Parashift Announcement – Mobile App

With the world turned upside down, social distancing, face masks and hand sanitiser, the team at Parashift used much of this time making SchoolBench even better for our customers. The world will get past this, and Parashift is here and is ready for when you are! 

While our employees worked from home, we greenlit several projects to increase customer value. One of these projects is nearing its end, and it is with much pride that I can announce the SchoolBench Mobile App. 

SchoolBench Mobile App 

As your most requested feature for SchoolBench, the mobile app will enable schools to capture photos on–the–go and have them securely stored in your SchoolBench.  

The SchoolBench mobile app will be available for both iOS and Android devices. The app is currently in beta with a handful of customer schools undertaking usage testing. A few issues have been raised and resolved. Thankfully, we are now very close to moving from beta to a general release.  

I take this opportunity to congratulate the Parashift team and our customer in helping us reach this milestone. It represents Parashift’s first foray into mobile applications.  

With the advent of the release, it means the mobile app is in no way a fait-accompli, as additional functionality has already been earmarked to for subsequent versions. That’s the great thing with software: it always gets better. 

So keep an eye out as we will be making the SchoolBench mobile app available in the next few weeks.  

Next month, I will be having much to say about SchoolBench’s new parent portal with webshop capability.

Enforcing Siena College’s strict digital media policy through SchoolBench

The Dominican Sisters who founded the college built a school where young women could follow their academic and cultural interests. The Sisters believed in the girls’ potential to become passionate life-long learners, and this tradition continues today at Siena College. 

Situated in Camberwell, in Victoria, Siena College was established in 1940 as an independent Catholic school for girls in Years 7 to 12. Although relatively small in comparison to other secondary schools, the College runs the full breadth of curricular and co-curricular programs, including sports, music, drama, overseas immersions, camps, retreats, language, global responsibility and digital technology classes as well as numerous student-led social justice initiatives. 

The College is a place where diversity and the unique gifts of each student are acknowledged and celebrated, and where young women are empowered to go out and make a difference in the world. 

A multitude of photos capture students partaking in various activities – the challenge is to identify publication consent for all the students appearing in all the many images. 

Siena College has a strict photo and digital media publication policy that is in line with the Australian National Privacy Policy. Prior to adopting SchoolBench, it was difficult to identify students in big groups. If the marketing staff didn’t know them personally, the task was challenging and time consuming.

Basketball at Siena College Camberwell

Why Siena College chose SchoolBench

Facial Recognition 

The ability to verify faces in group photos and have this type of AI (artificial intelligence) recognition technology applied was a major drawcard for Siena College in choosing SchoolBench. 

Consent Driven 

With the assistance of SchoolBench’s facial recognition and the permission levels each photo provides, sync’d directly from the school information system (SIS), the College can confidently comply with Australia’s strict privacy and publication laws pertaining to children. 

Streamlined Workflow 

Using SchoolBench has helped the College to streamline photo processing,
workflow and storage, as well as the method by which photos are selected for the year book. This approach saves hours of work in the preparation of the year book. 

“SchoolBench provides Siena College with the ability to quickly and securely locate all consent driven images”.
Amy Stubbs, Graphic Designer and Marketing Assistant 

Continuous Improvement

“As a real world photo management solution, the team at SchoolBench is responsive to our ongoing needs from initial product launch to ongoing support.” 

“Siena College especially loves SchoolBench’s willingness to evolve and progress the solution as our needs change: listening to user suggestions for new features and ongoing improvements for the overall program.” 

Siena College expects for SchoolBench to stay at the forefront of new developments in technology and incorporate these into the solution.

Grandparents – a school’s real customer

As stated in various media outlets, a survey conducted by REST several years ago indicated a growing trend for Australian retirees using their superannuation to fund their grandchildren’s private school education.

The report cited that 29% are considering or are paying the tuition fees at many of Australia’s private schools. A private poll I undertook with friends surprised me greatly, as the result was much higher. Out of the ten families asked, seven admitted to receiving financial support from their parents towards their child’s private education.

