The new educational environment
Every aspect of our lives is being transformed by technology, and education is no exception. Trends like mobility, accessibility, digitization, collaboration and personalization are changing the dynamics of the schools our children attend and the way they are taught.
Gone are the days of the chalk stained blackboard. Paper-based education is becoming digital, with devices such as e-Docs, tablets and smartphones, e-Blackboards and email replacing traditional learning tools. One day, there could even be virtual classrooms, with students logging in from home to download the lesson of the day.
Keeping pace with the change: challenges
Naturally, educational institutions are keen to keep pace with new technology, making learning more relevant and applicable to the workplace that students will eventually inhabit, but there are parameters in which innovation must take place. Key concerns include:
- Sharing: material sharing is crucial between teachers and students. It’s critical that information is shared securely and flexibly, but schools may work through public clouds to manage cost.
- Cost-sensitivity: this need to manage cost also extends to the need to control the way students use technology. For example, colour printing needs to be kept to a minimum, being a much more expensive alternative to black and white.
- Ease of use: it’s most critical to remove any barriers to education, so new technology must be intuitive and easy to use. It should be straightforward for students to scan to the cloud, for example, so that assignments can be submitted effortlessly, with no danger of missing the deadline.
Keeping pace with the change: solutions
There are a number of ways that educational institutions can keep pace with change, instigating a state of the art learning environment through effective printing and document management technologies.
Within this environment, solutions include document workflow for lecturing, whereby lecturers can upload an assignment to the cloud, students can submit drafts and gather feedback, and finally upload work for presentation or grading.
In the administrative function, document workflow can be an effective tool in managing applications and interviews, with automatic notification following review, and a central database to store and manage all relevant information.
This central database can be extremely efficient when hosted in the cloud. Hosted storage means that users can upload and print from the cloud – making information sharing easier, and accelerating workflows. To ensure security, pull printing can be implemented so that documents are only released with the right credentials, which can paper wastes and therefore reduce cost as well.
Automatic document management through the cloud is the linchpin that holds everything together. The user experience is truly enhanced through powerful but intuitive features that boost productivity through swifter workflows. For instance, for large campus based institutions, enabling students to easily send their printing jobs to any campus based printer through their mobile phone allows students to save more time and giving students more sense of mobility in their school life.
There’s a lot to keep up with in today’s new world of technology, and in education, it’s no different. However, with proven technologies available, institutions can address challenges around cost, sharing and ease of use with confidence and look forward to more efficient, effective learning. How far has your institution moved towards the future?