Technology has evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years and no one can deny the incredible potential it has to impact education. With the promise of advances like e-learning and classes taught using virtual reality headsets, the possibilities seem endless.
Technology, it seemed, could make learning easier and address different learning methods, for instance by making learning more visual or collaborative.
Not only that, technology could significantly streamline the way teachers and education administrators communicate with parents about everything from reminding them of homework or tests to getting field trip permission slips signed.
We had a suspicion that the technology used by many schools is outdated, so we decided to find out how parents feel about the state of technology used in their children’s schools.
So we surveyed parents to find out how satisfied they are with the way their children’s schools use technology for communication.
Higher education has made great strides in embracing digital transformation, yet, much time is still wasted due to administrative inefficiencies. Workflow automation offers the opportunity to eliminate inefficiencies and save time and money by automating tedious manual administrative processes.
What is Workflow Automation in Higher Education?
Simply put, workflow automation is the process of automating the sequence or chain of events that need to take place in order for a process to be completed. For instance, automating the admissions workflow might streamline the process by electronically routing documents to the right people at the right time without manual email or phone calls. Additionally, the process of notifying students of changes to their application status – as well as other communications – might be automated.
Workflow automation in higher education not only reduces time-consuming busywork, freeing staff up for more important tasks – it also reduces the margin of human error, which has real world consequences for both students and administrators. Critical decisions like admissions and financial aid often hinge on these central processes.
Staff may struggle to juggle admin with the rest of their workload, resulting in students becoming frustrated by long waiting periods for simple requests that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to process and provide feedback.
Moreover, when academic staff are preoccupied with administrative tasks, their research and teaching suffers. As such, workflow automation that reduces the administrative burden academics face can be an effective way to attract top talent.
Students today are more technologically savvy than ever before and school systems should be the same. Some schools still mainly keep records as paper documents in filing cabinets. Others have moved onto the stage of digitizing where physical forms are uploaded to computers and sent back and forth through emails.
The most advanced schools have started having simple tasks become fully automated. Fully automating tedious tasks is the stage you want your school to be in. This article illustrates the benefits of workflow automation for schools, which processes can be easily automated, and offers a step-by-step guide on how schools can use one platform, frevvo, to get started.
Many schools today use frevvo to decrease the costs and time spent by faculty and administrators on paperwork. By using online forms and automated workflows, we can reduce the heavy workload carried by an ever-growing amount of administrators.
Increased, and often excessive, spending on school administrators has earned the nickname “administrative bloat.” All levels of education suffer from “administrative bloat,” but perhaps none more than degree-granting postsecondary institutions. For the 2016-17 school year, these institutions spend a total of $584 billion. The more money universities spend, the more tuition prices for students rise.
But schools at the K12 level aren’t immune to education’s administration challenge. The amount of administrative bloat varies significantly depending on what part of the country you are in. Thirteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, spend over a thousand dollars per each student just on administrative costs. On the other side of the spectrum, Arizona only spends around $450 per student and Utah’s administrative costs are $463 per student. As a percentage of total spending, New Mexico spends the largest portion on administrative costs while New York and Massachusetts spend the smallest fraction.
Schools must be very careful when they plan activities for students. Whether it’s a study tour, sports activity or even simply using the student’s personal information for a media event, it is of utmost importance that the school first gets the necessary consent forms signed from the parents to avoid any confusion later.
In previous posts, we’ve described how some of our K-12 school customers are using frevvo to automate routine processes and improve efficiency and services to students and staff. EUSD (Escondido Union School District) has been so successful at this – they’ve automated 8 approval workflows including Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement, and Budget Transfers in the first three months – that they were even able to decommission SharePoint/InfoPath thanks to frevvo.
The fact is, schools are drowning in paper. Student work, parent & staff communications, travel reimbursements and many other processes are paper-based and require, emailing, printing and scanning.
Yet, for many schools, going paperless means 1:1 education, e-textbooks and expensive $500 gadgets for each student. It’s a fantastic goal undoubtedly but there’s also plenty of much lower-hanging fruit that’s ripe for automation and saving paper, time and money.
Check out this new infographic on the value/benefits of automating day-to-day K-12 workflows.
Every parent is familiar with consent forms for athletics, directory listing, emergency contact etc. (Miami-Dade County, Los Angeles USD). Typically, these require a parent/guardian to sign the form and they’re sent home on paper or printed out at home.
Internal approval workflows like travel reimbursement, field trip approval etc. (e.g. see New Haven USD, Cabrillo USD) are also commonplace. Typically, these are routed to a supervisor for approval i.e. to sign the form. The paper-based process is simply inefficient.
It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays, result in unhappy students and staff and wasted time and money.
frevvo already has pre-built forms and workflows that can be customized in next to no time and deployed online. They can all be signed online, routed to the proper person electronically, used on mobile devices, delivered in multiple languages, generate PDFs, work with Google Apps for Education and a whole host of advanced capabilities. With affordable, cloud-based products for K-12 workflow automation, there’s no need to deal with printing PDFs for signatures, correcting Excel-based time sheets, or tracking down approvals in email.
Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.
How much paper does my school use? What does it cost? It’s not easy to answer that question but we’ll try.
According to the NYC Government, the paper discarded during the school year in one NYC school added up to 28 pounds for each student, teacher, and staff member. A standard sheet of laser-printer paper of the usual thickness, either US “letter” size or international “A4” size, weighs 4.5 grams. That means 100 sheets weighs almost exactly one pound. Put the above two together and you get about 2,800 sheets of paper per person every year.
For a district with 10,000 students, teachers & staff, that’s 28,000,000 sheets of paper. At Staples, a pallet (200,000 sheets) costs $1,400. So, our 10,000 student school district spends at least $200,000 every year on paper. And, that’s not even taking into account printers, toner & other supplies which could easily double or triple the cost.
Imagine if that was all electronic. If a sheet of paper holds about 2K of information, all 2,800 sheets would fit into about 5.5MB. For our 10,000 student school district, all the information would fit on this $24.95 flash drive and you’d have some room to spare. And, you don’t even have to spend 25 bucks – you can put it all in Google Drive with unlimited free storage for education.
And, it’s not just money you’ll save. You’ll help the environment too by saving 2,500 trees and 55,000 gallons of oil.
Of course, you can’t just stick millions of sheets of paper on a flash drive. The reality is far more complex but you can start chipping away today. It’s easy to reduce paper use with technology like frevvo forms/workflows & Google Apps/Drive. There’s simply no excuse for not getting started.
Interested in learning more? Contact frevvo today.