Every day we all appreciate the benefits of RFID solutions even though many of us do not acknowledge their presence in different situations in our everyday life. We see it in shops, libraries, hospitals, amusement parks, airports, schools and any location where item / people movements are tracked to better serve customers. While RFID-related solutions have long been part of libraries, there is a sudden increase in student monitoring RFID applications as it improves the overall safety of students in schools and other areas where continuous adult supervision is required. RFID systems can produce huge data that can be analyzed to provide insights into decision-making.
In a school environment, RFID can be applied to gain benefits for all participants–students, family, educators, and management. An RFID tag is issued to each student to wear. It can be in the form of an ID card and part of your uniform every day. Each RFID tag is preprogrammed in conjunction with the student’s unique user profile. The antennas will be placed in strategical locations like school gate, classroom doors, library, canteen, etc. Multiple antennas can be placed around the same location to increase accuracy and work as a standby to avoid the single point of failure.
The antennas will be connected via a well-planned network of power cables and communication cables to RFID readers and power source. RFID readers are then connected to a computer for the information and database to be stored and processed. This computer will be linked to the student information system such as Paatham by sending different warnings to the stakeholders. Ex: SMS alerts parents when they enter the main door, Mobile app alerts when they enter or leave a certain area.
Benefits of using RFID Attendance System in schools
A well-developed RFID attendance system provides protection for students ‘ daily operations and health. As all the information about the student is registered and transmitted to the parents after the student enters the gate in the morning before leaving at night, there is less worry about the safety of the students. Since all the information are transmitted by SMS or mobile apps to parents, parents find peace of mind and can comfortably concentrate on their jobs.
Without an automatic RFID solution, to communicate with the parents, each of the updates must be entered manually in the student information system. This job could be completed either end of the day or once every week, depending on the workload of teachers and admin staff. This is not beneficial to the parents as it is the same as how schools are pre-technology run. All location data is collected and automatically transmitted to the student information system with RFID solution. The same information will be provided to the parents on pre-set timing and logic, depending on the settings chosen by the student information system operator.
It is observed and proven in case studies that a well-monitored school will have better discipline compared to schools without surveillance. This is not only because of the improved discipline of the kids, but also due to the improved discipline of various non-teaching staff in the school like security guards, bus drivers, maids etc.. When students are aware of the fact that the attendance is tracked live and communicated to parents instantaneously, this will avoid disciplinary issues. And better-disciplined students produce better grades and good citizens.
Other Places to Install and Benefit from RFID System in a School
Apart from attending students, the RFID solution can be applied to improve everyone’s library experience. The books can be embedded for tracking and data analysis with RFID tags instead of barcode. It, in conjunction with student RFID tags, can create seamless experience in borrowing and returning library books without the need for library queues. Students may also check for the availability of any book in library management software or school management software. The RFID device will also provide comprehensive data on student and book movement within the library over a period of time to understand student behaviour. Where we can understand why certain actions of students enable them to become good readers and good students.
In most of the schools, there will be restricted areas where the students are not advised not to approach. This can be for privacy, security, and safety or to improve discipline. The entry to the restricted areas can be tracked and the warning can be issued immediately.
Another recent trend is to implement an RFID system in school buses. This allows the tracking of students outside the school campus when they are on a school bus. This collects information about the stops where the kids on-boarded and de-boarded the bus. This also will be communicated to parents on a realtime basis through the student information system mobile apps or SMS.
Similar to how a library is automated, a successful RFID system can be used to automate regular canteen operations. The pre-funded wallets incorporated with the student information system and the RFID solution will subtract transactions. This will save students and teachers a lot of valuable time.
While the RFID system is mainly used to track student attendance, the same system can be applied to track teachers and non-teaching staff attendance and movement without cost increases. The same components of hardware and software can be used to produce information on the performance and actions of teachers and non-teaching personnel on the school campus.