Those who have worked in schools for any amount time are familiar with long lines at copy machines and the frustrations when those machines jam. Student desks have long been overcrowded by papers, and many a locker has been jammed by last week’s homework. Fortunately for both educators and for partners who sell to the education vertical, the trend in recent years has been a switch to a paperless classroom.
Schools across the country are ditching traditional paper and pen assignments in favor of apps and other software. And as educators see the benefits to students, the demand will continue to grow, opening new opportunities for channel partners.
Xerox has worked with thousands of education customers in order to gain insight about ways to streamline labor and paper-intensive practices. Channel partners looking to break into the education market recognize that when schools can streamline paper-based administrative tasks, meet government mandates and better manage student data and performance, teachers spend less time on administrative tasks. That means more time spent with students, ultimately improving academic outcomes. This creates a win-win situation for both the schools and your portfolios.
One tool to reduce the paper piles is Xerox Connect App for Blackboard. The Blackboard app gives educational organizations the ability to integrate their MFPs with the Blackboard learning management system cloud service. With this app, teachers and faculty members can scan hard copy course materials directly into a course folder within Blackboard Learn. Instead of printing individual handouts and weekly lesson plans, teachers can quickly and efficiently scan, store and share documents online — no need for multiple copies to be printed and lost in a pile under last week’s gym clothes.
How schools across the country are ditching paper with the help of the Xerox Connect App for Blackboard.
Another time-intensive task for teachers is grading student work. Many teachers are ditching their red grading pens and are instead turning toward electronic means of grading. Xerox’s Remark Test Grading Service allows teachers to print bubble tests for their class right from their MFP. With this app, teachers can offload test grading to their workplace assistant. They then have instant access to print or e-mail student grades and produce multiple reports to analyze and summarize class performance.
This analysis is also done direct from the MFP simply by logging in to a Gravic Remark account. Teachers can print answer sheets for distribution to students or scan completed answer sheets and an answer key to the service for auto-grading. Grades can then be printed or e-mailed to students and report summaries can be generated. This faster grading means faster feedback for students.
This collection of data is important to teachers, since there has been an increasing trend in education. More educators are tracking student data in order to optimize and personalize student learning. This data helps parents know how their students and their school are performing and helps keep the community informed about how their school is performing compared to other nearby districts. It also helps teachers track what students have learned and what areas need to be retaught.
Another time-consuming problem for teachers is tracking and dealing with plagiarism. Xerox’s Proofreader Service checks for writing elements in the English language, such as spelling, grammar, style and plagiarism right from their ConnectKey Technology-enabled MRP.
Secondary teachers can often have 100 or more research papers or essays to read at a time. According to the Enterprise Application Market Higher Education report, 25 percent of essays submitted by students are still printed and submitted on paper.* With the Xerox Proofreader Services, teachers can focus on content while the app checks spelling, grammar and sourcing. Hardcopy documents can be scanned directed to the service through the MFP for instant results or be uploaded to the online portal from any device. Suggested corrections and source citing can be printed instantly or retrieved from the online service.
A PBS LearningMedia Study of pre-K to 12 teachers shows that teachers have long been embracing technology in the classroom. The majority of teachers surveyed say they use apps and software to reinforce and expand content; motivate student learning; respond to a variety of learning styles; and “do more than ever before.”
While schools are eager to embrace these new technologies, it is important to do your own homework before selling into the education space. Procurement procedures and schedules and the RFP biding process may differ from the private sector. And unlike the private sector, schools may have multiple decision-makers when it comes to making technology decisions. Besides IT staff, teachers, administrators, school board members, parents and students all may have a say in influencing purchasing decisions. Know the chain of command, and who has the most influence in the final decision. And know which Xerox tools will be most valuable to break into this potentially valuable vertical.
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*Learning Management Systems: A 2015 Enterprise Application Market Higher Education Report, 2016, ECAR