The Student Lap Tracker Blog


Leave a comment

Working with the iOS App

Welcome to the iOS App support page!

Download and install here

The app is intended for Student Lap Tracker subscriber schools. At this time, there is no functionality for non-subscribers. Sorry! If your school is running, get in touch! I’m sure we can help.
The first release of the app allow you to scan runner ID cards with your iPhone or iPad. This is a great alternative to the Symbol CS3000 handheld scanners.

To use the app:

  1. Login. You must know your username and password. If you don’t, you can reset it here.
  2. Select the Track (or course) where your students will run. These are set up in advance in the Lap Tracker web application here. The default for your school will be pre-selected but you can change it by pressing the grey button.
  3. Start a run –
    Untimed Run is  generally for clubs and the number of laps and distance are recorded.
    Timed Run is generally for the One Mile Run in P.E. Class. In addition to laps and distance, the time of the run is recorded.
  4. Scan the Runner ID cards when students cross the finish line. After you’ve scanned a barcode, an on-screen notice will be shown and a confirmation chime will sound.
  5. Stop Live Scanning when the run is complete. Your scans will be uploaded immediately provided your device is connected. If your device is not connected, your scans will be uploaded when you reconnect.

That’s it! Happy Scanning!

Update Oct 17:

Duplicates Prevented: there is a 15 second delay before a card can be re-scanned.

Testing: you can try the app out with some test scans then delete the test scans so they don’t affect your students. Here’s how to delete your test scans:

  1. Log in to laptracker.net (not the iOS App) as an admin for your school
  2. Go Scans > Scan Batch Review. Here you will see a summary of the imported data.
  3. Click on the batch # in the first row, this batch is your test data. The Scan Detail page show each scan’s timestamp, ID number, runner and status.
  4. Click the Delete Batch link and confirm to delete the test scans.

Eligible Accounts: All Admin, Reporter and Parent accounts can use the app. There is no limit and no fee. This makes the iOS App a great option for Jogathons!


Leave a comment

Student Privacy Pledge

We’re in! I’m pleased to announce we took the Student Privacy Pledge earlier this week. We’ve been compliant from day 1 but it’s nice to have our commitment publicly memorialized. I created the first version of our program as a parent volunteer at my boys’ school and the last thing I wanted was the kids in our community to have their information used for other purposes. Lap counts and mileage might not be as important as SAT scores but they are private nonetheless.

Student Privacy & Security has been getting more attention as a political issue. Last year there was some drama in the blogosphere but it at least advanced the conversation. It should be in the president’s State of the Union speech next week! I don’t think he’ll be talking about Lap Tracker before the whole country, that’s more Michelle’s kind of thing, but I do think he’ll speak about the issue and hopefully mention that edtech companies like ours have taken the pledge.

The pledge and a list of companies who have made the pledge can be found here:

http://studentprivacypledge.org/

And for more in-depth information, FERPA SHERPA is another great resource.


Leave a comment

Jog-A-Thon Fundraisers

Raising money to fund supplementary programs has become an important role for parent organizations in these days of tight budgets. Student Lap Tracker is first and foremost a fitness program. A secondary but popular use of our program is for Jog-A-Thon and FunRun fundraising events. These are a great way to kick off a new running club and get the whole school involved in a fun, healthy event. About 20% of our schools use a small portion of the proceeds from their events to fund their subscription to our program.

We believe Jog-A-Thons and Fun Runs are community events that should be conducted by members of the school community. We just don’t think professional fundraising companies should be involved. And, as parents, we certainly don’t like the idea of a high percentage of our contribution going anyplace besides the school.

The Jog-A-Thon feature within our program is available to all of our schools at no additional cost. It is essentially a Pledge & Payment tracking tool for event organizers. It’s designed to complement, not replace, the process most schools use for their fundraisers. You’ll continue to use your current pledge sheet. There is no communication between us and your donors. In fact, we don’t even know they are. The school handles all funds, and families handle all interaction with donors.

Jog-A-Thons are large, busy events and our product makes them easier – without changing the community spirit of the event.

Loaner scanners are provided so you can have a big finish line with 5-10 parents helping. We ship the loaner scanners to your school before the event and provide a prepaid shipping label for their return. Loaner scanners arrive charged, configured and ready to use.

We want you to have a successful event and are available to help with planning and tips. Happy Running!


Leave a comment

Friday shout-out to …

Today’s post is a shout-out to Coach Lynne Knowd at the Ramona Community School… she’s put together a fantastic program with LOTS of positive reinforcement. They’ve run a collective 7,000 miles this year, an average of over 20 miles per student. Here’s the best part: 88 percent of the school is participating! Now that’s a healthy community.

Here’s her message to their team:

Great job today! We had 20 runners ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade who completed a mile in 11 minutes or less. They all earned 1 extra mile toward their charms and running totals. Our Gatorade Runners of the Day were runners who continually have a great attitude at Running Club. I love to have these kids out there each week. They are Madeline L. and Madison S. along with Cruz C. Congrats to you!

All of our runners are out there each Wednesday for various reasons; some want to get faster, some enjoy exercising with their friends and some are giving their best effort to run. Please remind your children to encourage ALL of these participants and classmates. Ask them to tell two people each week, “Good job.” A little encouragement goes a long way!

Next week endurance… run, run as MUCH as you can!! I can’t wait to see them out there next week. Attached is a printout of the awards which are due to the runners.

Kudos to Coach Lynne!!


Leave a comment

Ready to Run

Got kids who need more exercise? Our spring promotion Ready to Run is now live.

