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iPad quandary (Read 179 times)


Hide the ice cream.

    I'm a high school track and xc coach looking for a way to utilize my iPad.  I have a couple of promising apps, but with regard to recording split times, nothing so far has overcome the obvious:  I can't be looking at the iPad and the runners at the same time.  In track races, I handle it as follows:  I use a stopwatch and click the split while watching the runners.  I have someone else writing down names as I call them out.  This way, I don't have to take my eyes off the runners and my writer doesn't have to take his/her eyes off the clipboard.  I match the names to the times after the fact.  In xc, I go to the mile by myself and simply call out the kids' names and times as they cross the mile, recording all of this into a voice recorder.

     

    Both of these methods have worked fine for years with very few problems.  It just seems that in 2013, I should be able to integrate a device like an iPad into what I do.  I always revert back to clipboard and pen.  Several years ago, our coaches association tried to use palm pilots for officiating field events with the same results.  It's just easier with pencil and paper.  And it's actually less prone to human error.

     

    Right now I get a ton of use out of Google Docs and like it.  But it's all after the fact.  I have, so far, been unable to find a way to work technology into the events as they are happening.  (This doesn't even address the NFHS rule prohibiting electronic devices, but that's another conversation.)

     

    Ideas?

     

    Thanks!

    Yeah, well...sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

      Why do you need to use the iPad during events?  This is a pet peeve of mine.  Some executive wants IT to figure out some cool uses for the iPads they bought without talking to IT first only to find out IT won't support the devices.


      Hide the ice cream.

        The iPad was a gift and honestly, I never would have bought one for myself.  One reason I'd like to use it, and this is silly, is that I feel I should be getting more use of something so expensive.

         

        The second is I'm looking at it as a replacement to my clipboard with 100 papers on it.  I have anywhere from 70 - 90 boys on my spring track team each year.  I take attendance every day, create workouts, record split times, etc. all on paper.  I look at the iPad as a possible way to store everything, show videos to the kids, whatever.

         

        As for use during track meets, I may have more than a dozen boys running the 3200m at one time.  That's a lot of splits to catch, then go home and enter them on the computer.  I have great assistant coaches but they're all doing the same thing for their events.  I utilize parents and students as well but I find that when the races are going on, no one else knows all the names and can get the info down.

         

        I'm not trying to complicate things.  Sometimes the best way is the old fashioned way.  But I have a powerful tool I'm barely using.  I may find it's better that way, just trying to figure it out.

        Yeah, well...sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

          I don't see a way for you to avoid a manual process unless you use some kind of chip timing system to identify the runners automatically.


          Not dead. Yet.

            I'm a high school track and xc coach looking for a way to utilize my iPad.  I have a couple of promising apps, but with regard to recording split times, nothing so far has overcome the obvious:  I can't be looking at the iPad and the runners at the same time.  In track races, I handle it as follows:  I use a stopwatch and click the split while watching the runners.  I have someone else writing down names as I call them out.  This way, I don't have to take my eyes off the runners and my writer doesn't have to take his/her eyes off the clipboard.  I match the names to the times after the fact.  In xc, I go to the mile by myself and simply call out the kids' names and times as they cross the mile, recording all of this into a voice recorder.

             

            Both of these methods have worked fine for years with very few problems.  It just seems that in 2013, I should be able to integrate a device like an iPad into what I do.  I always revert back to clipboard and pen.  Several years ago, our coaches association tried to use palm pilots for officiating field events with the same results.  It's just easier with pencil and paper.  And it's actually less prone to human error.

             

            Right now I get a ton of use out of Google Docs and like it.  But it's all after the fact.  I have, so far, been unable to find a way to work technology into the events as they are happening.  (This doesn't even address the NFHS rule prohibiting electronic devices, but that's another conversation.)

             

            Ideas?

             

            Thanks!

             

            You need to have someone develop a simple app for you to run on the iPad.  Perhaps you could click a big button each time a runner crosses, and then once you have a free moment (they are back out on the course) assign those times to specific runners already defined in the app.  Maybe drag and drop onto their names...  I guess that's not quite right because you might get overwhelmed trying to assign those times or forget as other runners come through.  Your pen and paper method works, though, so you must deal with that same kind of thing somehow.  With an iPad you could take the same idea and just make it more efficient.

