Explore Helpful Tips for 1:1 Tech Initiatives
This year, schools all over the nation found themselves adjusting to a new remote learning environment, with very little time to adapt. 2020 saw many districts expanding or creating 1:1 programs with difficult circumstances, various limitations, and minimal preparation.
We’ve been amazed by stories from school districts like yours. Hear from two industry professionals, Michael Carter, Network Administrator for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, and Brady Daugherty, Technology Specialist of Neosho School District, and learn about their experiences with 1:1. These two very different districts managed to navigate their 1:1 with simple best practices and learned valuable lessons along the way.
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS)
SBCSS implemented the asset management system TIPWeb-IT. SBCSS is unique because they support alternative education, special education, and juvenile hall. They also oversee San Bernardino County, is the largest county by area in the United States, spanning over 20,000 square miles.
When COVID first started, SBCSS had never implemented a 1:1; Michael Carter, Network Admin for SBCSS, discussed his reaction when shutdowns became a reality.
“The first thing on my plate was, how are we going to track these devices going outside our building?” says Michael. “Getting Hayes was critical; we moved some funds. In three weeks, we implemented TIPWeb-IT.”
Once TIPWeb-IT was implemented, they pulled inventory from the seven systems they were previously using to track assets such as Chromebooks, laptops, PC, and iPads. These assets data was input into TIPWeb-IT d, with the help of the Hayes team, and SBCSS began pushing devices out.
Implementing a 1:1 with such short notice amid a pandemic was difficult, but by the time summer came around, things worked much smoother, and devices were assigned to students with ease.
SBCSS is located in California, which has rigorous reporting standards. Thanks to reports generated with TIPWeb-IT, Michael Carter was able to gather information and answer questions such as:
- Are all of our special education students being serviced?
- Do they have devices?
- What kind of devices?
- Is there still a need for these devices?
- What’s the status of advice?
Answering these questions was critical to filling loss mitigation funds and ensuring that students can access the technology they need for their education. Distribution was another challenged the school system needed to solve.
Since San Bernardino County is so massive that it is larger than 9 American states, their size makes distribution more challenging; many smaller districts can use traditional methods such as drive-throughs and walk-ups, but that wouldn’t work for a school district of SBCSS’s size.
In the summer of 2020, Hayes rolled out an update to help school districts tackle the unknown of the new semester. These features were built to support school administrators as they prepared device assignments for the upcoming academic year. We designed these COVID-19-related features to support your school district with enhanced functionality, oversight, and access.
Michael Carter explains why this update was so important:
“This update allowed us not to have to move technology to the location of the student; it allowed us to issue that technology regardless of where it was, and have the automatic transfer happen behind the scenes. That allowed us to print barcode student lists, put those in locations all around the county, and allow people to deliver the technology and track it.”
Learn more about the COVID-19 release that provided school districts with enhanced functionality, oversight, and access. Resources for Your Reopening: Hayes Software Systems is Here for You.
Neosho School District
The Neosho School District serves a more traditional student base, and unlike SBCSS, they’ve had a 1:1 system in place for quite some time for their middle school and high school students.
They faced difficulty at the beginning of the pandemic because their K-6 students didn’t take devices home.
To make matters worse, when schools began closing in 2020, Neosho was getting back from spring break, meaning that the technology department lost out on a week of preparation. When the staff came back, they put their heads together to create a solution as to how they would get these devices into the hands of students.
The team created two device checkout locations staffed by ten people. Neosho School Technician Brady Daugherty credits the TIPWeb-IT 10.5 update as a “lifesaver” when moving devices from buildings to students.
Learn more about how the Neosho School District streamlined their 1:1 with TIPWeb-IT.
Lessons Learned: 1:1 Initiative Best Practices
Michael Carter and Brady Daugherty share some of the best practices that their school districts have implemented throughout this journey, in the hopes that it helps other schools.
Ensure Easy Access to Device Details
Create consistent naming conventions before importing assets. Even something as minor as avoiding multiple spellings of a single asset type, such as “Chromebook” versus “Chrome Book” can be crucial. Various spellings of the same item may lead to a lot of duplicates and confusion.
To avoid this, take the time to standardize inventory by defining naming conventions and assigning a single point of contact for creating catalog items before the start of the project.
