Posted in Education Automation

How to Get Started With Digital Transformation in Education

Technology has played a critical role in education. Teachers can supplement instructional materials with videos and students can connect online for remote learning.

However, many institutions are still bogged down by manual processes. Examples include student enrollments, purchase acquisitions, absence requests, and more. 

Handling these processes manually wastes an enormous amount of time. Adopting digital transformation initiatives can improve operational efficiency and enhance the learning experience for students.

In this article, we’ll look at what a digital transformation in education means and how you can start to automate your educational institution’s processes.

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What Does Digital Transformation in Education Mean?

Digital transformation is the use of new technology to adapt to changing markets. It allows companies to streamline operational processes and deliver more value to their customers.

Digital transformation for the education system means meeting the growing demands of students and transforming core administrative processes.

Students today are more connected to the Internet than ever before. An estimated 58% of 8th grade students say they use the Internet to help with their homework almost every day.

Examples of digital transformation in education include:

  • Allowing students to register from their mobile devices
  • Automating vacation or sick day requests for faculty
  • Reducing paper usage through the use of digital forms
  • Digitizing the flow of forms as they move through departments

The use of digital technology in education allows institutions to streamline internal processes and reduce tedious tasks like manual data entry.

Let’s look at a real-life case study. 

Escondido Union School District, like most school districts, spent a lot of time processing paperwork and obtaining signatures. Using frevvo allowed them to automate several workflows, including absence records, budget transfers, and more.

The use of digital tools to streamline processes have eliminated the need for Escondido Union School District to print and send documents out for signatures, saving time and hassle. 

Digital transformation in education also improves the student experience. 

For example, you can automate processes in financial aid, admissions, and registrations for incoming students.

Instead of getting bogged down by manual paperwork, students can log into a customized portal and move through any administrative processes even faster.

How to Apply Digital Transformation Initiatives to Education

Whether you’re an educator or administrator at an educational school, here are ways that you can apply digital transformation initiatives to your processes.

#1. Go Paperless

Schools in the educational sector go through a lot of paper. 

Examples include transportation requests, absence records, purchase requisitions, etc. 

The amount of paper that gets printed and used in schools can quickly become a huge expense for school districts. 

A school with 10,000 students can spend $200,000 a year on paper. That doesn’t even consider other costs like printing supplies or the time that educators spend on printing and retrieving documents.

One digital transformation initiative that you can apply to your educational establishment is to go paperless. With frevvo’s forms workflow software, you can build online forms that match existing paper forms.

Here’s an example of an online form in frevvo for new hire onboarding:

Online school form for internal onboarding

You can even take the online forms you built and set up workflows that automatically route each form to where it needs to go. There’s no need to print them out or spend money on postage fees. 

Another benefit is that new hires don’t have to waste time figuring out who to send forms to. 

This is just one example of a process you can digitize. Going paperless won’t happen overnight, but it can lead to improved processes when implemented correctly.

#2. Automate Processes

Inefficient processes cost businesses in the long run — they take more time to process and are more prone to mistakes. The same is equally true for inefficient processes in the education industry.

We found that 71% of schools do not use electronic signatures for permission slips and other documents. Parents have to print out documents, sign them on paper, and mail them to the school. 

Collecting parental signatures is a prime example of a process that can be automated. 

With frevvo’s school workflow software, you can automate these day-to-day tasks and save everyone time.

With the form builder, you can add form fields to collect electronic signatures. Then you can set up workflows to have parents receive, sign, and submit the form digitally from any device.

Electronic signatures

Automating online forms isn’t just convenient for parents. It’s also beneficial from an administrative standpoint, as it eliminates the need to print out forms and waste time chasing signatures. 

#3. Use the Cloud

The cloud plays a key role in achieving digital transformation in education. It promotes collaboration and enables schools to manage internal processes.

Accessibility is another area where the cloud has a positive impact. Up to 46% of employees say they find it challenging to find the documents they need. They have to physically walk to filing cabinets and rummage through it to locate the paperwork

#4. Embrace Mobile

More people are connecting online via mobile devices than ever before. An estimated 96% of Americans aged 18 to 29 own a smartphone.

Mobile is another key digital transformation initiative that you must adopt in this digital age. 

Students increasingly rely on mobile devices to perform a variety of tasks. They will likely feel frustrated if they can’t access the information they need in a flexible format.

With our mobile form builder, you can create responsive, mobile-friendly forms and workflows that work on any device — no coding necessary.

Students can complete registration forms from the convenience of their homes or on the go from their smartphones while running errands. 

All online forms are mobile-friendly out of the box, so you don’t need to do anything else.

