Part 1: Is Your School Board Ready for Digital Transformation?
Alberta’s school boards are undergoing an unprecedented transformation, paving the way by bringing student education into the digital era.Driven by the Provincial Approach to Student Information (PASI) initiative, Alberta’s school boards have collectively agreed to develop paperless processes and digitize student records by September, 2020. But with the paper records of tens of thousands of students in storage, and an influx of over 70,000 new students entering Alberta’s education system each year, educators are challenged to develop an effective strategy that can withstand budget, time and compliance constraints.
Asking the Right Questions
Each of Alberta’s school boards is at a different stage in the Digital Transformation process. While some are still using traditional paper-based processes, others have begun to digitize. Regardless of where you are on your journey, it’s important to look at the larger picture and ask the right questions.
Are we prepared for Digital Transformation? If not, how can we get there?
Before diving into digitization, a good place to start is to assess your school board’s readiness to undergo Digital Transformation so that you can identify areas that may need attention.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- Do our senior leaders recognize digitization as essential for success?
- What is the culture around change in our school board? Are our employees on board?
- Can our current technology sustain these upcoming changes?
- Do we have supporting policies and procedures, resources and skill sets to enable Digital Transformation?
- How willing is our school board to innovate and conceptualize new business processes?
In our Digital Maturity Self-Assessment, you and your colleagues can explore these questions further and begin to consider ways you can prepare for the PASI initiative.
How will we convert our documents into a digital format? Is outsourcing the best option?
Choosing an approach to scanning your paper records is dependent on a number of factors. Perhaps you work at a smaller school board that started scanning student records several years ago and has the internal administrative capabilities to keep most of the work in-house. On the other hand, you may have a larger volume of records to capture that are physically dispersed at several schools, and given the September 2020 deadline, you know your internal administrative team would be hard pressed to complete the work in-house.
To help with the decision, consider the following:
- What is the volume of records you need scanned?
- Are the file collections located in several locations and will need to be transported?
- Does your school board own the hardware/software needed to scan in-house?
- What is your budget and timeline?
Depending on your answers to these questions, you may decide to keep the work in-house or to outsource it. You may also use a hybrid approach so that your team is involved in the work but is enabled by a third-party that brings added expertise and capabilities to the mix.
In Part 2 of our series on Digital Transformation in Education, we will review strategies for completing the first step in Digital Transformation: the capture and digitization of backfile record collections.