Different Device Models for Different Grade Levels
Neosho uses a method where they distribute specific learning devices depending on grade levels and buildings, which means identifying where certain types of devices belong is incredibly easy. Without scanning anything, Neosho’s IT department members can instantly know where a device belongs.
Asset Tags Supply Info via TIPWeb-IT
With asset tags assigned to devices within your school asset manager, a tag can be scanned and quickly show the device information. Asset tags create easy access to TIPWeb-IT reports in your school district.
Organized Storage Systems
Before 1:1 became the standard, Neosho’s technology storage room was organized alphabetically, utilizing spreadsheets. Each student was assigned a device that would be theirs throughout high school, only being returned during the summer.
This process was incredibly cumbersome because, each new school year, staff would need to go to the storage room and look for a student’s name on a white tag, hanging from a shelf alongside 1500 other white tags.
They changed this system and began organizing numerically, using tags attached to each student case numbered 1-1500. Each tag is assigned to a student, so a staff member has to pull their tag through their ID number, cutting down the process from several minutes to under 30 seconds.
Roles, People, Process, and Procedures
Neosho’s technology department consists of 8 or 9 staff members. When checking out devices, the team divides and conquers, with a few individuals managing check-out via TIPWeb-IT. Simultaneously, the other half will run to offices to grab devices or act as the face of the operation, fielding questions from students and their families.
SBCSS also underwent training with the Hayes team to teach staff how to become savvy with TIPWeb-IT. Michael Carter and his team passed this training down to the alternative education groups, giving them a high-level overview of how to issue and collect devices.
Defining roles based on skills and providing stakeholders training is key to a smooth 1:1 technology implementation.
Clean Data In, Clean Data Out
Accurate data entry is key to getting useful information out of TIPWeb-IT or any asset management system.
Brady’s biggest piece of advice is to “make sure the data you’re importing is good if you want favorable results.”
To give you confidence in the data you’re putting in and establish a baseline, Hayes offers physical audits of all district assets to provide you with confidence in the data coming out of TIPWeb-IT.
Learn more about the benefits of conducting a physical inventory.
“One of the best features of TIPWeb-IT is its ability to pull out reports very quickly,” says Brady. “It’s important to stay on top of tracking the status of assets throughout their lifecycle, determining whether those devices are disposed of, lost, damaged, in repair, or if they’re still an active asset. If you stay on top of updating statuses, the reporting has been enough for whatever we need to do.”
Showing these status reports to the board proves the efficacy of their program.
With reporting features in TIPWeb-IT, school districts are also able to track assets through their lifecycle. Administrators can determine in advance what devices are becoming obsolete and need to be retired. By monitoring the lifecycle, schools can be proactive instead of reactive and create a plan to replace aging assets.
Hold Staff and Students Accountable
TIPWeb-IT integrates with other systems and reports on change status, funding, purchase information, and more. These features allow you to expand oversight and maintain a big picture view of your districts’ assets.
To keep students and parents accountable, TIPWeb-IT allows technicians and administrators to track fees for breakage or lost devices.
When a student owes a fee, it will show in the homeroom field when looking up that student.
If your school also has a policy for a certain number of free breaks or lost devices, you can build your fee structure into the software and track many remaining free breaks or lost devices a student has or how much they owe.
This data follows the student, not the device, so when a device is repaired and issued to a new student, the number of breaks on that device for the new student will be zero.
Integrated Help Desk to Support Users
By integrating inventory management with your other systems, you can enrich the data and information users can access, allowing greater oversight, enhanced access, and increased efficiencies. Hayes Software Solutions integrations connect school district data from disparate systems to a centralized device tracking platform.
With uncertainty still lingering and devices always moving, districts are adopting best practices to mitigate loss and ensure student safety. The global pandemic presented some unique challenges, but schools everywhere have proven their ability to adapt to difficult circumstances.
As a result, districts have learned how to manage assets better, improve processes, and prepare for the future with the help of inventory systems like TIPWeb-IT.
Hayes is focused on supporting students and staff in a new and continuously changing learning environment. Our goal is to make sure districts have the tools they need for take-home, collection, device planning, and remote access to be possible; all while saving time, money, and resources.
TIPWeb-IT empowers you to work smarter by efficiently managing district and campus inventory in a single solution. Eliminate repetitive manual data entry, tedious paper processes, and information silos with cloud-based software that makes it easy to report what you own, where it’s located, and how it’s being used.