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Move Daycare Records to Your Smartphone, iPad, etc.

Organizing Files in a Filing CabinetStill moving files around the old-fashioned way? Good. So am I. Some information is too important to leave to chance. Keeping it on paper, in a filing cabinet, makes it available at all times – even if the power goes out or your computer is misbehaving. But, wouldn’t it be great if you could get the same information without having to print all that paper?

In our last article, we looked at how to Be Prepared for a Power Outage at your daycare or preschool, as well as other issues that may prevent you from having access to your Child Care Database.

Today we’ll show you how to move information from your computer to a handheld device like a smartphone, iPad, Kindle, or Android handheld. Why is this important? Because cellular phones (and 3G/4G capable handhelds) are battery powered and use cell towers to connect to the internet. Even when the power in your building goes out, you’ll still have access to the information you need. In fact, WiFi capable handhelds would be able to access important child and family information too, even if your WiFi connection was down. Sound too good to be true?

Save it as a PDF

The key is to regularly update information in your Child Care Management Software and export it in Portable Document Format, more commonly known as PDF. There are two great things about PDFs. First, they can be easily moved from one device to another, as we’ll explain in a moment. Second, you don’t have to print them out, since the information can be so easily viewed on screen.

You might want to export things like Child Information Sheets, School Directories or Emergency Contact Lists, Allergy Reports, a manual Sign In or Roll Call Sheet, and perhaps even current Account Balance information. Some of this may change only once in a while, but you may want to update other PDFs each week. It’s easy to do, especially if you are using  Procare Software®; just click the Export button on any report and under Save as Type choose PDF (*.pdf).

Export Report from Procare

Move PDFs to Your Smartphone, iPad, etc.

Email:

The most basic way to move information from one device (say a computer) to another (like a smartphone or tablet) is to email it to yourself. Just log on to your email account, from your computer, and attach the PDFs to an email. Send it to yourself and the attachments will then be available from most any device used to check your email. It’s relatively easy to do, but there is a better way.

File Transfer Apps:

You can use free apps like DropBox, or even iTunes, to make files (like PDFs, etc.) available from any device. Of course, an internet connection is needed at the time the files are transferred, but once downloaded the files are available later, even if the internet is down.

On the recommendation of a co-worker, I recently tested Dropbox and found it very easy to use; quicker than manually attaching and emailing individual files. In my test, I installed the Dropbox app on my Windows 7 computer and my WiFi enabled iPad. I also downloaded iBooks, to enhance viewing the PDFs, but that is optional.

Step 1 – I opened Dropbox on my Windows computer (yes, there is a Mac version too) and created a Procare folder.

Dropbox Shortcut on Windows Desktop

Step 2 – I exported a School Directory report in PDF format and saved it to the \Dropbox\Procare folder, along with a copy of the Procare User Guide.

Dropbox Folder Contents in Windows

Step 3 – On my iPad I opened Dropbox, then opened the Procare folder.

Dropbox Folders on iPad

Step 4 – The same PDFs were instantly available. From there I could view the PDFs directly in Dropbox, or choose to Open In another app, such as iBooks. [Note: You do have to view the PDF one time, in order to make it available when you are offline.]

View PDF in Dropbox or iBooks

 

Have fun exploring the capabilities of your mobile devices and until next time, cheers!

-Phil

P.S. You may also like to Follow Me on Twitter.

If you have questions or comments about this article (or suggestions for another article) I’d be pleased to hear from you. Drop me a note at phil@procaresoftware.com.

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