How to Digitize and Automate a School Process

Every organization can benefit with workflow automation. It can be a little overwhelming in the beginning, so follow these steps to get started.

#1. Choose a Template

Administrators and employees can use frevvo’s software to automate any school process. 

Build a form from scratch or use one of our education-specific templates.

We’ll use health consent forms as an example. These forms are necessary as they collect information about the parent and, most importantly, provide authorization in the event that their child needs medical attention.

Here’s an example of a health consent form in frevvo’s form builder: 

Health consent form

#2. Customize the Form

The health consent form you see above is fully customizable. To make any changes, drag elements from the palette into the form.

You can also change the settings of individual fields to make them required. 

For example, you’ll want to make the signature field required to ensure that you have parental consent to administer health services to their child.

#3. Create a Workflow

The next step is to create a workflow that automatically sends a completed form to the right individual or department. 

With the visual workflow editor, you can have forms routed based on certain criteria that you set. 

Health consent form workflow

You can also configure individual settings and even set conditional rules for each step.

#4. Configure Where Data Gets Sent

In frevvo, you can have form submission data sent to your SQL data or business application. 

Here’s an example of how you can route forms in frevvo to the cloud:

How to send online forms to the cloud

When documents are stored in the cloud, administrators can easily locate the files they need. A teacher can also access the database to pull up any relevant forms in the classroom.

#5. Test and Deploy the Workflow

Be sure to test your forms and workflow to ensure that everything is working. You can see how your workflow will work on mobile devices before deploying.

Mobile-friendly online forms

Mobile-friendly forms are especially important as more administrators, teachers, and students access the web using their mobile devices.

By following the steps above, you can digitize forms and automate everyday workflows. Let’s look at what you can automate.

Educational Forms and Processes to Automate

There are likely dozens (if not more) processes that your educational establishment depends on to get work done. 

Here’s a look at just a few processes that you can get started with in frevvo.

New Faculty Onboarding

The onboarding process is key to making a lasting impression with new hires. Having an automated process means that office staff can complete the necessary paperwork and start contributing on their first day.

You can also create onboarding workflows for teachers that streamline the necessary paperwork and provide the resources they need to succeed in their teaching careers.

Parental Consent

Parents typically need to sign parental consent forms for their child. These forms may be used for sports activities, field trips, information release, and more.

Here’s an example of a field trip permission form: 

Field trip permission form

We’ve put together a list of consent form templates that you can use. Parents can then sign them electronically and even have a PDF copy emailed to them.

Student Registration

Educational institutions typically handle a large influx of student registrations in the fall — a process that requires a ton of paperwork. 

Managing registrations can be difficult without a system in place.

Automating this process in frevvo saves administrators, parents, and students time. Students can also check the automated system to register for classes or find other options.

Faculty Travel Request

Faculty may need to travel for different reasons. 

Examples can include field trips with students or even traveling to other institutions for important talks.

With frevvo’s school workflow software, you can digitize faculty travel request forms and create a workflow that automatically routes them to the correct department. 

Emergency Contact

Having parents fill out emergency contact forms for their child is vital for continued health and safety. 

These forms include details, such as emergency contacts, release authorization for specific individuals, and other medical information.

Use frevvo’s free emergency contact form templates to get started. There is even a multi-language option.

Time Off Requests

When teachers need to take time off, they need to submit requests in advance so that a substitute teacher is ready. 

Having an automated workflow for time-off requests streamlines this process and makes it easier to find a replacement. 

Here’s an example of a time off request form in frevvo:

Time off request form

Faculty can then fill out and electronically sign the form.

Maintenance and IT Requests

Broken or damaged equipment in the classroom can have a negative impact on student outcomes. 

Teachers must be able to submit the necessary forms to address those issues.

Filling out these forms online means that teachers can quickly submit them. You can build workflows that route those forms to the maintenance or IT department. 

Transportation Requests 

Whether for field trips or sporting events, you need to arrange transportation to get students and faculty to their destinations. 

Digitizing transportation requests means you can arrange buses or vans well in advance instead of getting bogged down by paperwork. 

Conclusion

Digital transformation in education allows schools to meet the needs of their students through the use of technology. 

A good place to start is digitizing online forms and automating common workflows. Taking these steps can improve overall efficiency and enhance the learning experience.

frevvo’s school workflow software makes it easy for you to turn paper forms and processes into automated workflows — no coding experience necessary. 

Get started today with a free 30-day trial.

Author:

Ashish Deshpande has worked in the process automation space for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in successfully deploying frevvo’s software at hundreds of organizations such as HBO, New York University, and Boston Public Schools. Ashish has contributed to leading publications such as Forbes, business.com and readwrite.com. Ashish received a PhD in Computer Science from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India.