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Mansfield Magazine

Mansfield-Area Resident Creates Innovative App Benefitting Schools

Apr 20, 2017 10:06AM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Local Grand Prairie resident and father Hiren Joshi is a Software Architect that couldn't help but notice the complicated, and often hectic, process of student pick up at schools. Hiren noted how hard the teachers worked, bad weather or not, and wanted to do something about it. 

Hiren claims that his wife gave him the idea to put to use his over 20 years of experience as a Software Architect and create an app to help out teachers and parents.

And create it he did!

The PickMeUp app was put together by Hiren and has been used by Louise Cabaniss Elementary school in Mansfield since January 2017. The community truly appreciates the ease and convenience of the app and Hiren is hoping it catches on to more surrounding schools. 

As a family of four himself, with a daughter and son, Hiren knew that something like this would not only benefit the Mansfield School District, but his own family as well.

We just had to learn more about this innovative app that Hiren has created, so we reached out with a few questions. He was kind enough to take the time to answer them for us. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you developed any other apps or work in technology?

My name is Hiren Joshi and I am a software architect by profession and have been writing software applications for over 20 years. I am passionate about software technology and love developing innovative software solutions using the latest technologies. Mobile application development has been my hobby recently. I have developed a couple of Android apps like "Greeting Mate" which can automatically send SMS greetings to your contacts on birthdays and "ARoundJoy" an app for hula hoop instructors to maintain a student's digital diary.

How did you come up with the idea for the current app? Do you have children that attend Mansfield schools?

My daughter and son both attend MISD schools. As parents we observed that each day teachers who have been assigned duties to dismiss students spend a lot of time and effort to ensure all the students go home safely. Teachers spend a lot of time at the car rider’s lanes to ensure students are dismissed accurately. Bad weather adds more difficulties for them. In this age of technology, I thought it would be beneficial to create an app that can help the teachers with the student dismissal process.

What does the app do? How does it help Mansfield schools?

PickMeUp system is designed to streamline the car rider pickup process for schools when students are dismissed. This system works on a QR code technology (An app installed on mobile device is used to scan the QR code, which is basically a bar code). When the app reads the QR code it is able to identify the student’s name accurately.

In addition to the mobile app, there is a website for administration and pickup queue management. PickMeUp system utilizes QR-coded tags that are assigned to each student and provided to parents that are responsible for pickup after school each day. A student’s ID is printed as a QR code on the student name tag. The PickMeUp app reads this QR code as the school staff scans the tag using their phone and identifies the students linked to it. It displays each student’s name on a computer/tablet display, in real time, in proper sequence with the cars in the pickup lane. It stages the student’s names into separate lanes to expedite pre-assembly and release to their ride. It automatically sequences the next group of student names onto the client computer display for quick dismissal process. It saves time for school staff managing the dismissal process and ensures students are released in the correct order of their pickup.
PickMeUp system would provide several benefits to Mansfield schools. On an average it saves about 15 minutes of time for teachers each day. It allows more time for teachers to plan their next day, instead of managing the dismissal process.

For parents it would save about 5 minutes of time each day that would equate to about 3 cents of fuel saved per car per day. It would also provide administrators a real-time dismissal tracking dashboard which can be used to track students. It would reduce the school's liability with digital dismissal records.

Is it currently available for use?

Currently PickMeUp system is used by Louise Cabaniss Elementary school in Mansfield since January 2017. PickMeUp app is available for Android devices and designed to be used by any school or organization. I am currently working on an iOS version of the app and it will soon be available for use.

Can anyone use it?

Any school or organization will be able to use it as it only requires a mobile device where the app can be installed. For security the app only allows authorized users to be able to scan QR codes and view its data.

What do we need to know about the app?

PickMeUp app is a safe and efficient way to streamline the dismissal of students at the end of the school day. Administrators and dismissal staff can view and track student dismissal processes while sitting in the student assembly, in the office using a computer, or on a hand-held device like a tablet. It does not require any expensive gadgets and uses already existing devices. It makes a simple and efficient use of the existing technology.

Where do you see this going in the future? What are your hopes for the app? 

My plan is to develop the iOS version of it and offer this app to multiple school districts and independent schools.

I am also working on enhancing this solution so that it could be used to track the students who ride on school buses. As the students are getting on the bus, their ID could be scanned and recorded into the system using a mobile phone. We can then send out notifications to parents when the child would be reaching home.

If a GPS-enabled mobile device is present in the bus, it could even track the approximate time of child's arrival at home. This would be very helpful for tracking students in case of bus delays or accidents. It will also help parents of special needs students when they need to be home to pick up their children. It will save efforts of school staff to track school buses that are delayed. 

The application can also be enhanced to be used during fire drills to quickly account for students present and notify administrators of any missing students.

These are just few areas where we can leverage the mobile technology.

Anything else that we should know about you?

We are a family of four, my wife, daughter, son and myself. We have been living in Grand Prairie, TX for the past 10 years. Both my kids attend schools in Mansfield ISD. I am very grateful to MISD for providing a great place to live, learn and teach. I am hopeful that PickmeUp app can serve all the schools in our area and it would be a means for me to give back to the community.

Do you find something like this to be beneficial to local schools? Let us know in the comments! 

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