And then it came to me: make the digital files mobile.  I loaded all the images onto our iPad.  We grabbed a clipboard and were ready to get started identifying individuals.  The next morning I drove my daughter to track practice before school.  While waiting to get signed in and warmed up- we were able to have students named and identified in 3 photos.  Now we were writing all the names- but if we had another iPad, tablet or even a live scribe pen we would have been even more efficient in capturing all the names electronically. Using the iPad allowed the yearbook club to ask for help during lunch, in the halls, allowed them to zoom in on pictures and share the images in color as they identified who was in each picture.  The ability to go mobile allowed the yearbook group to maximize their time and their audience while keeping the pictures as under wraps as possible.  In one day the images and individuals were identified because of mobility.  Because of not having access to a mobile device the yearbook teacher didn’t think of how else this job could get done. My daughter came home from school and shared that the yearbook coordinator was already working on how she could get an iPad or other tablet for yearbook use. Until they do, we have agreed they can borrow ours this year to get the job done. 

This experience provided a reminder to think about technology tools or devices that would make a task or a job more efficient. 

Is there a technology tool or device that has made something you do more efficient? Share your thoughts at blog@clarity-innovations.com.

In August 2017, Julia Fischer joined our extended network of alumni.