One of the main questions that I get asked by other EdTechs, SBMs and members of school leadership is, can I cut down on the amount of paperwork being done in a school and streamline what my staff are doing? The simple answer is, yes!
Over the past 3 years of running a full school cloud based migration to a custom Microsoft365 platform, I have worked closely with all school leadership and staff to answer those questions. Starting with migrating our governor portal over to Microsoft Teams / SharePoint, we have cut down the amount of paper that is now required to be printed and moved around ahead of a meeting and also built in an extra dynamic which allows them to move to a fully remote virtual governor meeting within a matter of minutes.
Our admin department was the next team to go fully cloud based and this is when the system became a lot bigger and more in-depth with migrating many core operations over to the cloud. Introduction of a new automated internal order system took away the tones of paper moving around a school and replaced it with a seamless system which moves, tracks, approves and audits every order with little user interaction. From this we expanded into leave requests, overtime, self certification and many more. The cloud is possible of totally redesigning what you initial thought was possible and replacing it with a cleaner and more streamlined way of working.
Below are some of the simple ways that you can streamline your internal office functions with Microsoft365, without all of the technical knowledge.
1. Microsoft ToDo
Microsoft ToDo is one of the most powerful organisation apps out there on the market for free! This simple app requires you to sign in with your school email address which then links it directly into your email feed. This means that should you receive a million emails in a day, most of which are possible spam. Those key important emails that you need to come back to can be flagged and automatically logged into your ToDo list. No more excuses for missing those emails about meetings!
Whilst you can use the ToDo app for simply making your daily/weekly ToDo lists, you can also make lists to share with your team/dept. Within my school i know that are KS1/EYFS team all have a shared ToDo list which they can all import tasks, share ideas, allocate work and also keep track on important matters/events. Having a simply, single place where you can keep track of everything that going on streamlines those huge diaries and unneeded paper.
2. Microsoft Forms
One of my favourite pieces of Microsoft software is Forms. A simple, easy to use piece of software that allows you data collection forms, quizzes and much more for your school community to use. Forms is very much engrained within the cloud based platform that I have built being used for;
- Staff Order Form
- Site Office – Log testing and checks
- Site Office – Log Issue
- Parent Questionnaire
- Wrap around care booking form
- Leave of Absence
- Overtime Form
- Self Certification
- Website Contact Form
- Feature request
- New starter information collection
- and much, much more.
Forms have become a part of everyday life for members of staff, students and parents at my schools. And as we empower staff to come up with more ideas, we keep making Forms to support them. With very little technical knowledge staff are able to create their own Forms to use a quizzes to test pupil learning and for data collection for school events and much more.
3. Document collaboration in Microsoft Teams
My final top tip way to streamline office functions with EdTech is document collaboration in Teams. When it comes to admin staff, report writing or producing letters to go out to parents, constantly sending documents back and forth around the team via email takes a long time and a lot of different versions are made. This is when Microsoft Teams slides into the room. With Teams you can upload documents either into a chat, Teams channel or file storage area and your whole admin teams can collaborate at the same time. An awesome example of this is our termly headteachers report, with every member of the admin team needing to input their own information and sections into the report from training, first aids, attendance and much more. Document collaboration in Teams means that they are all able to complete this at the same time and still have enough room for the headteacher to join in to input their information and proof read.
Now it’s not just word documents that this can be done on but also PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets. Gone are the days of saving a spreadsheet into a central area and both you and your finance manager opening up your own version to edit. With Teams, all it takes is to upload the document or access it for a central cloud storage point and then both edit at the same time. Speeding up completion time and also improving the productivity of staff at the same time. With multiple team members being able to look and edit the document at the same time it can all get a bit hectic. But with clear markers for where each person is working and a constant tracking feature to see all updates, it doesn’t take long for a document that used to take a week of being emailed around to be finished and ready for governors within a few hours.
So with all that in mind, what are your simple ways to streamline office functions with EdTech? Why not reach out to me and share your ideas on social media.
EdTech can have a huge impact on the everyday working life of everyone within your school and giving up sometime to train and empower your staff on how to use it can greatly increase productive, creativeness and a willing to push further to improve the educational and operational functions within your school.
If you require any help, support or guidance, please click on the following link to pop me a message.