Education at all levels is experiencing a profound shift towards digitization, with PDF emerging as the most used format. The State of Florida, for example, has mandated all primary and secondary education materials be provided in electronic format by 2015-2016.
Whether playing catch-up to new regulations or recognizing the benefit of adopting a fully digitized system, educational institutions from kindergarten to universities have a strong need to both convert existing print materials to digital form and create new digital materials.
Save by staying ahead of national shifts in digitization
The US Government has proclaimed that all students should soon be learning from digital textbooks, and are offering incentives and investment to encourage the shift. As well as Florida, 22 states have officially endorsed moving to digital materials.
Cost-savings involved with digital materials are substantial. A savings analysis in Utah showed that one $80 textbook for a sample size of 5000 students expected to last six years would cost the school district $400,000. In comparison, six years of paying four teachers to work 60 hours (at $30 an hour) over the summer to update the digital materials would be a $152,000 investment – an overall savings of $248,000.
Protect copyrighted or confidential documents
Digitizing copyrighted content requires a system in place to protect theft. For valuable digital textbooks, the ability to create or integrate complete Rights Management (RM) systems can be required.
Student confidentiality is also extremely important, and required by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) up until age 18. Documents may need to be protected via passwords, or only made accessible to certain registered users.
Building applications with Foxit PDF SDK allows security features to be seamlessly integrated. Monitoring and restricting access to confidential information, redacting sensitive content before sharing, and secure digital signing can all be added without needing to be an expert in PDF specifications.
Create and edit digital materials
Instructional materials aren’t the only things moving to digital formats; report cards, assessments, progress reports, schedules and transcripts can also be digitized. By using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool, which comes packaged in many PDF SDKs, scanned documents can be automatically converted to text PDFs that can be electronically filed and searched.
While PDFs are used across the board for viewing and sharing, many organizations lack the facilities for more sophisticated functions. 74% of knowledge workers in organizations of over 100 people lacked access to even a basic PDF editor, and a majority resorted to printing out documents then scanning them for signatures.
When creating instructional materials, educational institutions often need more than just basic PDF editing capabilities. Generating, merging, and splitting documents, adding text, images and annotations, adding and verifying digital signatures are all necessary operations.
Managing, streamlining, API interaction
The overall savings involved with moving to digital documents is so great that it’s worth investing properly in a robust and flexible system for creating and managing them. Administration processes are also becoming digitized, and streamlining actions such as filling in forms and signing documents save hours of personnel time.
Basic PDF editors can provide functions such as digital signatures, but large educational institutions often require more power and control. For solutions that can execute sophisticated functions such as auto-filling forms and populating databases from data extracted in bulk from PDF, using a PDF SDK is necessary.
Extracted data may need to interact with other programs such as emails, accounting and records keeping via APIs. Major institutions often prefer to design and develop their own PDF end-user applications in house to best serve their particular requirements.
Meet accessibility requirements
As well as challenges, the move to digital PDF content opens up new opportunities for accessibility. Foxit Quick PDF Library contains tools to create documents in the PDF/UA format, the international standard format for accessible PDF documents.
Using PDF applications to add ‘marked content’ to documents makes them not only display on tablets and e-readers but also screen readers, helping educational institutions meet their requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Foxit PDF SDK arms developers with the tools to develop PDF applications that let educational institutions take full advantage of digitized content and better meet legal requirements around accessibility. Chosen by Google to be the underpinning technology for their open-source PDF engine for its versatility and power, it has been used by major players such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and the Apollo Group to develop their in-house PDF applications.
- Simplified paper processes
Student intake, document signing, and data entry can all be simplified using PDF applications, saving hours of staff time.
- Tools for copyright protection and confidentiality
Protect copyrighted documents with tools to encrypt PDFs, make them password protected, restrict user access, and implement Information Rights Management Systems (IRM)
- Marked Content for improved accessibility
Tools and libraries in place to easily add marked content and structure to PDF files, making digital textbooks display correctly on tablets and e-readers and improving accessibility for screen readers.
- All-in-one PDF editing tools
Foxit PDF SDK can tackle any high-level operations such as generating, editing, merging, splitting, adding content, removing content, copying, pasting, allowing for streamlined generation of documents and instructional materials.
- Discounted and free software for educational use
Foxit offer free access to their software for students, and discounts for Education Institutes wishing to use their world class PDF solutions.
- Developer support at every step
More than just a software development kit, Foxit offers comprehensive developer support at every step. Demos and sample code are provided to help developers our staff are on hand to help integration with existing programs and workflows.