The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to rapidly deploy new digital methods to teach students in different locations. According to Pew Research, 46% of K-12 students were getting only online instruction towards the end of 2020. The widespread use of technology generated a vast quantity of data and content to manage – many schools were completely unprepared for the challenge. This period of tremendous disruption highlighted the pitfalls associated with an over-reliance on paper and manual processes, which can lead to extra costs, poor collaboration, and work inefficiency.
Fast forward to the present and one lasting change is that digital transformation is here to stay. It will continue to impact education in all schools, from kindergarten through college. The K-12 blended e-learning market share, for example, is expected to rise by $19.59 billion from 2020 to 2025, according to a study by Technavio. The use of technology will continue to increase to enhance processes inside and outside of the classroom, which only means one thing – it’s time for schools to invest into new digital tools to future-proof their institution.
Considering the myriad difficulties that schools faced as a result of poor document management and the lack of a clear data management strategy, one of the best ways for them to make up for lost time is by adopting an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software.
The main functions of an ECM solution are to capture, store, manage and deliver information to support essential organizational processes, bringing instant benefits such as increased productivity and improved collaboration.
While ECM can be installed on-premise, a cloud-based ECM is often the preferred choice for many businesses because it provides them with an affordable and scalable platform. Any user with authorized access and an Internet connection can quickly and securely access the cloud-based ECM platform from several devices, at any time.
This is how ECM can help improve your K-12 school:
Let’s face it, paper documents come with extra operational costs and risks. Storing physical documents occupies more space, managing paper files takes more time, and there’s always the possibility that crucial documents get lost or destroyed.
ECM offers educational institutions the opportunity to digitize lesson notes, student records, employee and any other administrative paperwork and store them in one digital and centralized system. Therefore, ECM eliminates the need to copy, physically store and transport paper documents. For schools that are migrating to a more mobile approach to education, having access to all documents at the click of button saves students, teachers and school administrators hours of valuable time.
The best first step forward for schools looking to digitize is ECM."
Another advantage of going paperless with ECM in an educational institution is that it enables quicker document search, management and archival of administrative documents.
Student records such as parental communications, enrollment forms, incident reports, personal details, and disciplinary actions all get stored digitally in one place, so staff no longer have to search through file cabinets or piles of paper. In particular, with remote school during the pandemic, locating key documents became enormously problematic and cumbersome.
Moreover, with ECM, the time spent carried out on manual processes and heavy lifting (both literally and figuratively) is greatly reduced, freeing educators and counselors to focus on more critical task such as being more accessible to students and their families.
ECM not only allows institutions to manage and store important information safely, but also gives the possibility to automate notifications and control user access authorization. In this way, administrators can check who accessed a specific document and when, to avoid it falling into the wrong hands or getting lost.
When it comes to school health, for example, records need to meet compliance requirements for local, state and federal laws – and ECM guarantees document integrity by safely storing all information via the cloud, simplifying compliance and retention. By consolidating content into one system, schools can streamline content storage and protections.
ECM is greater mobility and flexibility without a compromise on data security.
As discovered in a study conducted by Technavio, the blended e-learning approach provides huge amounts of costs savings to both learners and institutions.
The study found that across the U.S., virtual learning helped students manage learning costs as a vast number of resources were made available digitally. Cloud-based learning management platforms also became really popular, as teachers were able to deliver knowledge in a more interactive and engaging way.
In the case of ECM, both students and schools can cut costs by going paperless. Teachers can finally say goodbye to printing hundreds of worksheets for their lessons every week! And of course, when participating in online classes, it is neither logical nor convenient to print worksheets as not every household has a printer. Many teacher worksheets are now simply scanned and shared with students via the cloud.
Online teaching is here to stay in some way, shape or form just like we are seeing with the continuation of remote work across many other industries. The volume of data at our fingertips continues to grow exponentially. Those who invest in the right tools to turn this volume of data from a burden into an organization strength will reap the rewards.
Given that schools have traditionally been paper-heavy organizations, ECM is the perfect tool to help them modernize the way they store, manage and share information. If a more agile approach to learning is to flourish, realistically, many schools are in desperate need of more sophisticated methods to take control of their data and information – for the sake of the students and all of those who work in education.