Taking an Inner View Into InnerView


InnerView provides a new place to log service hours online. (Source: InnerView)

The administration at Boston Latin School has drastically altered the community service hours system over the past two years. Although reactions have been cynical, the new system has a greater benefit for students in the long run. The new online system, InnerView, is better suited for students’ needs, which many will come to appreciate.

The online application was introduced to BLS students last year, causing many negative reactions. In order to log one’s hours, a student must supply a photo of themselves at the event and provide other information such as the supervisor’s phone number or email address, a short description and more, which many find tiresome. There are numerous benefits, however, to the novel software.

Perhaps the clearest advantage of this new system is that it is fully virtual, unlike the previous system, in which students recorded their hours on paper before they were entered into the general system. InnerView provides more efficient record-keeping because students can easily input their hours at any time and with less hassle.

To verify hours, a student must supply a photo of themself participating in the community service activity. This requirement yields more legitimacy than a signature, and the students can do it by themselves. It also accommodates all different types of events including virtual ones like Zoom meetings.

The after-school tutoring program, headed by Ms. Thuy LeDang-Collins, has recently changed its method of logging hours. Ms. LeDang-Collins believes that “[the new online system] is easy to track so I can see exactly the date students did service and it’s more organized.”

Most importantly, the previous system was outdated. Originally, students had to get sheets of paper from the guidance office and then get them signed. In addition to being time-consuming and less environmentally friendly, the process made it difficult to certify a virtual event.

Most of the students’ complaints stem from what Mr. Thomas Kennelly, director of the community service program, describes as the “learning curve.” He comments, “Whenever you adapt any new platform, it takes time for people to get used to it. Getting everyone familiar with the platform is a challenge sometimes.”

Thankfully, the issue is likely to resolve itself over the next few years as the next generations of BLS students will quickly adjust to the system in place, without having an old system to compare it to. They will be more familiar with the application and able to better appreciate its benefits.

InnerView combines all hours and information into one easily accessible place. It allows the students’ activities to be verified more quickly and easily. The application also compiles student data and recognizes certain students for their achievements in a variety of ways.

A unique feature of InnerView is that it connects to the Global Goals of the United Nations. When students input their hours, they are asked to sort their service into a Global Goal Impact like Quality Education or Peace and Justice. It encourages students to work towards these goals and make larger contributions to their global community.

Students can create personalized profiles on InnerView and get recognized for their achievements and efforts through the Honor, Ambassador and Merit Awards. The program will calculate a student’s total hours, economic impact and hours by month or by year, which can be viewed by the participants.

Additionally, students can find service opportunities within their community on the app itself. This encourages students to reach out in ways that would have been unfathomable with the old system.

Despite the criticism, InnerView is more helpful for students than the old system, as it replaces the previously tedious process of logging hours and provides new chances for diverse volunteer opportunities. BLS students have adapted well to various changes over the past year. Such a beneficial addition is no doubt a step in the right direction.