Need for school to go Digital

With brands like Microsoft, Google and Apple working their way into school systems across the world. Apple most recently extended their ‘Everyone can code’ course, which has been integrated into some schools and educational institutions across the UK and Europe. They are also aiming to bring out a new cheaper version of their iPad, which is targeted at schools and for use within them. Microsoft have multiple programs aimed at students and teachers to bring technology into the classroom and Google have awarded grants to Raspberry Pi. They also support a wide variety of coding programs, all of which offer free teacher training on their products. It’s no surprise that people are wondering the same as us.

should schools go digital?

Digital natives

Of course, today’s children are more familiar with new technologies, computers and social media. They are commonly referred to as ‘digital natives’. However this doesn’t mean they possess the skills that required to make it in a digital based jobs market. In fact, Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has said that the schools are need to prepare young people for a digital revolution and a fast-changing jobs market, going on to say that the young people would need to be able to ‘write apps’ as well as use them.

This isn’t purely raising future workers, who are able to build the apps and programming code, instead it is about creating a familiarity with digital working. From job search through application to everyday workplace, digital has become integral to almost every step of recruitment and work journey. Even signing up for benefit support when you are unable to find work requires basic computer literacy and an email address (an issue all in itself and a conversation for another day).

As time goes on it’s becoming clear that the digital is set to be intertwined with modern working, hence why we offer digital transformation as a service to our clients, and the burning questions is how can we make classrooms themselves more digital? Is the potential to take the fundamentals of the digital transformation and apply them to the schools in order to have students working paperless for the majority, if not all, lessons and subjects?

Digital sector growth

In a recent Tech City report (2017), it was reported that; “today more than 2.0 million people are already working within the digital sector, or in digital tech roles across another sectors, while the number of digital technology jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors.

This factors highlighting the scale of the digital opportunity from a career perspective. But, there are more positives to equipping our younger generations with the digital knowledge they need.

Of course, as a company who work entire digitally, we may be a little biased on the benefits of working this way! However, in contexts where digital is a possibility, that we have identified for schools undergoing digital transformation. 

Three Reasons Students Want Your School to Go Digital

For high school and college administrators, transcripts are a measurement of output; a sort of receipt of learning services rendered. Students aren’t so transactional. For them, transcripts are the first professional documents they’ll need for a lifetime in and around the workforce.

Here are three ways students are using transcripts today, and why easy access to them matters more than ever:

  1.               Employers are taking a greater interest in college performance. A 2013 survey of more than 200 institutions from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that two-thirds of companies screened candidates by their grade point average (GPA)1. Yet they don’t stop there. Facebook is among the top-tier employers who look at the level of coursework students have completed in both high school and college before even considering them for a position2. Having access to an accurate transcript can be the key to getting hired. Kansas State University can attest to the need. The university switched to eTranscripts three years ago in order to better serve current students, yet it’s “former students who take the most advantage of the [system],” said Barbara Nagel, KSU Assistant Registrar for Office Operations.
  2.               Higher education has changed. While some are heeding investor Peter Thiel’s advice to skip college and start a company, others are staying in school longer and switching institutions to find the best fit. Overall, the rate of individuals enrolled in undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs jumped 52 percent between 1990 and 2014, the National Center for Education Statistics reports.3 Fast-shifting and interrupted collegiate experiences aren’t easily tracked, which explains why students want online access to academic records at all times.
  3.               Students are already going digital. Young people aren’t waiting around for institutions to meet their demands. Instead, they’re hacking solutions — just what you’d expect from a generation that’s grown up with technology that’s built for on-demand service. (Think of Netflix and Google, for starters.) According to a recent Parchment survey, 55 percent of students say they scan paper transcripts in order to create shareable copies. Some went so far as saying they want to share their records on social media.

Serving Beyond the Classroom

All three points should serve notice to credentialing universities, yet a majority aren’t getting the message. The same Parchment survey in which students said they were already scanning transcripts to share online found that only 43 percent of awarding institutions will issue these documents digitally within the next five years, and that’s despite a majority of students — 58 percent, to be specific — saying that they want to access and share transcripts digitally.

University administrators need to be mindful of this gap. Registrars need digital tools if they’re to serve a generation of students who, thanks to technology, have never had more options when it comes to higher learning.