So while your school provides education services for children and regular performance reports to parents, this growing trend of grandparents funding education means that your real customer (who pays the bill) is the grandparent.

While Australia’s response to COVID-19 has been breathtaking as it has been unprecedented, one of the results has been the social distancing of grandchildren from their grandparents.

Technologies like FaceTime and Skype can help with video communication bringing much joy. Regrettably, the attention span of Australia’s youth can mean a short 5 to 10 minute online chat now replaces family events.

SchoolBench’s Parent Portal helps to bridge the gap between grandparents and grandchildren. SchoolBench provides schools with the ability to share a constant feed of images of the children enjoying the facilities of your school. These pictures can be simple happy snaps taken of everyday moments. As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words.

SchoolBench’s Parent Portal is designed to integrate with your infrastructure, so images can be served in same place that parents already frequent. Perusing photos is easy, with a simple and intuitive panel, organised by child and by year. Schools can also make images available for download if desired.

To see a practical demonstration of SchoolBench in action, contact Parashift by telephone on 1300 769 809 or by email to

Survey of 4,565 QSuper members carried out by Colmar Brunton on behalf of QSuper, June 2017

Security in an uncertain world

How the world has changed in just 30 days. Who would have thought that a virus could unite the globe?

More crucially, how far technology has carried the human race and how we are embracing technology more than ever to get us through these uncertain times: to communicate, to work, to diagnose, to deliver.

No doubt every business and company is quickly re-thinking how they can do business in these times and how long the impact of government and health organisation’s decisions will need to be in place.

Parashift, as the creators of SchoolBench, security is and will continue to be the driving focus for solution development.

The case for SchoolBench

If you have experienced SchoolBench up close and personal, then you know the very nature and purpose houses sensitive information: photos of children.

You don’t need to be reminded that Australia’s laws, scrutiny and social expectations around protecting everything relating to children is strict and thorough. As the parent company behind SchoolBench, Parashift was certain to cautiously and seriously consider how to minimise the risks to customers: schools and students. At the end of the day, students are children and our most precious generational asset.

SchoolBench does not attest to the veracity, or lack thereof, as to how other providers secure their solution. The approach and rationale behind why the architecture of SchoolBench was and remains like it is, speaks to a number of factors and open concerns customers have when we initially engage with them.

Continuity of Service

Schools and software companies work in different time horizons. This means that even though Parashift, the creators of SchoolBench, was established in 2013, many schools have existed for much longer periods, for over 20, 50 or over 100 years or more. Schools will continue to exist even longer.

This time horizon means decisions made by schools must factor in a continuity of service for years and decades to come. Typically, this means for far longer periods of existence than software companies.

Should a cloud provider cease trading or not pay their cloud provider’s invoice, this could easily mean their platform ceases to exist for you. This equates to a significant risk for your digital media library. Your library could simply no longer be available because your cloud provider is no longer available.

By the school having SchoolBench reside on site or in your private cloud, the school is in full control. No third-party provider can remove the history your photo management solution houses. Your legacy is safe.

Answering the tough question

In the unlikely event SchoolBench is no longer supported by Parashift, the system and your photos will live on. They do not disappear into thin air. The only change would be SchoolBench is read-only. This means you can still search and download your media and migrate it to a new provider.

Security through Decentralisation

Commonly we read about a company having their online security breached or more commonly hacked. Client information is often published on the web, deleted, corrupted or held for ransom. This recently happened to Google Photos and security systems like Clearview, which is used by law enforcement departments around the world.

SchoolBench’s approach was to decentralised the data, meaning that if Parashift were to be hacked, there is no risk to student data nor images. In short, we don’t keep any information, you do. Clear and simple.

Additionally, should one of our many schools be hacked, your school data is secure. There is no physical or virtual connection to other schools through SchoolBench. The two schools in this example are not storing their information in the same place or system.

This decentralised approach is a principle of insurance by not having all your eggs in the one basket.

Access to your information

Parashift does not capture nor does it store biometric, student or other sensitive information that your school produces in SchoolBench. Even if we received an offer for a large sum of money to sell your data, we couldn’t. We don’t have any of your personal data to sell. Can other providers say this?
In the event Parashift were to be hacked, there is minimal risk to a school, if any.

