"It’s like a small lamp, shining a moving light that scans across the artwork laid flat on the table below. When I first saw it in a box, I thought how is that going to work? But once it was working, I realised it was a simple idea that worked really well!"
Kevin Reeson IT technician, Skegness Academy
A perennial problem in school art departments is how to document manage pupils' artwork in all its forms - oil, poster, pastel, charcoal, acrylic and water colour to name a few. Originals can take up considerable storage space, get damaged when constantly being put up for display and often prove difficult to transport safely. The Academy installed the high-speed overhead scanner Fujitsu SV600 that creates high-definition scans of students' artwork up to A3 size to replace inadequate digital photos.
The Skegness Academy opened on 1 September 2010, replacing the predecessor St Clements College. It provides 11-19 education for up to 1190 pupils, including 340 post-16. The Academy occupies a large site with extensive sports facilities and green space. A £19m capital building programme has just been completed, providing new and refurbished buildings to give pupils and staff a high quality learning environment. This includes a brand new Year 7 base to support pupils on the transition from primary to secondary school with a specialist team of staff leading on this area of the Academy.
Skegness Academy, like many schools, had used digital photography for many years.
"We always used point and click cameras to photograph artwork," says the school's IT technician, Kevin Reeson. "But the pictures always seemed to come out wonky. Or students had to wait till their paintings were dry before taking them down to reprographics for photocopying, which again was not perfect."
There were long delays waiting for downloads, less student engagement and results that were not faithful to the original and thus not ideal for digital portfolios.
Last summer the school decided to try a new type of scanner from Fujitsu. Not the traditional flatbed design but a free-standing overhead model.
"It's like a small lamp, shining a moving light that scans across the artwork laid flat on the table below," says Kevin. "When I first saw it in a box, I thought how is that going to work? But once it was working, I realised it was a simple idea that worked really well!"
The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 had an almost instant effect on classes. According to head of art Vikki Thompson, it could not only produce scans up to A3 size at very fast speeds, dispensing with long waits for downloads, but was able to create such high quality images that it showed "painted images as they appear with all their lumps and bumps!"
Students had immediate access to scanning facilities, so they became engaged more consistently and they could get good quality digital images that were really worth their place in their portfolios. Prints of the scanned images were good enough to replace artwork in displays and thus preserve the originals.
Now during a big project, students can scan the different stages at the end of each lesson. The scanner has been set up in Vikki's office and is linked directly to a laptop carrying the scanning software. Students simply have to log on, press the button and their artwork is scanned in a few seconds – a real time-saver in a class of 30.
The user is then asked where the new file should be sent and in what format (e.g. jpeg, pdf). The high resolution files are generally sent by staff to a common shared area on the school network where students can access them for use in or outside school hours and take their artwork home on a memory stick.
The ScanSnap can save even more time by being able to scan multiple items at the same time and then log them as separate images – provided they are small enough to fit within scanning range. "You can, for instance, put text on one and save it as a document while saving the other two as pictures," says Kevin Reeson. "You can also edit what you have captured in the scan."
Kevin, who also services the IT needs of several local primary schools, believes there would be real interest among primaries, having seen how much schools encourage painting and messy play on paper.
"A lot of people have this habit of taking photos," he says. "But if you could actually see how quick it is to scan a picture and then send the file to wherever you want, primaries would probably use it too."
The ScanSnap SV600 is the first Fujitsu ScanSnap capable of contact-less scanning. Users simply place items on a desk to capture them. The scanner can digitise a great variety of objects: bound or stapled documents up to A3 size, such as notebooks, newspapers, catalogues, business cards or fragile originals.
The document scanner offers the simple, intuitive, one-button operation that is the hallmark of the ScanSnap series to a new level. The new solution represents instant scanning in the truest sense of the word. All a user has to do is place one or more documents on the mat, press a button and the digital document is ready for use on a PC, in a cloud service, or via a smartphone or tablet, in just seconds.
"The ScanSnap SV600 is in a class of its own and delivers a totally new perspective on scanning", Klaus Schulz, Manager Product Marketing EMEA at PFU (EMEA) Ltd. Building on our proven scanning and image processing heritage via our ScanSnap concept, the SV600 brings a unique take on capture to market and is designed to make scanning fast, easy and intuitive."
Whether it be preserving a young child's first painting or valuable A-level coursework, quality scanners like the ScanSnap SV600 could well set the pattern for document management in art rooms for years to come.
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