For some schools, the months of March and April are an ideal time to start our program. Here’s why:

  • Students need something new and fun – our technology will perk up your club or PE class.
  • The principal isn’t as busy as they are the beginning of the school year.
  • Parent organizations are likely in a better position to help you with funding.
  • You can roll out the program in pilot mode and on your own schedule.
  • You’ll get our great software and service and up to 4 months FREE, an average savings of $200

Here’s the link: Ready to Run


Leave a comment

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants

Does your club need a new track? This program emphasizes parent involvement. “This year, as a foundation, we are challenging ourselves to seek ways to provide the tools that help our educators and parent groups through today’s challenging times efficiently, while providing the greatest impact, with basic necessities taking priority.”

Deadline is 2/14/2014 so hurry! http://www.toolboxforeducation.com/index.html


Leave a comment

How to start an elementary school running club – Part 1

Offering a running club is a great way to increase physical activity at your school. Make it fun for the kids, make it easy for the teachers and recognize student achievement; and you are on your way to helping build a healthy community. Running clubs are a wonderful supplement to Physical Education, and can scale to reach more students, more frequently, more easily than just about any other program.

You don’t need to purchase our product to get started, but you do want a plan of some kind for tracking the laps and other data when the run club grows. Schools use our technology to save time and motivate their students.

The first thing you should do is talk with the principal about your idea. It’s their school to run and everything that happens there is ultimately their responsibility. The running club should operate in a way that aligns with their vision for the school. You won’t need a lot of their time but you do need some.

An elementary school principal will typically expect the following goals for a running club:

  • Fun – not overly competitive
  • Safe – not overly strenuous
  • Inclusive – anyone can join, regardless of ability
  • Organized – with responsible adults supervising
  • Fair – rules and rewards should be consistent
  • Timely – the club schedule fits into or around the school schedule

Facility is next, figure out where and when the kids will run. You want a safe course that is ideally 1/8th to 1/4th of a mile. Courses that are longer than 1/4th mile can work well for older students, but you don’t want the younger ones too far away so you can supervise. Courses shorter than 1/8th mile can get congested with more students at the finish line and generate more lap data that has to be managed.

Measure the distance of your track or course with a smartphone app or measuring wheel. Backstops, trees or benches can define the loop or get cones to mark the perimeter. Choose what is convenient, safe and easy; you can lengthen the course later when you have more participants and helpers.

Start small by offering the club to just one grade or a few classrooms initially. Generally speaking, 2nd and 3rd grades are the “sweet spot” for participation. Their bodies have grown enough where they can do a lot but they don’t quite yet know everything like some of the older students.

If you’re running before school, allow enough time for families to find out the club is happening and add it to their routine. For example, meet Tuesdays/Thursdays before school for 3 weeks. Put an announcement in the school newsletter. Talk with teachers that are supportive, they’ll encourage their students to participate and help get the word out to parents. Some of our biggest advocates are teachers of energetic little boys!

Track laps from day 1 Just like adults, kids want to know how they’re doing and they will respond to that measurement in a positive way. While your club is in its “getting started” phase, it’s easiest use lap cards with a hole punch or sharpie marker to tally completed laps at the finish line. This collects the data for each child in one step, but it won’t be centralized, which limits what you can report efficiently.

Popsicle sticks or tickets are slightly faster than lap cards at the finish line, but they require more work after the kids have run their laps. You have to collect the sticks and record the count per student in a log or spreadsheet. Either way, please do not send kids back into the classroom and expect the teachers to count, track and report laps – they have better things to do!

(When I left IBM to run this company full time, I explained the popsicle sticks to some of the people I worked with and how Student Lap Tracker solves that problem. They could simply not believe that in this day and age, in this country, some of our teachers actually have to spend valuable classroom time counting popsicle sticks!)

Incentive Awards are great motivators. They can be modest but they do need to be awarded fairly, consistently and reliably. This is why I recommend starting with a smaller group initially. Without a system like ours in place to manage it, it’s on you to keep those kids’ laps tracked accurately. And like the salesman who claims he can’t add, yet can find a dollar missing from his commission statement, some of your students will become expert data analysts and have lots of questions about their mileage total and when they’re going to get their next award.

Review what your club has done so far. Discuss growing the club with your principal and consider:

  • Was the start a success?
  • What logistical problems need to be worked out with the facility or schedule?
  • Were students outside the initial group interested in joining in?
  • Were teachers, staff or parents interested in helping?
  • Did the classroom teachers think their students were better prepared to learn after running?
  • Does the running club align with the principal’s vision for the school?
  • Will the running club help build a healthy community?

Lots more in Part 2.

© Student Lap Tracker


Leave a comment

Blog post #1

by Jim Patriquin

Welcome! I have worked with so many great people over the last 5 years, and want to share the tips, stories and insights gathered along the way. The teachers, parents and school administrators who work with our kids on a daily basis are shaping the world to come. My company’s mission is to provide them with an affordable tool that they can use to help build a healthy community at their school.

The people do make a difference:

  • At 6:30 this Saturday morning, I received an email from a dad in Calabasas who is taking time out of his weekend to prepare for his kids’ school Jog-A-Thon.
  • Yesterday, it was a veteran PE Teacher  in Scripps Ranch who was helping us test our new height and weight scanning for BMI. That data, along with our mile timing, enables Fitness Assessment Reports that she’ll use to proactively help students with their energy balance and aerobic capacity.
  • And on Thursday, we passed a company milestone: over 3 million laps tracked since the 2008-09 school year. Most of those laps were run by kids who were simply joining in on the fun at their school’s running club, which was only made possible by the teachers and parents who decided to make it happen.

Thanks for reading – I will be adding more posts and look forward to your comments!