Centennial’s Police Foundations replaces pen and paper with mobile investigative software

Toronto’s Centennial College has become an early adopter of mobile investigative software as part of its Police Foundations curriculum.

Starting in the fall, students will be able install SceneDoc on their smartphone or tablet, allowing them to complete electronic paperwork, create scene drawings, add multimedia files and take notes, either through text or voice dictation.

Centennial professor Brian Moorcoft said having this type of technology in the classroom is essential as it keeps students engaged and has them using cutting technology. “They don’t want to be using yesterday’s technology,” he said. “They want to use what they expect to be using in the workplace.”

Moorcroft added that Centennial wants graduates to be able to use technology as if it were second nature, and that there’s no danger of graduates being ahead of the curve given the cost benefits of SceneDoc to police departments, which he said are looking for job applicants with strong communications skills that encompass technology.

Centennial piloted SceneDoc with students and faculty last semester, said Moorcroft, who was impressed by how easy it was to integrate with the college’s existing IT infrastructure. He was also surprised at how quickly students picked up the software and used it effectively.

Initially, it was thought the college would have to buy their own mobile devices to incorporate SceneDoc, but instead, students and faculty are able to easily install it on the own smartphones and tablets. “Any data they collect is not stored on the device, so it doesn’t take up any room on their phone.” Centennial is buying a small number of devices to have on hand to use SceneDoc, Moorcroft said, but the overall cost to the college is quite low.

Prior to adopting SceneDoc in the Police Foundations curriculum, students were using paper and pens, he said, and SceneDoc is the first vendor to approach Centennial with this type of technology, which Moorcroft understands is catching on across the province. Even if students were to encounter a different technology in the workplace, he said the reality is that if they become a police officer they are going to be using some sort of technology in the workplace. “We found that SceneDoc meets every requirement.”

The SceneDoc application allows students to collaborate on group projects. After evidence documentation and data is collected, files generated by documenting evidence and collecting data are streamed to a cloud server for storage, retrieval and collaboration, said Moorcroft. Faculty can also create custom forms based on the course or assignment being taught.

Centennial is actually following Seneca College in adopting SceneDoc, said the company’s CTO, Adrian Bubalo. “All colleges have a mobile initiative, and SceneDoc seems to fit their overall scope of requirements very well.”

He said there are great deal of records providers in the U.S. – close to 200 – and mobile technology has become prevalent. Professors are challenged to keep students focused on the class, in part because of their personal mobile devices, so adopting SceneDoc gives them a tool that will be used in the field they are entering and allow students to learn on their devices, Bubalo said. “It’s a logical transition to bring mobile devices into the classroom.”

He said SceneDoc is a product that is always in development, and the schools that adopt it for training purposes become partners by providing feedback and trying out features that may not be ready for the field. “They’re a great vetting source for us”







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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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