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Originally Published on k-12 Tech Decisions October 9, 2015
The old days of content management in education — paper files, and pencil- and ink-grade books — are clearly becoming obsolete. From elementary school classrooms all the way to higher education, administrators and educators are turning to enterprise content management software to make classroom paperwork more efficient, more secure and more collaborative. Read on to learn about three distinct advantages for adopting an enterprise content management system (ECM) in your school, and save the pencils for art class.
Adopting an enterprise content management system allows easier access to shared files for teachers on the same team. Instead of needing to physically meet after school to look at student work, new training materials or curriculum, teachers can use an enterprise content management program to upload and download files and view them from any computer with appropriate access and permissions. New teachers can receive feedback on their lessons plans, co-teachers can plan lessons to ensure students of all abilities are being given accommodations, and teachers who cover different subjects can better work together to build connections across subject areas in their individual unit plans.
It's important to keep student information secure at every grade level, but the stakes certainly get higher when it comes to grades for high school and college students. Keeping information secure in a trusted software program as opposed to a single paper grade book will ensure that students' academic and personal information remains secure. In addition, some software systems allow you to upload student work to create a digital portfolio of sorts, which can be helpful when conducting holistic assessments of student growth for letters of recommendation, college applications, or even grade disputes. Collect and maintain your student records without turning your desk into a pile of papers, and keep all of that information safe and far from any potential foul play.
Many offices have begun the push to "go paperless" because it saves money and environmental resources. In a school setting, teachers and students rely on paper for worksheets, assignments, report cards — the list goes on and on. Enterprise content management can help you think critically about what must be printed and what can stay digital. Depending on the population you teach, you might even consider going paperless for report cards and using a software system to easily email grades and student progress reports directly to students and their families. Less paper means less waste, of both resources and precious dollars in your school's budget.
Enterprise content management systems can help your school or district become more efficient and effective by borrowing tried-and-trusted approaches from the business world. While there will never be a substitute for the look of a freshly marked "A-Plus" paper posted on your wall, there are plenty of documents that can painlessly make the switch to digital while saving time, money and resources. If your team adopts such a program, remember to leave ample time for training and practice; a new system is only useful if everyone feels confident and empowered to dive in and make the switch to a paperless (or at least "paper light") educational community.