Category: Blog

Parashift announces new head of artificial intelligence

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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.

Photo: Ms Desline Simon, artificial intelligence specialist and Parashift’s new Technical Lead

Media Enquiries
Kieren Fitzpatrick
Mobile 0412 020 211

A focus on marketing plans

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This month we focus on the marketing efforts in schools and how SchoolBench is adding value in this space.

Highlights are:

  • Begin with the end in mind – annual marketing plans
  • Feature update
  • Health Check – have you upgraded your version of SchoolBench
  • Milestone – breaking the 1 Million media ceiling

Begin with the end in mind

In 1989, Steven Covey coined the above phrase in his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of highly effective people”. This strategic focus remains a key part of any organisation’s planning for the year ahead – what do we want to achieve, how are we going to get there, what resources do we need to put in place now, so we succeed?

At this time of year, we see many school marketers preparing their annual marketing plans for enrolments, fundraising, community participation and engagement, yearbooks and a myriad of other projects.

So, you have your plans in place, your channels to market are set, your timing for release, your social and traditional media lined up, you’re in the process of copywriting the content and then comes the task of choosing photos and videos from your school’s events that you want to use and promote visually. What a task and as the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words.

Your photos are easily sorted into year or event and all students appearing can be clearly identified by their media consent status. In the words of the meerkat, simples.

If you’re already using SchoolBench then it’s an easy task, right?

Is it that simple? Or are you still searching G drives and N drives and other shared drives clueless on whether you can use that photo. Are you still spending countless precious hours trawling through your media library for a supporting image?

If you do the job right the first time, then when it comes to designing your communication projects, your visual media assets will be ready to find in SchoolBench and apply accordingly to your projects now and throughout the year.

SchoolBench was introduced at Pulteney Grammar in 2018. Ms Sam Cooper, Archivist at the school, said that, “Pleasingly, SchoolBench helps make Archives part of the school, as opposed to being a separate entity. Through its security and its central storage, SchoolBench has made self-service possible, which is a huge time saver for me as I could spend up to 70% of my time fulfilling requests.”

Fortune favours the prepared.

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

feature update – ADFS 2016

After many customer requests, we are pleased to announce that Parashift has completed testing on and can confirm that SchoolBench now supports ADFS 2016 for single sign-on.

What this means for you?

Now when using SchoolBench, you no longer need to remember your password when logging in. Once logged into the school network, you can access SchoolBench if your schools uses AFDS. This results in a much easier and smoother usage of SchoolBench.

Why did we build  this capability with SchoolBench, well we listened to our customers. This makes your life easier and directly aligns to our cultural values of ‘Responsiveness’ to our customers’ wishes and ‘Intuitive’ in ease of use.

this month’s features

This month we have new features neatly unwrapped from Santa under the Christmas tree that include:

  • Last year’s profile photos will now automatically be retained as historical reference points when replaced with this year’s profile pictures. This will occur once your SIS has been updated with the new student images.
  • We’ve compiled documentation for tested photo editing software with new features now available for watermarking
  • To improve security, the SchoolBench parent portal will now either inherit the security timeout imposed by your existing LMS, or if standalone, a time limit of 5 minutes with no user activity.

Check your SchoolBench online documentation for full descriptions.

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


This month we are asking you to check the health of your usage and understanding of SchoolBench to ensure it is adding value to your school, your media management policy, usage and future scoping your school’s historical repository requirements.

Questions to ask yourself and your team, am I:

  • Using the latest version of SchoolBench?
  • Aware of all the features?
  • Using all the features?
  • Getting the most out of SchoolBench, what more do I need to know?
  • Up to date with training?

To book a refresher, targeted training session or if you need a question or two answered, simply email us at or call the friendly SchoolBench team on 1300 769 809.

breaking the 1 million barrier

Just before Christmas, our system analytics reported the number of photos under management by SchoolBench had surpassed 1.2 million. This will continue to grow exponentially this year.

This growth is testament to the confidence in and use of SchoolBench as the premier school photo management solution. This is driven by the school retaining complete ownership of its images and information, management of privacy consent and automatic school-context tagging. These are the cornerstones of SchoolBench’s value. The features continue to grow as we continue to listen and understand the challenges faced by our clients’ and confidence in new markets.

We expect the number of photos managed by SchoolBench to continue to grow throughout the year, a figure we will share with you at this year’s EducatePlus and EduTech events.

