How Natalie C. found her way onto this blog I'll never know (by which I mean I'll look at the Blogger stats later, if it occurs to me), but I'm glad she did. She presents a solution to taking attendance with a QR code which is simple and free. Full instructions are just a click away.
The Sparknotes version is this: She created a Google Docs form which included all the information she wants from her attendees, then created a QR code from the address of the form. Attendees shoot the QR code with their smartphone cameras, their smartphone takes them to the form, they fill out the form, click submit, and bam. A Google Docs spreadsheet takes the information and puts it in neat rows with a timestamp and all. Very clever!
This might be a little involved for my purposes. I just want to point a camera at a student and have a computer register that the student is there, all official-like. But still, this is slick, and I can think of a few other ways to make that useful. More about that later.