The reason is simple. We do not have access to your system and we don’t hold any of your sensitive information. Access is controlled by the school and the only information we keep is either for billing purposes or the diagnositics to SchoolBench’s performance, that way we can make it even better for the future.

Retention and brand

In this month’s issue:
> Retention and brand: finding your school’s narrative
> Feature highlights: My Favourites and Upload
> NSW Roadshow in March – book now
> Your feedback

Retention and brand: your school’s narrative

At some stage, every school will face the task of creating and revising its student retention plans. As parents with children of various ages, the team at SchoolBench undertook roundtable discussions regarding the key factors they considered when choosing their children’s schools.


  • How was the school presented? Examples: were the facilities modern; open spaces for sports and playing?
  • Are the classrooms clean, bright and airy?
  • Is there a historical connection with the school?
  • What is the school’s teaching philosophy?
  • Does it promise a quality education?
  • What was the NAPLAN result?
  • Does it engender sound values with a sense of community?
  • Ultimately, could we see a positive experience for our children?

The list was extensive and no doubt a process most parents go through. As school fees may not be a true indicator of value due to the personal nature and differing capability of families, we elected not to include price in the discussion.

We discovered that a school with clear and consistent messaging, that resonated with our core values, won our attention.

Why is CONSISTENT MESSAGING around your BRAND important and can SCHOOLBENCH help?

A school is a brand. The more consistent the messaging, the more consistent the branding, whether via words, design, offerings or imagery. Your school, your brand, should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with your customers: the parent community.

A visual identity, created from your archival photos, your current sports carnival media, your STEM awards, senior school wins, comes into play – as does consistent messaging around a school’s brand values, for example, sporting or academic leadership. Tapping into the soft and hard values that resonate with a school’s target market doesn’t have to cost a fortune because the tools are already there for you to use. You just need to know how to tie it all together.

In the background there will always be a group of dedicated administrators and educators working to ‘sell the story’ that will become the school’s story. By utilising invaluable stories and experiences from existing and past students, the community and partners, this allows for a rich narrative to be constructed and forms the nucleus of that strategy.

Images, video and audio are powerful tools that support a robust brand. An example of this is Seymour College, a valued customer of SchoolBench, who often uses powerful imagery that supports their values of sports, arts, science and academic achievements.

The images stored in SchoolBench have a limitless life span. This means that today’s photos become lifelong historical photos. Imagine the historical comparison and use for your school’s brand strategy not just today but also in the future. SchoolBench makes the ease of accessing the current as well as historical media assets a task that takes mere seconds.

All SchoolBench customer schools know that one of the key benefits of storing a school’s digital media in SchoolBench is that the school owns the media and it resides at the school. This information lives for as long as the school lives and beyond. No dusty shoe boxes housing rusting DCM cards or faded coloured prints with brownish spots eating through faces and places.

You can use your own history to create a new one. That’s the simplicity of SchoolBench.

Learn more about SchoolBench.

Feature highlights

This month’s highly anticipated features are My Favourites and Upload on the SchoolBench desktop.

The My Favourites feature provides users their own space in SchoolBench to easily store, find and use images all in a single view.

Users can easily filter and see which media is most important to them, used on a regular basis or waitlisted in preparation for an upcoming project or event. This is a real time saver!

To favourite an image:

  • highlight the image to select, then right mouse click
  • choose Add to My Favourites

The Upload button is designed to make uploading from a network drive or an external camera into SchoolBench even easier. Previously this was only achievable through a drag and drop function.

The Upload button, located on the top right hand side of the menu bar, simplified the task by removing the need for:

  • Reducing your desktop windows to drag and drop into SchoolBench
  • Using 2 screens to drag and drop assets and photos

Check your SchoolBench online documentation for full descriptions and speak with your administrator to ensure you have the latest version of SchoolBench.

We are focussing on continuous improvement for SchoolBench functionality and in the latest version, you will notice minor enhancements to improve the overall functionality.

