Many teachers and school administrators are actively looking for creative ways to cut costs and fight inflation. Supplies like paper, pens and envelopes take a big budgetary bite – prompting educators to brainstorm affordable alternatives to traditional “wet” paperwork.
One key innovation is the increasing adoption of e-signatures and electronic documents. This ramped up at institutions during 2020’s switch to remote education. Today, even as students have returned to campuses, many digital adaptations continue to provide economic value for schools. This has resulted in a decline in their reliance on costly paper and ink and an increase in schools streamlining processes like enrolment.
Let us dive right in and discover how your school can start saving money today by bringing paperless documents into individual classrooms. It all starts by using a free application to take advantage of a tool we all use every day: our smartphone camera.
An inventory of classroom supplies reveals potential for paperless savings
Teachers often begin each school year by conducting an inventory of the supplies their classroom will need, from paper and pencils to books. Many of these supplies are becoming more expensive every year; and quite a few teachers end up having to pay for paper and pens out of their own pockets. This state of affairs obviously isn’t ideal for anybody — and paperless technology is helping many educators find more cost-effective alternatives in fighting inflation.
A quick inventory of supplies used in a classroom can help pinpoint many opportunities to reduce costs with paperless adaptations. For example, free applications like Adobe Scan turn any iOS or Android device into a mobile high-resolution scanner, enabling teachers to share worksheets and homework assignments as PDF files.
Digital documents dramatically reduce the costs of sharing forms and worksheets
A complete classroom budget has to account not only for paper and pens, but also for the costs of printer cartridges, laminating plastic, and other expenses that surround printing a single piece of paper. Although many educators may not think of these as traditional “classroom expenses”, they certainly end up as line items on somebody’s spreadsheet — consuming money that could be saved.
It is clear that digital workflows can serve as major game-changers in the battle against inflation-related expenses. No wonder 33 percent of K-12 educators are now converting paper assignments and forms to digital ones — and those numbers are even greater at the higher-education level.
Digital signatures eliminate expenses around signed forms
Forms that require signatures create even more costs and headaches for teachers. For example, students (and parents!) frequently misplace forms that need to be signed. These forms often come back late or without a necessary signature.
Once a teacher converts a form into a PDF file using the Scan application, Adobe Acrobat Sign plugs in seamlessly, integrating verified e-signing functionality right into the file. Teachers can send out signature requests from within the PDF itself. When a recipient opens the file, Acrobat Sign guides them through the signing process step by step, automatically scrolling to each signature location, and helping them apply their unique e-signature with a single click.
This streamlined electronic signing flow reduces processing times for consent slips and liability waivers from weeks to mere minutes. Digitally signed forms are all but impossible to lose — and they are stored securely in the cloud, always accessible to authorised viewers.
Changes like these are fast and easy to implement in your fight against inflation — and they are strong first steps on your school’s digital transformation journey. Just a simple switch from a paper-and-ink homework assignment to a digital one, using a PDF and e-signature, enables your school to start going digital. As upgrades like these become established practices, they will help your school stay digital, by making it easier to digitise entire document workflows. And as you begin to automate those workflows, your school can truly be digital — saving money every step of the way.
To find out more about the classroom-level changes that will help your teachers reduce expenses, contact Dax Data.