I’ll be the first to admit. Using the iPad for check-in was beyond cool. It’s funny how many of you commented and messaged me for more information about using the iPad for check in. A few weeks ago when I first wrote about the idea of using the iPad for check-in, that post got more hits than anything I’ve written in a long time. I think I know what it is. You really want and iPad, don’t you?

Ha! Well, here is what I posted a few weeks ago along with links and video. This is where it all started. :)

I wasn’t overly creative. I simply copied what they did. I downloaded WinAdmin on my iPad. From there, I ran into problems. When it comes to tech, gadgets and applications, I’m pretty knowledgeable. However, when it comes to networking and connectivity, I’m not your man. I was having network issues, so I had our IT guy get me hooked up. Because our wireless in our Kids lobby is a different network than the actual check-in machines, he had to set up the iPad for VPN. It gave him some trouble at first, but within a few minutes, that was working. He put all the server information in WinAdmin and within minutes, it was working perfectly. I really like the VPN feature which gives me a lot more options.

So this Sunday, we were looking for new 1st graders. We were doing something special for their promotion, so I was checking in families that had a first grader. We had a huge crowd on Sunday and having me on the iPad seemed to help with flow (even though one machine was down becasue that’s the computer I was logged into with the iPad). I was pretty busy, but it was fun and personal. I felt like I had a better connection with both the kids and the parents… I totally liked it. Initially I couldn’t tell overall if it was helpful or not, but the volunteers at check-in said that it helped them tremendously. Big win!

So, my thoughts…

This isn’t an iPad app. It’s more of a hack. You’re using an app to remote desktop into a windows machine and essentially using that machine to check-in kids. As soon as they check-in, the parents can pick up their tags from a volunteer standing by that printer. The downsides are that you have to have a computer that you’re essentially taking control of for check-in. Also, it’s slightly sluggish. Not enough for me to not use it, but not as fast if I was standing at that computer. You see, we’re still using assisted check-in with Fellowship One. Because of our set-up, this was a really nice touch. If we were fully integrated with self check-in, I’m not sure we’d need or want to do the iPad check in. However, it’s certainly worth playing with. I highly recommend you get your hands on an iPad and experiment. Then you’ll know if it’s worth getting one for your ministry.

Although we used this for F1, I don’t see why you can’t use it for other systems as well. Remember, the iPad doesn’t really print, so you’ll essentially have to use a remote desktop app like WinAdmin to take over a computer with a printer. Definitely worth checking out though.

What I’m hoping for? That someone would develop and iPad app that integrates with F1 check-in where this is a feature and not a hack… but for now, this will work.