            How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

              McSpartan, I hear ya with the paperwork issues and trying to harness electronic tools. (Our races generally have 30-40 people, and I just do it by hand. I do have other data gathering needs for trails though = not a lot of data at one time.)  It should be doable with a laptop, but not sure if there's anything for iPad yet. I don't have a solution off the top of my head, BUT some thoughts.

               

              Have you asked any of your students or gadget geeks in your school? They'd be able to figure it out faster than any adults. Wink

               

              Look in iTunes for Stopwatch apps. It looks like there's a couple where you can get the data out via email or copying. Might be a time lag problem. Look under "all", not just the top dozen that pop up - finding a lot more down there, although some cost a few dollars. (I'm not sure if there's any software that records the time you tap a cell in a spreadsheet, which could be your stopwatch.)

               

              Do you have software that could convert your voice recorder data into a spreadsheet - either in an iGadget or laptop? (DragonDictate or something similar?) You might be able to use the iGadget microphone to dictate directly into an app. (I've been surprised at the quality of recordings.)

               

              You could just use the voice recorder of the iGadget to record names and times in a text file. The built-in Notes can do this, but not sure if it's fast enough. Actually, I'm surprised you can record splits at the mile rapidly enough with a voice recorder. The speech recognition in the Notes uses software in cyberspace for the conversion, I think -- based on the time it takes to convert. How accurate it would be on numbers, I'm not sure - could use aviation pronunciation ("niner" vs "nine") but the software may not recognize that as a 9.

               

              Search / browse through iTunes looking for free (or really cheap) Stopwatch apps. That might link you with something else that does everything.

              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                Why do you need to use the iPad during events?  This is a pet peeve of mine.  Some executive wants IT to figure out some cool uses for the iPads they bought without talking to IT first only to find out IT won't support the devices.

                 

                One of the problems with this approach is that you are then limited by IT people. That creates a strangle hold on progress. We're (volunteers) actually using online applications and ipad/iphone apps to do things (like get trail data to land managers and maps to users) because the IT people won't support the software needed for GIS and probably other stuff. That's what led to me getting iphone and ipad last spring - because the land managers we were dealing with couldn't get IT to install the software on their desktops - not asking for any help, just wanting to be able to install it. Apparently the IT folks aren't controlling their iphones and ipads yet.

                 

                We're not talking about executives and toys, but people trying to get work done and IT blocking the tools from them.

                 

                I don't know if this is a common situation in other states, but it's a major issue where I am.

                "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                  We're not talking about executives and toys, but people trying to get work done and IT blocking the tools from them.

                   

                  I don't know if this is a common situation in other states, but it's a major issue where I am.

                   

                  This is actually a different issue than I was referring to and I agree with you.  IT departments lock down computers so that they are easier to support and are less likely to get a virus or have pirated software installed on them.  At my previous employer, I was in internal IT and we were employees of the company.  Our bonuses were based on the company's performance and we were motivated to help other departments do their jobs.  At my current company I am not in the IT department, I am a consultant to our companies customers.  The company's IT is outsourced to another company and they are not interested in enabling people to do their jobs at all.  They blindly follow all IT policies and refuse to make exceptions.

                   

                  I guess it is not really a different issue, but an extension of the same issue.  They need to support 1000s of employees with a very small team.  IT departments can't support every possible platform out there.  They standardize on equipment and software so that they don't have to train support personnel on everything under the sun (as if you could if you wanted to) and test new applications on every possible platform.  This also gives them better negotiating position with their vendors because their purchases are larger and are not diluted across multiple vendors.  This problem is getting easier though as most applications move to web front ends.  Some companies are starting to embrace the BYOD (bring your own device) concept and are putting in infrastructure to support that like Citrix XenDesktop for virtual desktops and mobile device management applications.

                    Not sure why this became an indictment of IT departments, but in theory, an iPad could make a coach's life easier, I think.  Writing such an app is not trivial, though.  It would take a big chunk of time, and it's probably only going to happen if someone takes it on as a labor of love.  Keep your eyes open; something of the sort may be coming down the pike.

                    Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                      This app might work for you.  They have a mode for recording times rapidly and then assigning them to runners later.

