Going Digital in 2018: How Schools Can Overcome the Challenges

Aug 31, 2018 by

...there are still so many schools who are confined by the use of conventional systems of paper documents and printed books. Unlike the healthcare industry ...

Despite the wide use of digital technology and electronic learning systems, there are still so many schools who are confined by the use of conventional systems of paper documents and printed books. Unlike the healthcare industry where switching to digital systems is mandatory, institutions in the education landscape don’t always find going digital beneficial or easy. At the same time, both educators and students are using digital technology more than ever.

There are a number of challenges that are stopping schools from integrating the learning experience using digital technologies, even in 2018. Fortunately, there are several solutions that will help institutions face their challenges right away.

From Analog to Digital

One of the biggest hurdles in making the switch to digital systems is converting old records and other analog elements of the learning experience. This isn’t an easy challenge for schools that have been operating for a long time since there are many records to convert and they are not always in standardized formats due to the changing landscape and regulations.

Older libraries at campuses and schools are great examples of how going digital isn’t always a straightforward process. These libraries still use microfilms and microfiches to store newspaper archives, pages from older documents, and other materials that may be essential to the learning experience.

The best way to overcome this challenge is by getting the help of professionals. In the case of libraries, using a microfiche scanning service is the way to go. The same can be done with other types of documents, including old books, paper records, and transcripts. Even better, the best service providers now follow the highest information security protocols for maximum data protection.

Staging a Structure

Scanning and converting analog materials to digital files is only the first step. While documents are being converted, it is also necessary to develop a system to act as the foundation of the digital learning experience. A database is required so that transcripts and other documents can be cataloged accordingly.

This too is a challenge that can be dealt with by acquiring the services of professionals. Using the previous example, the company helping schools by providing a microfiche scanning service can also help with setting up an effective database for storing the scanned information. Once the database and the accompanying system is in place, pushing for a digital transformation gets easier.

An Outlet for Data Entry

It is important that schools make the decision to switch to digital with a firm cut-off time in mind. The best time to finalize the switch is when a new year starts. This way, schools going through the transformation can start accepting new data and entries digitally rather than using the same paper forms and analog methods.

Conversion of old documents and transcripts can even run alongside new data entry and management. New students can use the digital system immediately while existing students alternate between paper records and digital transcripts for a brief period of time. This is a transitional stage and it is a process that every school and other entities must go through when going digital, even in 2018.

There are ways to make the transition process smoother. For starters, having a clear cut-off time gives every stakeholder a clear understanding of when to finish the transformation and the tasks they need to handle along the way. Having a reliable data management system before the transformation begins is also necessary.

Don’t Forget Maintenance

As with conventional recordkeeping, technology-based learning and school management systems are not designed to be installed and forgotten. Different schools have different needs. They may have unique workflows and different ways of delivering the best learning experience to students.

The best school management systems we know today are mainly designed to comply with the general regulations and the basic needs of schools and universities. For the systems to suit a particular school, adjustments are needed.

This is where regular evaluations and maintenance come in handy. Evaluation is how you get a better idea of whether the system is working properly for the workflow you already have. You can make fine adjustments to the system, the internal workflow or both, so a better learning experience can be delivered.

Maintenance keeps the system running smoothly. Moving the entire school operation to the cloud is a big step, which is why proper training of teachers and administrators, as well as a team capable of doing maintenance of the new system, are both critical to the process.

A Necessary Transformation

Making the switch to digital is now a necessity and not an option. While schools are still relying on old technology and analog recordkeeping tools today, they will start needing the advanced tools and features offered by digital systems more and more.

The switch to digital is a necessary transformation because of the improved learning experience digital systems can deliver. Everything will be more streamlined, the school itself will be more efficient and effective, and more resources can be poured into attending to the needs of students and other stakeholders.

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