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, contact us. 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.

This month’s lucky recipient is Annie Markey, Director of Communication at Newington College in Sydney, for her superb efforts in working with us to finalise the latest SchoolBench case study.


smart + simple + safe

2019 – The Year That Was

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Another year close to completion and we find ourselves moving into a new decade. The year 2020, to a boy who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, seems more attune to a Buck Rogers episode than today’s date, yet here we are.


Parashift enjoyed many achievements this year, one of which is the several new and highly talented people joining the team.

The technology industry is often thought of as male-dominated, however in mid-January, Parashift will be precisely 50% male and female in its workforce ratio. This is not the outcome of an imposed quota system but the result of hiring the best candidate available. All employees deserve the pride in knowing they are here on merit.

Our people

Firstly and all the way from France, I am thrilled to welcome Desline Simon to Parashift. Desline joins Parashift in the role of Technical Lead and is tasked to build a world class technical team for Parashift. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Research in National Language Processing and has worked on several cutting-edge projects in both academia and the commercial world. Desline brings a wealth of technical expertise to Parashift and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone of this calibre. With much enthusiasm we say “Bienvenue en Australie!”.

Catherine Rowland returned to work after taking some time from raising her two beautiful children Liam and Lexie. Catherine’s extensive knowledge in software testing provides Parashift with a mature approach to our production of quality software. With a keen eye for usability and defects, Catherine has an uncompromising commitment to getting the job done. Coupled with a dry wit, Catherine has become an integral member of the Parashift team.

Marketing for any company is a vital function and Parashift elected to bring this function in-house in 2019. We sought the services of a talented person with excellent creative and organisational skills.
Enter Aretta Holtman, experienced marketer in the technology and business to business space. Aretta holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and has worked for blue-chip companies such as Telstra. With no time to rest, Aretta successfully coordinated two trade shows, one of which was our first foray into Singapore, all in her first two months. Aretta’s personality can lighten the mood all the while keeping her job nailed down and her young family ticking along. As the saying goes, “I don’t know how she does it!”.


On the customer front, Parashift doubled its customer base welcoming schools of all types and sizes across Australia to the SchoolBench family. Since SchoolBench’s inception in 2017, our inaugural members of Seymour College and Pulteney Grammar remain active and continue providing valuable suggestions to the product roadmap.

This year we were joined by brands such as The King’s School, Shore, Kardinia International College, TSS and All Saints Anglican School to name a few. With the help of Annie Markey, Director of Communications at Newington College, a new SchoolBench case study was produced. We encourage you to read more.

RecordBench was soft-launched mid-year and we worked closely with Santa Sabina and St Columba in NSW to ensure it is fit for purpose. In Term 1 next year a release candidate will be made available to schools nationally who are serious about the long-term preservation of their corporate memory. A must have in today’s litigious world.

For 2020, the Parashift team will continue to address known and new challenges faced by schools through our products, SchoolBench and RecordBench. The feedback and suggestions we receive are invaluable. The now annual Customer Roadmap Survey ensures we continue to be on the right path.

And finally, I extend my gratitude to Parashift’s leadership team, Henri and Peter, as well as all staff, customers and stakeholders for their contribution for what was, simply put, an amazing year for Parashift.

It is my wish for you and your family to have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2020.



The debate on facial recognition – a safe and smart technology

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This month, we dive into the debate on facial recognition as a safe technology and how SchoolBench is adding value in this space.
Highlights this month are:

  • Facial recognition – a smart technology
  • Feature feedback from Trinity College
  • Reportage on EduTech Singapore
  • Our Kindle winner from St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School
  • Share your story

Facial recognition – a smart technology

Meaning: a noun; a machine or system capable of automated and seemingly intelligent operation.

One of the most frequent and common concerns raised by clients is the use of facial recognition in schools and whether this technology may encroach on the human rights of students – specifically, their privacy. Strong imagery and fear tactics point to facial recognition technology, in that it may be misused by some organisations or governments.

At SchoolBench, we take these concerns seriously and is at the heart of our solution. We often discuss this and the value it provides a school. Our approach has resulted in an ever-growing list of happy customers.

Key in this debate is that the information, data and referencing remains at the school. No outside organisations can access or use the information without the school’s consent. It is the school’s data, plain and simple, and no one owns or have any copyright over the images. This is a fundamental reason why SchoolBench is the superior choice.

