How A Google Spreadsheet Tamed an End of Year Process
My department tracks the peripherals checked out to the teachers in my division. Each teacher is issued certain items, such as laptop, camera, vizualizer, etc. When teachers leave or when items are at end of life, we collect them back at the end of the school year.
In the past, notifying staff has been time-consuming and wasteful of paper. We would call up each faculty member in Asset Manager, take a screen capture of what was checked out, and then use SnagIt to highlight the items which needed to be returned. Next we would print two copies – one for the teacher and one for us to use during check in so the teacher did not need to wait while we scanned each item back into the system.
In addition to being wasteful of paper, this process had other flaws. The biggest problem was that the official name of an item in the inventory might be rather cryptic, such as Sony BNZ-MW35. We ended up making picture explanations of the different items to clarify it for teachers.
This year, inspired by Steven Katz, I am going paperless. To get started, I created a Google spreadsheet. Across the top I listed the different items that needed to be returned. I was able to use clear terms rather than confusing model numbers. In each teacher’s row, either I ticket the first column to indicate that all items were returned, or I ticked other columns to indicate which items needed to be returned.
I set the share settings on the spreadsheet so that anyone with the link could view the document, but not edit it. I put that link in our End-of-Year checklist that teachers use as part of the check out process. On Monday I will further explain it by posting this blurb in our daily newsletter.
Tech Items to Be Returned
This year, we are not giving each faculty member a print out of the tech items they need to return. Instead, we have created this Google spreadsheet. There is a link to it on your End-of-Year Checklist.
- Check the first column. If it contains a red X, then there is nothing you need to return.
- If the first column is blank, as mine is below, read across looking for other x’s. They indicate which items you still need to return.
- You may return these items any time between now and the end of the day on June 5. You do not need to return them all at once. Keep in mind that the check-in lines are long on the last few days of school.
- Return these items directly to Susan Sedro. Items left unattended might be stolen and would still be checked out in your name.
A few events this year are making this change more feasible. First, we have a new ticketing and inventory management software, EasyCMDB. It is easier to use than Asset Manager . It allows me to pull up any teacher in just a few clicks. The other key event was our introduction of Google Apps and our migration to Gmail. I think most teachers will now be successful using the spreadsheet.