Digitalization of schools is the need of today’s world and not an accessory. Being able to access information anywhere is not only beneficial for the students but also for teachers. SaaS simplifies school management, promotes flexible payments, and facilitates the effective and quick sharing of files and all the intricate communication processes between students and teachers, and other educators.
Uses of SaaS in Education
SaaS has many uses in the educational sector and this software as a service has been adopted by many educational institutions over the past couple of years. Let’s have a look at the prominent applications of SaaS in education.
1. Easy File Sharing
One of the greatest uses of SaaS in education is easy file-sharing. Be it Google Docs, Google Drive, or Gmail, SaaS has helped educators in sharing the files and data with others in less time and more efficient manner.
One of these technologies includes Google Classroom, which has been used by plenty of students during the pandemic, and now more schools are promoting the usage of this app. Google classroom also played its part in the digitalization of the educational sector and is now being used by educators around the globe. Its main functions are listed below.
- Helps students access information and catch up with the previous lectures easily
- Allows teachers to upload the recordings of lectures or even conduct a live one
- Provides a joint and professional information-sharing platform for teachers and students – especially in remote areas
2. Simplified Administrative Work – with Scalability
SaaS solutions simplify the administrative work in educational setups. This cloud-based service provides high scalability to its users – with easy access to all the complex features. In colleges and universities, IT workload is at its peak during certain times of the year, such as admission deadlines, class resignations, fee submission at the end of a semester, or the posting of final grades. It becomes almost impossible for the management to keep track of everyone and institutions often need more infrastructure these days, as compared to the regular days.
i. SaaS reduces this burden by making scaling easier. Universities opt for a SaaS provider, who has pooled resources for storage capacity and server – always ready for the time of crisis. This also significantly eliminates the risk of downtime, and as an institution’s needs change or grow with time, the SaaS solution is also ready to handle the workload.
ii. With a ready-to-function infrastructure, one won’t have to change software systems but will need to change the subscription level. Many universities also have incorporated AI chat sections on their official websites for easy communication between the students and the staff.
3. Work Flexibility
Educators working from home always suffer at the hands of a non-supportive environment and for that purpose, they are always changing positions accordingly. The cloud applications of SaaS help them switch their places or machines and choose a work/study environment that best aligns with their hardware.
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4. Online Proctoring
With the rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, many companies developed advanced technologies that assess the assignments and exams of students and allow educators to make a result, based upon those evaluations of the gathered data. The new era of EdTech does not only benefit the students but also reduces the burden on teachers.
5. Enhanced Digital Capabilities
SaaS enhances the digital capacity of the stakeholders. Learning SaaS through its applications will help the students and teachers reap the benefits of different up-to-date features that will improve their technological literacy. They can integrate SaaS solutions in other apps and design capturing presentations through Microsoft Excel, or any other platform, with embedded interactive elements, which wouldn’t be possible in an offline setting.
- In 2018, the government of New Zealand renewed its agreement with Microsoft – to provide state schools with free access to its standard suite of tools.
- In 2020, the UK government set aside a budget of £5 billion to introduce high-speed broadband in remote areas.
- In 2020, the Canadian government provided the Universal Broadband Fund with additional funding – a project aiming to introduce all Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2030.
6. Reduced IT Complexity
It’s time to simplify the technology, and SaaS does that perfectly. Organizations are opting for SaaS solutions, leaving behind the traditional IT structures. For universities struggling with homegrown systems, SaaS helps them untangle a complicated IT infrastructure by enabling more seamless integrations and reducing size.
Now, educational institutions don’t have to worry about how or who will handle the software. The SaaS provider efficiently handles the access to the application, including availability, security, and performance. All the applications and users share a centrally maintained codebase and a common infrastructure. A shared model saves money and effort.
7. Data Security
Educational institutions need reliable and self-sustained software, to secure their large-sized data. Although universities have been slow with the adaptation of this cloud-based service, SaaS will soon be normalized in educational setups, because of its technology stack in hosting facilities, which is physically and digitally more secure than the average server room. It secures the data from external hackers or internal information threats.
However, this also doesn’t mean blindly trusting the SaaS vendors, because they will hold confidential data of your institution. Therefore, before signing a contract, it’s recommended to review the data security of the SaaS vendor, to keep your organization’s IT system safe and secure.
8. Better Customer Service
As compared to the traditional model, SaaS subscriptions better align the interests of vendors and schools. As the relationship between the two parties is ongoing and greatly reliant on the subscription renewals, the SaaS provider has no choice but to provide the best product and the best customer service, including a quick response to customer feedback and offering relevant improvements over time.
9. Flexible Payments
If there’s one thing that a school’s administration is overloaded with, it’s clearing payments, whether it’s in the form of scholarships or salaries. Instead of purchasing a traditional software that breaks the bank and an additional one to support it, most schools are now opting to subscribe to the SaaS offering. This cloud-based service offers different pricing schedules, and some of its services are free, actively promoting an automated billing system.
10. Faculty Training
Normally, teachers are only judged based on their qualifications and experience, and most of them can’t convey their lectures to pupils effectively.
Incorporating SaaS in educational institutions will also help train faculty members – by tracking their performance and guiding them through SaaS applications. Most EdTech startups produce two types of feedback to teachers, at the concept level and child’s level, and assess the teacher’s skills against benchmarks.
SaaS in Education – A Beginning of a New Era
Like any new technology, SaaS products require time to learn and to use the software efficiently and safely. Once the educators get comfortable with it, knowing its pros and cons, they can reap the benefits from this cloud-based service. Incorporating SaaS solutions in the educational sector will be the beginning of a new learning era. With fewer technological barriers, SaaS will help manage all school-related activities, such as transport, fees, attendance, admission, and security.