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The Power of Automation in Education with Matthew Peterson

The Power of Automation in Education with Matthew Peterson

In a recent video tutorial presented by Matthew Peterson, senior trainer at Pragmatic Works, viewers are introduced to the powerful capabilities of Power Automate within the context of educational administration. This episode, part of the "Intro to Power Platform for Educators" series, focuses specifically on how educators can utilize automation to handle routine communication tasks, such as sending scheduled emails to multiple recipients. Below is a detailed summary of the key points covered in the tutorial:

Overview of the Scenario

  • Problem Statement: Educators often spend significant time on administrative tasks, such as updating parents about financial aspects of school events.
  • Solution Introduced: Power Automate is used to automate these communications, drastically reducing the time spent on such tasks.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Power Automate

Setting Up the Automation
  • Accessing Power Automate: Matthew begins by navigating to make.powerautomate.com, where users can create different types of automated workflows known as 'flows'.
  • Choosing the Flow Type: He selects a 'Scheduled Flow' as the trigger for the automation, which allows emails to be sent on a predefined schedule, such as weekly.
  • Naming and Scheduling the Flow: The flow is named 'Scheduled Email' and set to run every Friday at 10 AM to match the specific needs of the scenario.
Configuring the Flow
  • Adding Actions to the Flow: The first action added is 'Get Items' from a SharePoint list, which holds data like student names, parent contacts, and payment details.
  • Setting Up Email Notifications: Using the 'Send an Email V2' action, Matthew configures the flow to send personalized emails to each parent based on the dynamic content pulled from SharePoint.
Personalizing Communications
  • Content of the Emails: The email template includes dynamic fields for the parent's name, amount paid, total cost, and outstanding balance, ensuring each message is tailored to the recipient's specific situation.
  • Loop for Individual Emails: An 'Apply to Each' loop is implemented so that emails are sent individually to each parent, enhancing the personal touch of the communication.

Benefits of Automation in Education

  • Efficiency: Automation significantly cuts down the time required to manage repetitive communication tasks.
  • Consistency: Scheduled flows ensure that all necessary communications are sent timely and regularly without the need for manual intervention.
  • Personalization: Despite the automated process, the ability to use dynamic content helps in maintaining a personal connection with the recipients.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

  • Testing the Flow: Matthew advises testing the flow to ensure its proper functionality before full deployment.
  • Encouragement to Adopt Automation: He encourages educators to consider how automation can be applied in other areas of their work to improve efficiency and effectiveness.


Matthew wraps up the video by highlighting the importance of embracing technology to streamline educational processes. He also reminds viewers to subscribe to Pragmatic Works’ channel for more insightful tutorials that simplify technology use in education.

This episode not only demonstrates a practical use of Power Automate but also serves as an inspiring example for educators looking to reduce the administrative burden through technology. As Matthew Peterson aptly shows, even a simple automation can reclaim hours each week, allowing educators to focus more on teaching and less on administrative tasks.

Don't forget to check out the Pragmatic Works' on-demand learning platform for more insightful content and training sessions on Power Automate and other Microsoft applications. Be sure to subscribe to the Pragmatic Works YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on the latest tips and tricks.

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