With the large amount of paper taken home and written on every day by students at all level of schooling, it only makes sense that educational institutions should be leading the charge toward going paperless, according to Christopher Dawson on ZDNet. Administration implementing a content management solution could also go a long way toward cutting down the large amount of paper used by schools and districts every day.
“There are plenty of areas where paper reigns supreme and … a pretty massive cultural shift needs to take place to get away from our dependence on dead trees,” Dawson said. “The ways in which schools can integrate technology that cuts or eliminates the need for paper (textbooks, copies, handouts, flyers, parent messages, notes, you name it) astounds me every day.”
Dawson stated that in a recent discussion, he was told that America is “right on the edge” of becoming paperless, but he disagreed, using public schools as a big example. There are many aspects of workflow that could facilitate the educational system in going paperless, including a learning management system, which would use web based tools to share information with students, teachers and the community as a whole. This would be something of a district-wide document management system that would allow divisions and schools to post notifications and even allow teachers to post assignments.
Other areas Dawson said students could go paperless include using student laptops and tablets for assignments, using online groupware for productivity and group work, and using blogs, social networks and virtual classrooms for communication purposes. Educators can utilize the system for board meetings and internal communication.
“Schools should be at the forefront of the paperless movement, teaching students to take their paperless habits out into the world,” Dawson writes on ZDNet’s website. “Instead, it’s only the most progressive, well-funded of schools that are taking advantage of the readily available tools that support paperless education.”
St. Lucie County Public Schools in Florida is one district that has taken the cue to go paperless. David Jasa, IT Program Manager for the public school district, said the district is putting school records online so students can quickly access them. Florida law requires districts to permanently retain records of students who have withdrawn, transferred or graduated, so this paperless document management system will make it much easier to keep these records on hand.
“We had been discussing an electronic document management system for a while, but when our microfilm camera broke, we decided it was time to make the move,” Jasa said, adding that the system makes working with the record requests much easier.
Workflow and content management can provide a number of benefits to schools, teachers, students and the organization bodies governing the districts. It can safeguard critical documents, empower students and teachers and save the schools time and money.