THOUGHTS

Three Ways Schools Can Accelerate Digital Transformation  

14/06/2022 11:22 AM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.
By :
Simon Dale

The Malaysian Government’s My Digital Teacher training programme aims to upskill all teachers in using digital technology for teaching, learning, and administrative work by 2025.

The initiative indicates that digital transformation is critical to the success of an education institution. Especially as the pandemic continues to multiply administrative tasks, technology can be extremely helpful in reducing admin workloads, so teachers can better focus on developing learning plans and teaching aids to make learning more fun and effective for students.

Schools can “go digital” by using scanning applications to convert paperwork to paperless documents, “stay digital” by using e-signature tools, and truly “be digital” by automating processes and systems - all through apps optimised for educational environments.

  1. Go digital: Convert paper documents to digital

Paper forms are all too easy for students and parents to misplace. Along the way, they can get smudged, torn and wrinkled – making the content hard to read.

Making the switch to digital documents is simpler than you might expect – and it can start at the individual classroom level. Many teachers and admins now use the Adobe Scan app to convert paperwork into high-definition PDF files. It uses the camera on the device to capture a photo of any document, from a handwritten homework assignment to an application or contract.

Once you have captured the first page of a document, Scan lets you adjust and crop the borders – then add more pages as needed or rearrange pages you have already scanned. The app then exports a PDF file, which is easy to share via Google Drive, Dropbox or email.

Especially in today’s remote work and virtual learning world, converting paper forms to PDFs can help ease the transition back to in-person education seamlessly.

Adobe Acrobat supports that transition by building on Scan’s functionality – making it easy to convert any paper form into a fillable PDF file, which can even be pre-filled with the most likely responses to common questions. The resulting PDF can be stored in the cloud, which means it is impossible to lose or misplace, even if the recipient loses the link. What’s more, PDF forms can be electronically signed in seconds – reducing processing time to just hours or even minutes per form.

  1. Stay digital: Replace pen-to-paper signatures with e-signatures

Every pen-to-paper signature on a physical form adds processing time and increases the chances of having to return or reject a form due to a missing signature. Even a signed piece of paper can be risky, since it can be difficult to verify whether the person in question actually signed it. Even after you have collected and verified a signature, a single lost sheet may require you to restart the process from scratch.

Adobe Acrobat Sign simplifies the process of electronically signing documents from any device, by automatically scrolling to each location where a signer needs to add their signature, the current date, or other information, and highlighting the relevant field. Once a field has been filled in, the Sign app instantly hops to the next location where input is needed and can even pre-fill repetitive fields with information from previous ones.

Most conveniently of all, Sign can be used at any time, from any compatible device – and can even save a legally binding signature collection for any user who creates an account. From consent slips and liability waivers, digital signature apps are helping parents, faculty and students handle forms more quickly and effortlessly.

  1. Be digital: Fully automate workflows and data management through cloud storage apps, which provides security for sensitive student records

Traditional paper files have to be stored in bulky file cabinets that take up a ridiculous amount of space and are often challenging to organize and search – making it difficult to find the right documents when you need them. In light of these frustrations, it’s no wonder that so many institutions are investing in digital student information systems.

Adobe Creative Cloud supports seamless collaboration within your school’s digital workspaces, removing the need for paper filing systems. For example, from the moment an e-signed PDF arrives in your inbox, Creative Cloud can store it in a location of your choosing, organised for easy searching with just a few keystrokes. It also enables your team members to collaborate and annotate documents in real time – whether they are working on your institution’s premises, or from a verified device at a remote location.

Within this cloud storage system, Adobe protects every document with best-in-class security and even provides identity management services to assign authorisation levels to specific employees and devices. This means every member of your school’s admin staff will have instant access to the documents they need to do their jobs, while unauthorised parties never get a glimpse of anything you don’t want them to see.

Just by adopting these few steps to go digital, schools can make life easier for students, parents, teachers and admins. When these digital tools are used well, it provides the resiliency and flexibility needed in today’s increasingly unpredictable education world – helping both staff and students reduce their workloads, make learning more fun, and provide a better learning experience for students.

-- BERNAMA

Simon Dale is Managing Director, Southeast Asia & Korea, at Adobe.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)