                       

                      http://racesplitter.com/

                      mab411


                      Proboscis Colossus

                        I'm a big fan of tech toys, and have recently gotten an iPad that I've been trying to integrate into my classroom (band), too.  There are a few more apps designed for instrumental music than it sounds like there are for XC coaches, but still, I've found that sometimes, you just can't beat tried-and-true, old-school methods.

                         

                        That said, a few applications immediately jump to mind:

                         

                        Evernote, with Penultimate (two separate apps that integrate well with each other).  Penultimate turns the iPad into, basically, a pad of paper that you can write on with your finger or a stylus (you need a special, touch capacitive stylus).  You can create as many "sheets" of paper as you want, and they're all stored right on the iPad.  You can also import them into Evernote, which is a great organization app - you create "notebooks" (folders, basically) that you can add just about any kind of document to, including pictures, websites, MS Office apps, .pdf's, and on and on.  I believe you can even search your handwritten notes if you upgrade to the "premium" subscription ($5/mo or $50/year), though I have a premium subscription and haven't tried it.  I would think you could create a notebook for each event, and make notes during the event that you could go back through later (or share with the kids, if they get Evernote as well).  You could also have a notebook for each kid, to keep track of progress, training plans, etc..

                         

                        There are several apps like Penultimate, though I don't know that any of the others integrate with Evernote like it does.  And also, Evernote is not just an iPad app...it's also available on desktop and smartphones.  And it automatically syncs documents/notebooks across all devices.

                         

                        The other app isn't necessarily an app, but you mentioned filming your runners...nice camera right on the back of the iPad that works great for that!  And then, when you connect it to your computer, you can move the videos onto your hard drive (because those videos will fill up the iPad quick).

                        "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                        Hide the ice cream.

                           

                           Actually, I'm surprised you can record splits at the mile rapidly enough with a voice recorder. 

                           

                          The bigger surprise is my continued ability to make it to the mile before the kids do.  At most courses I can use the "as the crow flies" route and beat the kids to the mile comfortably.  There are a few though where they're breathing down my neck and I get there less than a minute before they do.  Fun as hell though!

                           

                          As for being able to capture all the times and names onto a voice recorder, that's actually not that hard.  I can almost always see the kids 50 meters before they get to the mile and I set myself up by recording myself saying "this is gonna be Mark, Ben, and Andrew together" before the hit the mark, then call out the time as they pass.  Even when they come by in big groups, I can usually rattle off their names before they hit the mile, then it's just call the time out.  When they come by one at a time, it's name and time both and serves as a recording and a cheer all at once!

                           

                          The key is having that 50 meter sight line to set it up ahead of them.

                          Yeah, well...sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

                            Not sure why this became an indictment of IT departments, but in theory, an iPad could make a coach's life easier, I think.  Writing such an app is not trivial, though.  It would take a big chunk of time, and it's probably only going to happen if someone takes it on as a labor of love.  Keep your eyes open; something of the sort may be coming down the pike.

                             

                            What would be interesting is if someone wrote an app that could use a bluetooth enabled RFID reader.  You could put RFID chips on the runners and hold the reader out as they run by.  The app would then record the runners and their times automatically.  You wouldn't even need an iPad.  You could use an iPhone or Android phone to pair it with for better portability.

                             

                            This reader only has a range of about three feet, but there are long range ones available also.

                             

                               

                              The bigger surprise is my continued ability to make it to the mile before the kids do. ..

                               

                              The key is having that 50 meter sight line to set it up ahead of them.

                               

                              Ok, that makes sense. It also occurred to me that your times are shorter to say (single digit minutes vs 40+ minutes and whatever). Sounds like a fun time.

                               

                              Yes, you should certainly be able to find something to help you with the paperwork. I know I've been amazed at the apps for iphone and ipads. I didn't have either one a year ago, but because of some volunteer work I was doing, I ended up getting both (then won another ipad in a raffle) and use them a lot as tools - replaces paper and hand transfer of data for a lot of things. I rarely use it as a phone, but I can email geotagged photos of sections of trail needing repair (usually tree removal) - right while I'm there, no need to dally with things after I'm home.

                              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                              justWalk


                                App idea, main and basic requirement

                                Record split times for N numbers of runner for high school track coaches.

                                 

                                I am on it! 

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