Manage education documentation
There is no doubt that advances in technology have had a significant impact on the way that we do things these days. To illustrate this point, many people love to point out that the iPhone is only eight years old and social media, as we know it, is not much older. Despite the regular use of this example in blogs, articles and conversations, it never fails to amaze me how much certain technology has changed our lives in less than 10 years. To me now, my smartphone and social media have become natural parts of my everyday life, and tools that I regularly use to gain information, stay in contact with people, and conduct business.
Despite many technology advances in recent years, there is still much more that can be done to make our lives easier, regardless of your industry. In a school environment, the proper digitisation of documents is the perfect example of a sometimes underutilised function that can not only save time and money, it can also make your job a whole lot easier.
When looking at the advantages of document digitisation, there are obviously some aspects that will appeal to you more than others, depending on your role in the school. However, the beauty of digitisation is that it has equal appeal to both the teaching and the admin staff. This broad appeal will have many of you wondering why you hadn’t embraced it sooner.
...the beauty of digitalisation is that it has equal appeal to both the teaching and the admin staff. This broad appeal will have many of you wondering why you hadn't embraced it sooner.Probably the most useful of all the benefits is that you can access documents anywhere, any time, and at any place. If you’ve got an internet connection, you’ve got access. This means that you don’t have to rely on being near a bulky old filing cabinet that contains all of your essential information. You could be in a classroom across the other side of the school from your office. You could be in the staff room having a coffee. You could be offsite at school sport. And, while many staff don’t necessarily want to work from home, it is a reality that most of us do. On those, hopefully rare, occasions that you have to complete a task at home, you want it to be as quick and easy as possible. Having a digital archive of all your important documents will allow you to quickly access what you need, so you can get back to doing what you’d rather be doing.
Another handy feature of digitisation is that multiple staff members can access the same documents. Obviously caution must be taken here, but once the proper permissions are given to appropriate staff members, the ability of multiple people to access the one document will cut time and avoid frustration across the school.
So, access to information is much easier, but how does digitisation relate to the security of your documents? Digitisation is actually a terrific way to secure vital information. Scanning important documents and backing them up on your hard drive or online ensures that the document can’t be lost on someone’s desk, damaged by a spilt water bottle, or destroyed in a fire. In addition to securing information, the scanning of documents that were originally hard copies goes a long way towards reducing clutter on your desk. You might even be able to say goodbye to the aforementioned filing cabinet! While the truly paperless office still seems like a bit of a pipe dream, any opportunity to cut down on the amount of paper littered around our workspace is worth considering.
If this all sounds good, how can you successfully implement digitisation in your school? While the challenges will be different for every school, there are three essential steps that you must take:
- Consult with an expert. Whether they are already on staff, or you need to outsource, this expert will ensure that you make the right choices, and that staff have suitable guidance from the start.
- Choose the right technology for your needs. Make sure you choose the technology that meets your school’s needs, rather than just buying the most fancy, or the cheapest.
- Choose the right application. Your IT expert can guide you towards the most appropriate application that will keep your newly digitised documents safe, secure, and easy to access.
If you follow these steps, it won’t be long before, just like that smartphone in your pocket, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without document digitisation.
Sub-editor, Education Technology Solutions
Ged McMahon is a qualified writer and editor with broad experience in both print and digital media. He is the former Editor of Australian Business Solutions, a magazine for owners and managers of small- to medium-sized businesses. In this role, he worked with some of Australia’s brightest business minds to provide relevant and dynamic content to the vibrant SME sector.
Ged is the current Sub-editor of leading industry magazines Security Solutions and Education Technology Solutions. These long-running magazines continue to serve the professional development needs of the security and education industries respectively. In addition to his involvement with the print media, Ged is the current Web Editor at a leading private school in Melbourne.