It is important to remember why SchoolBench uses facial recognition in the first place.

Its purpose is threefold.

Firstly, facial recognition of images is used to protect the privacy of students who appear in images.

Additionally, the technology provides the school with a level of compliance in relation to Australia’s stringent privacy policies.

Lastly, it provides confidence to parents by automatically applying their media consent to each image of their child.

By using this technology as part of the solution, SchoolBench is contributing positively and proactively to ensure peace of mind, and media consent becomes a key property and identifier for all images in SchoolBench, not just today, but in years to come.

Should the law change, so will the stringent parameters of what information photos need to contain, to not only be publishable but also be searchable.

If the image has no clear permission level, you simply don’t use it in any external communications, be that social, print or other community media.

With the added security layer of the school owning all the images, the governance processes a school sets in place underpin how images are used. SchoolBench places that control into the hands of the marketers, business or school administrators responsible for using and publishing photos or videos.

SchoolBench policies about facial recognition satisfying Australia’s privacy laws, and parent consent has been an overwhelming driver and a key uptake reason for the product’s success.

Mr Kieren Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Parashift and the company behind SchoolBench, said,

“While all organisations have a duty to ensure the privacy of Australians are kept at the forefront of their business dealing, facial recognition technology serves a tremendous purpose in streamlining the management and use of images by the thousands of schools in Australia for communication, business, marketing and community communication purposes. Like all technologies, there are risks, and SchoolBench has been designed to address these from the get-go.”

“The ability to use smart technology to provide our schools and parents with control on where and how student images are used is a primary focus for our clients and their governance process,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

As an Australian solution, SchoolBench proves facial recognition of children in schools can have positive effects and provides privacy and safety for children and parents alike. The technology will grow and adapt according to the evolution of the product and in line with Australian privacy and human rights laws.

Your opinion counts, so if you would like to drop us a line on this subject, click here.

Feature feedback

This month we share the three most valued SchoolBench functions that Trinity College in Adelaide has found since adopting the solution in January 2019.

The pain points that are being overcome include:

  • not having to rename images and to encode metadata is resulting in an enormous amount of time being saved by the school.
  • One single system, that being one application, one repository, one place where all imagery is stored and accessed. In Trinity College’s own words, “So much better than images stored all over the place on all sorts of devices.”
  • Colour coding because an instant visual identifier of parental consent, or no consent or unknown consent, is just a mouse hover away. Quick, nimble and efficient.

What’s your favourite SchoolBench functionality?

Reportage – the Singapore report

Our team attended EduTech Asia earlier this month and what a show it was!

The SchoolBench stand “popped” in colour and activity as educators, marketers, technology staff and government personnel including our very own Austrade and Australian High Commission, stopped by to learn about SchoolBench, what is does, how and what this solution could mean for their school. We learnt a lot about our South East Asian neighbours’ media assets and record compliance needs. The conversations were fast and furious.

Client Director, Henri Guillaume, delivered an extremely well attended talk on day two of the conference: Photo and Video Management in the Age of the Internet. The evolution in media, volume of data, regulatory challenges and how to navigate this new paradigm were hot topics that elicited many questions. The talk was followed by many of the delegates making a beeline to the SchoolBench stand where interest piqued, business cards were exchanged and appointments booked for future discovery discussions.

Photo: The SchoolBench team in full swing at EduTech Asia 2019, Singapore


Needless to say, the conversations had and insights gleaned have opened greater awareness for SchoolBench’s application in the South East Asian region.

We know this because the team uncovered the same pain points schools in Australia have and are discovering and the risk associated with storage and use of student imagery needs to have the same risk factors overcome, regardless of geographical boundaries.

We are looking forward to showcasing SchoolBench’s versatility to an international audience regardless of geographical boundaries.

The winner is …

We had a very happy and radiant Alice Tidmarsh, Director of Marketing and Admissions at St Aidan’s Girls’ Grammar School in Brisbane, send us this photo recently. Alice attended and met us at the EducatePlus Brisbane conference earlier this financial year. We had an insightful discussion and demonstration. Post conference and hey presto, Alice’s business card was randomly selected as the lucky winner of our giveaway Kindle. Congratulations Alice!


Photo: Alice Tidmarsh is the lucky winner of a Kindle from our EducatePlus Brisbane conference stand. Congratulations Alice!


