Data collection with an iPad

Watching Star Trek in my youth, I came to think of the space-age technology used in the show as falling into two categories: 1) “that’ll never happen,” and 2) “ohhh, I hope so!” In the first category I put things like warp drives and matter transporters: “advancements” that were either impossible by the laws of physics or so complicated that they would never be developed in my lifetime. The second category was full of items that were less showy perhaps, but highly practical.  That magic combination is probably what inspired gifted men and women to develop real-world applications of gadgets like communicators, tricorders and handheld computers.

Modern tablets like the iPad have a lot of showy media features, but the reason why they are here to stay is because of the “boring” ability to get things done. That includes collecting, storing and displaying data of all sorts. Consider the following uses for the pastoral ministry:

Record keeping. A church is not a business, a pastor is not its CEO, and the “bottom line” isn’t what steers its ministry. Still, the Lord requires faithfulness and good stewardship, which demands a certain level of organization. A pastor can find help with the chore of record keeping with a number of iPad apps. Apple’s iOS spreadsheet app, Numbers, is not as easy to use as its desktop version, but it can open up Excel files and modify them as necessary. Numbers comes with built in templates which include: Checklist, Auto Log, Budget, and Weight Loss & Running Log.  Other, more targeted apps could prove more helpful. One example is Attendance. Although the main intended use is for classrooms, the app can easily track attendance at any type of event, recurring or otherwise. Read more of this post

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