When many people think of the growth of new technologies like mobile form software and their potential to improve the field of education, they often focus primarily on the student side. Their thoughts turn to how kids and their families can use forms on iPads and other devices to share information with teachers, school administrators and government offices so as to better make it through from enrollment to graduation.
All of the above is certainly true. Students have a lot to gain from using better mobile technologies to improve the free flow of data. But it's also a very narrow view, as there are plenty of other ways that mobile forms can help.
Take teachers, for instance. Like any other employees anywhere, educators need to manage a lot of data about themselves and their job status. Mobile forms can help them take better care of their information.
Conversely, if they struggle with these challenges, the effects can be disastrous. Consider the case of the Cleburne County Board of Education in Alabama, which is currently dealing with a worrisome lawsuit because of errors made with teacher paperwork, according to The Anniston Star.
When forms go wrong
The newspaper reported that Hollie White, a teacher at Pleasant Grove Elementary School, is suing the school district because the system has been garnishing her wages for four years of salary overpayments. The whole mishap occurred because of an error in paperwork - she was mistakenly placed at a higher salary level at the beginning of the school year back in 2006, and the error was never properly corrected.
Authorities for the school district have insisted that they have complete control over all relevant data, but there's reason for doubt.
"Everything is verified," superintendent Claire Dryden told The Anniston Star, clarifying that teachers fill out forms on a regular basis to keep the district apprised of their status.
But it's difficult to deny that teachers and school board officials would have a better handle on their data if they were able to use mobile technologies for managing it effectively. Mobile forms are ideal in the fast-paced world of education because they enable teachers and their employers to input information, process it quickly and do more things with it. We may soon see old-fashioned paperwork become a thing of the past - not just for students, but for the educators who teach them.