Share your story

We love hearing your stories about your digital media management experiences within your school community. What hurdles are you facing with your current photo library? Does your school even have one? Can you find what you need and fast? How has SchoolBench made your life easier? What else would you like SchoolBench to do?

If you have a success story you would like to share with the SchoolBench community, drop us a line.

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

SchoolBench – smart + simple + safe

SchoolBench media management tracking improvements

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Feature Updates

The SchoolBench community asks, and we continue to deliver. As part of the SchoolBench community, each school receives regular updates to features that are available as part of their subscription to this smart and safe media management solution. Much work has been done to ensure SchoolBench media management tracking capabilities are even more extensive.

We are pleased to announce version 11 of SchoolBench is available.

SchoolBench media management tracking improvements and a hot tip

Have you ever been asked to find every photo a student has appeared in over their entire school history? Sounds like a time-consuming job without SchoolBench.

With the latest enhancement, you can easily capture and find photos of a student’s entire educational journey in seconds.

We have tweaked the tracking capabilities to enable images of a student to be captured across their years of involvement at the school. This hinges on the practice of making sure that the profile image, including newly introduced Reference Points, are tagged with the year they were taken in, for example, 2019.

When photographers take class photos, they don’t necessarily set the camera to the appropriate date and time. We have also found some student information systems stripping out the time and date stamp when the photo was taken.

TIP:      Remember to check the date when importing photos into SchoolBench and correct it as needed.

HOW:   Select all the current profile images, set the year in the Year Field which is located under the School Tab, in the Form View.

NEED HELP? Check your documentation first, send an email to Support, or bank it for your follow up calls.


Improvements to searching in the Virtual View

Finding what you need is one of the key benefits of using SchoolBench, so we have expanded the way you can laser in when searching your digital assets.

  • You can select multiple facets at once to filter your results:



  • You can also exclude facets when filtering results:


SchoolBench Media Management Tracking – Reference Points

Sometimes, you want to indicate that a student is in an image, but if the student’s image is blurry, you don’t want to make this a reference point as this would affect facial recognition accuracy results in the future.

We have now broken out reference points to their own status so you can clearly see what SchoolBench is using as reference points and manage them accordingly.

This means that if a reference point is blurry, you may want to remove it, but still state who the student is for future searches. Of course, you can still create reference points when verifying faces in photos:


The Bounding Box menus

You can now verify that students are in an image, without marking them as reference points, by right-clicking in the bounding box and verifying them.

If the face of the student is “a good one” (different stance from the profile image, in focus, etc), you may want to use it to train SchoolBench, by right-clicking on the bounding box, and selecting Verify and Create Reference Point:


The third option in the menu allows you to bulk verify students – see below.

Bulk Verify Faces

You can now verify faces in bulk for profiles, which is useful to resolve the “is this…?” bounding boxes.


To all our Customers, if you would like to view the full range of updates recently released, visit What’s New in the 11.0.0 Release in your online documentation when you upgrade.


Singapore Bound

We are crossing the great divide, flying over the Indian Ocean, across the Java Sea and pitching our exhibitor stand at this year’s EduTech Asia held on 5 and 6 November in Singapore.

SchoolBench is excited to announce the solution has national and international reach and application.

The versatility of SchoolBench enables a school to increase their productivity, security and governance, while vastly improving communication with their community.

At conferences, school staff approach us to learn more about how we can solve their pain points and show them what the solution can do for their school.
We are looking forward to demonstrating SchoolBench’s versatility to an international audience regardless of geographical boundaries.

We will be showcasing case studies completed for Pulteney Grammar School’s use of SchoolBench for their rich history and abundant archival collection and Seymour College’s approach to satisfying parental privacy concerns given the exponential growth in photos and videos.


Share your Story with Us

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

What hurdles are you facing with your photo libraries? Can you find what you need in a timely manner?

How has SchoolBench made your life easier?

If you have a SUCCESS STORY you would like to share with the SchoolBench community, drop us a line.

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



SchoolBench – a smart, simple and safe solution to managing digital media for schools




Developments in video facial recognition and mobile app

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Video Facial Recognition
On average, the top mediums of communication used by schools, e-newsletters and social media, has brought ever increasing challenges for school professionals.
Did you know, that by 2022, Cisco research predicts that video will be 15 times higher than it was in 2017 and will represent 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
Additionally, a staggering 95% of the message is retained when video is used. This statistic denotes a move in communication from text and image to video, and is beginning to change the marketing and communication landscape, specifically for schools who are operating in an increasingly competitive market.

