Why accurate real-time data matters

Scott Adamson
2 min readSep 23, 2021
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

I started a new role in the spring of this year. I have been working in education for more than a decade and love the environment. I have been trying to learn the role and look for ways I can improve my understanding and various processes.

One task I was working on for the start of the school year was preparing about 200 iPads for students in our primary school. I exported a list from our database and verified students, pulled various columns together to generate device names (and not risk typing a name incorrectly).

Using Google Sheets and APIs, the first sheet could be generated. Sheet two pulled the various columns into relevant fields and lastly, a sheet was generated to check off when a device was enrolled, verified, and completed.

What I found though was after school started, we had completed 219 iPads and felt like things were behind us for the year, 4 students enrolled early in September. Following a double-check export, I found 223 students and of those, 3 did not have devices assigned. Again using Google Sheets, I used a VLOOKUP to see if an email existed in two places (if not, show FALSE). This is how I noticed the missing students.

At the end of the day, I’m thinking about how to continue to do this effectively and use REAL-TIME data to my advantage.

The API can run on a schedule. I could pull weekly (or daily during times when changes are happening more frequently) and then piece together variables to cross-reference information and alert me to changes I need to be aware of. Using this process I could automate more of the steps and limit the cracks data and information often seems to fall through during busy times.

Personally, I have found the use of APIs and pulling data easy and effective, and utilizing Google Sheets to collect and highlight information very helpful and easy to work with. Questions, let me know and if you have been doing anything similar, let me know — would love to learn from you all.