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Meet the teaching assistant that works for free

Kyocera ensures its printers don’t just print – they save teachers time, integrate with SIMS and cut down on printing

Teacher in classroom

Schools, colleges and universities are all familiar with falling budgets, rising workloads and problems caused when colleagues have to take time off work. And we're also familiar with vague promises about how technology can improve productivity, when sometimes they just cause more aggravation and paperwork. So we'd understand your cynicism if we described an assistant that would always be on call, that could automate marking and even help administrators deal with the paperwork associated with new students.

Well, put aside your cynicism for a second. That assistant is already here, and helping hundreds of schools and colleges around the UK. And while it may look like an ordinary printer, the real brains of the operation lie in the way our technology helps you - every single day.

Create and automatically mark tests

Everyone hates marking, so what if there was an easy way to create tests, mark them and analyse the results? All without getting IT involved or using third-party software. That's the problem Kyocera aimed to solve with its Teaching Assistant software.

The idea is simple. Instructors create multiple choice "bubble sheets" directly on the printer, only needing to select the number of questions, number of choices and number of students. So you might have prepared 20 questions with four different answers: you could put those questions and answers on a whiteboard and let the students complete the test by shading in the answer buttons.

The instructor then scans the documents back into the printer, whey they're instantly analysed and marked. Automatic character recognition can detect students' names, or you can personalise the bubble sheets before they're printed. You can keep things simple and reprint each student's answer sheet, but this tool is more sophisticated than you might expect: you can send the results to an email address, save them to a USB flash drive or use an Excel template that allows the data to be imported for comprehensive reporting.

Naturally, data confidentiality is kept to the forefront, with all test-related date automatically cleared from the printer once the app is closed.

Cut down on SIMS paperwork

While SIMS (school information management system) is an excellent tool, and one embraced by more than 22,000 schools in the UK alone, it comes with an administrative burden for each and every new student. That's why Kyocera developed its Autostore connector to provide simple, fast and secure storage of documents and information.

To picture how it works, imagine that moment when a bumper pile of new student records lands on a school administrator's desk. Rather than going through each record manually, staff can scan them directly from their Kyocera multifunction device into the easy-to-use database. What's more, as soon as a document is scanned it can be securely saved so it's always easy to retrieve.

The benefits are obvious, as you can streamline processes that would otherwise take days into minutes. No manual processing, no manual administration, and far fewer mistakes.

Simplify copyright procedures

Copying a textbook or journal is a convenient way for teachers and lecturers to distribute information to a class, but it brings problems. Someone holds the copyright for that book, so every educational establishment must make sure those who hold the rights get paid. That's precisely what the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) is set up to do, but it isn't simple.

Many universities now only allow copies to be made within the confines of the lending library, under the supervision of a librarian, to ensure compliance with the processor. That's usually a paper form that needs to be filled out each time content is copied, all attached to a hard copy of the copyrighted content. Across a large institution, that could mean hundreds of forms each day. And all those forms must be analysed by the CLA.

It's even worse in schools, where the administrative burden shifts to busy teachers. One of the top three complaints of teachers in the state sector is the mountain of paperwork and administration they have to climb en route to the classroom every day. The lawful copying of material becomes yet another burden.

To help educational establishments, and to streamline their own process, the CLA reached out to industry for a solution. "Our ultimate aim is to make copyright as simple as we possibly can for content users. So we went out to the industry and tried to find a partner with the experience to help," said Kevin Gohil, chief operating officer at the CLA.

The result is a unique collaboration with Kyocera. Its CopyScanPublications app harnesses AI means that, with one touch, a teacher can copy (or scan) while the app captures all of the necessary information in the background and communicates it instantly to the CLA's systems. Almost undetectable in use, it creates both massive time efficiencies and more accurate data.

"The accuracy and granularity that this tool brings will help us to be fairer, and that's really important to us," said Kevin. "It's really a win-win-win scenario - which is rare in this industry!"

Take back control of your printing

Kyocera has partnered with PaperCut to embed its management software into its MFPs. This industry-leading software allows organisations to manage their printing, copying, scanning and faxing - it helped Headington School to cut its output from five million prints to four million in the space of a year, which paid for the printer installation.

One big reason for the saving is that students and teachers no longer sent a document to print and then forgot about it. Instead, they would press print in their local application, and the document was added to the global print queue. At this point, they could walk up to any of the school's installed printers, tap in with their ID card, and the printer would quickly output the job.

For an extra layer of security, PaperCut's secure print release guarantees the document won't start printing until the user is there to collect. And if your Kyocera printers includes the BioStore biometric system, you don't even need a smart card (although a card reader is still present): all the user needs do is scan their finger and they can print out their job, with total security.

This means that you, as the administrator, take back control of your printing. No more unapproved usage, no more wasteful colour prints when mono will work just as well, plus a complete oversight of print jobs so you can track trends and make sure the printers are placed in the right place.

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