Mobile App
SchoolBench is soon to release a mobile application that aims to engage teachers and parents as an additional source of photo and video media production for your school.
SchoolBench in turn becomes the central point of storage for digital assets and retains the publishing permissions for any such submissions, using your SIS (Synergetic, TASS and many more) as the source of truth.
This means, if a family member captures a great photo of their child winning the relay on sports day, SchoolBench has the ability to apply the permissions on that child and any others in the photo or video, to protect the school, prior to sharing.

Together with video facial recognition, we are in the process of developing and fine tuning these developments. 

Great news! – Edumate Integration
SchoolBench has completed yet another successful integration with the student information system, Edumate. Roseville College and St Lukes Grammar in NSW are using SchoolBench to manage their digital assets (video and photos).

What does this mean? 
In addition to Synergetic, TASS, Simon, Maze and PC Schools, schools that now use Edumate can now provide student data automatically to SchoolBench for your images and movies including student identification, media consent and even identifying the activity from your calendar.

Share your SchoolBench story
The team at SchoolBench is working hard to provide regular enhancements by engaging with and understanding the challenges faced by schools. 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. By sharing you could win a Gold Class movie voucher for two, redeemable in your state.


SchoolBench – A smart, simple and safe solution to managing digital media for schools


SchoolBench – The Caesar Augustus Release

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August, the month named after Rome’s first and arguably most successful emperor, Caesar Augustus. Parashift are pleased to confirm that SchoolBench v10.1.0 will soon be released and it includes a handful of awesome new features, all heavily requested by our growing list of client schools.

Colour Configuration
You can now specify colour coding for your assets in SchoolBench’s Admin Panel.
Easily match against field values such Media Consent, for a quick visual way to filter photos.

And the results view:


New Other Names
SchoolBench now captures alternative names that students and teachers may be known by, e.g. nicknames.


This allows you to specify Nicknames or other preferred names of profiles and use them when searching:


Shift + Click to select blocks of images
You can now shift + click to select blocks of items rather than clicking and dragging through them:

Version 10 has arrived!

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SchoolBench V10

Version 10 has arrived, and for all SchoolBench clients, simply visit the admin panel to upgrade to the latest release. Here’s a summary of the new features available, improvements, and two new student management systems that can integrate to SchoolBench.

Multiple Calendars are now supported


New Members to Integration Family

SchoolBench can now integrate two new SIS’, Edumate & PCSchool


Rendition Download

If you have defined a rendition in the admin panel, you can now download the rendition alongside the original:


HEIC and HEIF formats are now supported


Facial Recognition



The system is now much less hungry on resources to run thanks to the creativity of our tech team!


Resizing of Photos

SchoolBench will resize photos that are too large when initially finding faces. We found that the RAM usage of large photos was causing the service to perform sluggishly with no added benefit.

After faces are found, the full resolution face is used for comparison.


Admin Panel

If you want to increase performance of face detection, you can now choose the number of tasks to run in parallel and size threshold:

The “Winter is Coming” Release

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Winter is coming SchoolBench release

Parashift will be launching version 9 of SchoolBench this week. Our move to more regular releases continues unabated and winter is no exception. For schools yet to joint the SchoolBench family, “as Ygritte said “you know nothing Jon Snow”.

The GOT inspired release includes two great new features and some minor bug fixes.

New Features

Information Continuity – Attach metadata from your original digital asset to derivative versions.

SchoolBench metadata mapping to derivative

Naming Captions – To assist the identification of multiple people in photos, SchoolBench now enables users to further classify people by location (e.g. row) as well as their position in the school e.g. student/teacher, all of which is then presented in a legend associated to the image

Naming Caption

Naming Caption



EduTech Sydney June 6-7th 2019

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EduTech 2019

Parashift, the makers of SchoolBench will be at the 2019 EduTech conference in Sydney 6-7th June.

Come to our stand #541 and meet SchoolBench’s Technical Director, Peter Lesty for an insightful and deep dive into the technology being adopted by schools all across Australia, as well as hear what on the cards for the future.

Parashift’s EduTech 2019 Special Discount