This makes your life easier and directly aligns to our cultural value of responsiveness to our customers’ wishes. It is also intuitive in ease of use. Our job is always to make your job easier!

If you want to know more, simply email us at or call your friendly SchoolBench team on 1300 769 809 or click here.

March NSW Roadshow

The SchoolBench roadshow is coming to NSW in March.

With dates yet to be finalised, all NSW schools are invited to attend the second national SchoolBench roadshow for the term. Oh, the Roadshow comes to you!

An individual and in-person discussion with Managing Director, Kieren Fitzpatrick and our Artificial Intelligence specialist and Technical Lead, Desline Simonwill focus on the following:

– Live demonstration of SchoolBench in action

– High level view of upcoming SchoolBench features for 2020

Machine Learning – the future of SchoolBench

< Secure your visit – Express your interest Now >

Please note this is a limited roadshow in Term 1 and excludes already booked demonstrations and client meetings.

Your feedback

We love hearing your stories about your digital media management experiences within your school community.

If you have a success story you would like to share with the SchoolBench community,
drop us a line. Have an idea for an UpVote Feature in SchoolBench? Chomping at the bit to submit a case study?

By sharing you could win a Gold Class movie voucher for two, redeemable in your state.

Contact our Marketing Team to discuss.

Parashift announces new head of artificial intelligence

Parashift today announced the appointment of Ms Desline Simon, a research specialist in machine learning, as the company’s technical lead across its suite of media and information management products.

Ms Simon hails from the Burgundy region of France and is based at Parashift’s head office in Adelaide.

A core objective of Ms Simon’s is to build a world-class machine learning team in Adelaide. Additionally, Ms Simon plans on undertaking research with like-minded institutions such as the recently established Australian Institute for Machine Learning, University of Adelaide.

Ms Simon will focus Parashift’s efforts in building research partners to collaborate with and to develop high-tech products and solutions for the Australian and international markets.

Parashift already heavily utilises machine learning within its SchoolBench® solution, accurately identifying students using a highly customised algorithm. SchoolBench® uses facial recognition and privacy consent settings to ensure student photos, videos and other media are managed accordingly to comply with Australia’s strict privacy legislation and media consent provided by parents to a school.

With recent public concerns made by the Australian Human Rights Commission suggesting video facial recognition breaches certain human rights, Ms Simon was quick to point out that the outcomes of the research will have many applications.

“Machine learning aims to improve people’s lives not hinder them. There are many amazing outcomes already achieved such as medical diagnosis and prognosis through wearable watches.” Ms Simon said.

Ms Simon will also work with Parashift’s second product, RecordBench® a new initiative to improve information retention and accuracy while freeing employees from many menial tasks in capturing corporate memory.

Ms Simon has extensive experience in this field and holds a number of academic and research qualifications including a Master of Research in Natural Language Processing, a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Language Processing and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computational Linguistics.

Before joining Parashift, Ms Simon worked for Twitter at the ADAPT Centre in Dublin on a research project focusing on automatic translation and detection of sarcasm in user-generated content, for Machine Translation. As humans speak a language, the artificial intelligence focus examined how computers understand language with all its nuances.

Having been at the helm of a successful e-commerce company for over 10 years, working with worldwide organisations to understand customer expectations with a focus on implementing transparency in first touch-point satisfaction, Ms Simon brings with her business experience in intuitive and natural language processing and its application to technology.

In her spare time, Ms Simon has a penchant for blues music and practices ballet daily, having started ballet classes and performance at the age of 5.

“Ballet gives me focus, movement, structure and pushes me beyond my physical limitations. I believe that if you train your body, anything is possible if you keep it up and in turn, the mind stays flexible also.” Ms Simon said.

Ms Simon is fluent in a number of languages including Spanish, German, French and can translate Latin. Having visited Australia for the first time in mid 2019, Ms Simon has fallen in love with the relaxed and the multi-cultural lifestyle that Australia offers. Ms Simon said the nature of work and Australians resonates well with her professional and personal journey. “Vive l’Australie” she says with a smile and glint in her eye.

Ms Simon began her tenure at Parashift in January.