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Using iPad (tablets) to Track Callings and Assignments

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:40 am
by marmat
I have recently been pondering best ways to set up a system that will easily be able to track assignments and callings across a stake, or also in a ward.

With many technologies available such as iPad or other tablets, it would be awesome to be able to use these.

For example I envision, someone with a personal iPad, such as an executive secretary, using it to coordinate assignments, tracking callings, etc with various leaders and councils. As well, a stake or ward could purchase a shared presidency or bishopric iPad (tablet) to use during meetings, and pass around when looking at various things like praying over names for callings.

Benefits: reduce paper, create a 'system', and more.

Cons: initial setup, costs, training

My question to group: Anyone doing something this advanced, or are most people still 'stuck in a paper shuffle rut'?

Also, is the Church IT and developers currently developing something like this, even on a roadmap, or is this something each unit should take into their own hands, putting together something, like FileMaker, or Google Docs, or whatever system could work?

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:47 am
by aebrown
marmat wrote:I have recently been pondering best ways to set up a system that will easily be able to track assignments and callings across a stake, or also in a ward.


All the callings for a ward or stake are currently in CDOL, and accessible through a browser. The Leader Resources on lds.org have reports for members with callings, members without callings, and callings by organization.

So are you looking for information beyond this data that is already available, or are you aware of what is available, but would like it packaged in a nicer application?

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:20 pm
by allenjpl
marmat wrote:I have recently been pondering best ways to set up a system that will easily be able to track assignments and callings across a stake, or also in a ward.


Paper works quite well. As do magnetic labels on a dry erase board.

As well, a stake or ward could purchase a shared presidency or bishopric iPad (tablet) to use during meetings, and pass around when looking at various things like praying over names for callings.
Again, paper works well. Spreadsheets if you feel the need to manipulate the data in ways MLS won't do. Also, although the tablet may be able to drill down to detailed information, generally, that level of detail isn't needed in the meetings you suggest.

Benefits: reduce paper, create a 'system', and more.

Cons: initial setup, costs, training

My question to group: Anyone doing something this advanced, or are most people still 'stuck in a paper shuffle rut'?

Also, is the Church IT and developers currently developing something like this, even on a roadmap, or is this something each unit should take into their own hands, putting together something, like FileMaker, or Google Docs, or whatever system could work?
I enjoy technology. I try to use it to cut down repetitive tasks, whenever it makes my life easier, or gives me convenient access to information I use frequently. For that reason, I use LDS Tools, Stake Central, and other applications extensively. But what you're suggesting is just putting information onto a digital gadget, and spending $300-$500 for the privilege of doing so. For example, what advantage is there to tracking callings with an ipad versus doing it with a simple spreadsheet which is updated as events occur? And I note that the list of benefits has really only one that is unique to the tablet system - reduce paper. Does your ward actually use enough paper that would justify the costs of implementing a tablet-based system?

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:34 pm
by marmat
One of the primary tasks I am referring to is at a stake level for example, the coordinating of getting approvals from all High Councilors on a proposed person's calling, and then subsequently tracking who is assigned to make the calling extension, release those from current positions, and then report back when finished.

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:37 pm
by marmat
allenjpl wrote:I enjoy technology. I try to use it to cut down repetitive tasks, whenever it makes my life easier, or gives me convenient access to information I use frequently. For that reason, I use LDS Tools, Stake Central, and other applications extensively. But what you're suggesting is just putting information onto a digital gadget, and spending $300-$500 for the privilege of doing so. For example, what advantage is there to tracking callings with an ipad versus doing it with a simple spreadsheet which is updated as events occur? And I note that the list of benefits has really only one that is unique to the tablet system - reduce paper. Does your ward actually use enough paper that would justify the costs of implementing a tablet-based system?


Thanks, great insight. Check out this video (link below) and watch particularly starting at 1:00 minute. It will help cast a vision of what I could see FileMaker, or some related app or process doing. Imagine the possibilities!

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/safe-sea-marine-rescue/

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:43 pm
by marmat
aebrown wrote:So are you looking for information beyond this data that is already available, or are you aware of what is available, but would like it packaged in a nicer application?


One of the primary tasks I am referring to is at a stake level for example, the coordinating of getting approvals from all High Councilors on a proposed person's calling, and then subsequently tracking who is assigned to make the calling extension, release those from current positions, and then report back when finished.

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:54 pm
by aebrown
marmat wrote:One of the primary tasks I am referring to is at a stake level for example, the coordinating of getting approvals from all High Councilors on a proposed person's calling, and then subsequently tracking who is assigned to make the calling extension, release those from current positions, and then report back when finished.


Oh, that's quite different from what I assumed you were talking about in your original post. That (and closely related features) has been proposed multiple times here on the forum:


Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:16 pm
by pwilson
It is pretty easy to utilize a google doc spreadsheet to accomplish this. That is what we use in our bishopric to keep all the callings straight and the flow of calling and releasing assignments. Then it can be accessed via print out, tablet, laptop or smartphone in meetings.

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:22 am
by marmat
pwilson wrote:It is pretty easy to utilize a google doc spreadsheet to accomplish this. That is what we use in our bishopric to keep all the callings straight and the flow of calling and releasing assignments. Then it can be accessed via print out, tablet, laptop or smartphone in meetings.


Makes sense, and the beauty is most, if not all devices can use Google Docs. Mobile, desktop, etc. If you think it works so well, I am willing to try it and see how it could work in our environment. Would you be willing to share the template? I will try the Private Message feature to connect 'offline'.

Spreadsheet for tracking callings/releases and sustainings

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:33 am
by kisaac
marmat wrote:Makes sense, and the beauty is most, if not all devices can use Google Docs.....Would you be willing to share the template?


Here is a spreadsheet we used- posted in the thread "callings visualization tool for Bishops." We kept it on google docs, conitnually updating it weekly, and emailed a pdf of it (until we had internet in our meetings,) to everyone in advance of bishopric meeting. We often updated it in real time at the meetings and printed or emailed pdf's to the bishop and counselors for reference later so they can remember "who" to call / release, and we can track who needed to be sustained or released in sacrament meeting.

I liked that it allowed us to keep track of "long range" changes...those that you are still pondering, or when one change will effect many, such as calling a whole new presidency.

While not what we all would like... it may get us a little closer. Any developer have some free time?