I'm looking for the easiest way to schedule computer labs. I'd like faculty to be able to view a calendar and be able to schedule their time. Obviously, ease of use is important. Can we set this up in google forms? Ideas?
We use the calendar/public folders function within Microsoft Outlook. If you're already using Windows and Outlook for email this might be the easiest option. The labs are listed under public folders. Anyone can reserve a time slot for not just labs, but auditorium and conference rooms as well.
Outlook is only software that manages and organizes email. It is not email software. There has to be an email service that is used. It could be exchange. Find out what email program you are using. If it is exchange you can setup public shared calendars. Other email programs offer similar features that work with outlook as well.
You can setup shared folders and calendars then. They are available right in outlook. I use a similar system. I thought it was the best option. Everyone checks their email. They will have access to it from anywhere. They can also see the availabilty of all equipment or rooms in one place. We use them for laptop carts, document cameras, smartboards, projectors and labs.
Contrarian view--I hate it that teachers have to sign up for times (usually 30 minutes). Too bad kids can't use the lab/computers when they need 'em and for how long they need 'em. Ah, things have to be fair.
As a classroom teacher I agree. There seems to be a tipping point (1:2 or 1:3?) where the lab is no longer needed. I passed that point this year and no longer schedule lab time at all. I will continue to work to achieve this "tipping" point in all classrooms in my building. I believe teachers won't genuinely move forward with new technologies until they own them and have access to them as Nancy says, "when they need 'em and for how long they need 'em." Push the computers into classrooms!
We use meeting room manager. Server based product, limited to 10 users at a time (we've never had a problem). Tied into active directory for authentication. Dead simple to use. Our users log in to the calendar through a web browser.
We tried public folders for a while, then scheduling assistant in outlook. This meets our needs the best.
So any teacher with a browser can just go to this address type in their name and put a checkmark next to when they would like to reserve the lab(the times the labs don't have computer classes). This also keeps track of who reserved the lab and when, so that the schedule can be adjusted as needed.
Any Microsoft solution would not work for our school, since both the network admin wouldn't install it and the district wouldn't pay for it if he would(our school still uses MS Works 4.0). So this was a solution that works great for our school.