The Paperless School Office?

In the last few decades, technology at school has moved from a dank and sparsely funded computer-lab in the basement to what can only be described as a top to bottom saturation. Technology is everywhere and, if used right, can make teaching more effective and save time when it comes to administrative tasks.

Print perfection

Take print as an example. How much time could automated collating and stapling features save a teacher over a term? How much time could be freed up if device reliability was improved and staff weren’t wasting time fixing paper jams or waiting for service call outs? What if school staff didn’t need to print at all and could instead access files electronically on a central server or via the cloud?

KYOCERA’s research for its Tech Tips for Time Saving whitepaper found that 48 per cent of teachers said that on average they print more than 5,000 sheets of paper per term. If those improvements above can save teachers 10% of the time they currently spend on printing then it’s a decent win for schools.

The information challenge

Technology usage in schools is about much more than what goes on in classrooms (although that’s clearly important). More than almost any other industry, education is all about information. So, a solution that extends information availability while also saving time and improving accuracy goes to the head of the class. And what if that solution actually meant doing away with the need for print output altogether?

The SIMS (School Information Management System) database is a good example. The need to hold student data centrally means that SIMS is now used by more than 22,000 schools across 150 UK local authorities. SIMS enables the management of student and staff information across all areas of school life including registration, finance and payroll, timetabling, progress tracking, assessment, SEN support and whole-school communication. This naturally generates masses of paper, but wouldn’t life be better if it was all automated and paperless? Technological developments mean that products such as the KYOCERA SIMS connector are now available to ensure the simple, fast and secure storage of documents and information in schools. School staff needn’t be overwhelmed with hard copy student records when they can now scan them directly from the multifunctional device into the easy-to-use SIMS database for centralised storage, simple retrieval and enhanced document workflow. Schools have made significant investments in their IT infrastructure to support staff and benefit students. With AutoStore, they can now leverage and consolidate existing equipment and make the most of their investment while also cutting document handling costs with a reduced need for couriers and faxing documents. Time is also saved with streamlined processes which take minutes rather than days. Information can be quickly captured and sent to the correct location at the touch of a button, removing the need for manual processing and administration.

Developments such as the SIMS connector means paper consumption in schools – in the back office at least – is in decline. Email and social media communication is helping too, as are document capture and digital workflows. While the paperless school is still a long way off, we are undoubtedly getting closer.

The latest document management services can really help schools and new developments are constantly being developed to provide painkilling solutions to the big headaches within schools. What’s more, time-saving often goes hand-in-hand with cost savings too – further good news for school leaders everywhere.

By Austin Clark