Technology is rapidly encroaching on every aspect of life, but no sector has taken the initiative to innovate and run with it quite like education. School districts across the country are implementing sweeping tech programs aimed at enhancing learning and improving test scores. Students are embracing the more tech-centric approaches, as the programs bring in devices and programs the kids are already familiar with to increase engagement.
Teachers, too, appear to be excited about the changes. According to a recent survey conducted by digital education company TES Global, 96 percent of teachers in the U.S. think new technologies play a significant role in their classrooms. Not only do teachers believe technology is an important tool, but there is proof to back up those claims. A study by the Economic and Social Research Institute found that, on average, students who used the Internet in the classroom had significantly higher scores in math and reading than peers without online access.
Many schools are eager to experience these benefits and are deploying hardware and software before realizing they do not have the necessary resources to operate and maintain such an infrastructure. Florida’s Gilchrist County School District was one such district that ran into issues after attempting to deploy a high volume of workstations.
Too many computers, not enough help
Gilchrist serves nearly 3,000 students across four schools in two towns – with only three IT team members. Operating thousands of workstations across such a wide area is quite the task for such a small team, and it caused problems for Gilchrist Director of Instructional Technology Aaron Wiley and his colleagues. The main concerns the IT department had were regarding system maintenance and update times, as any lengthy outage was extremely disruptive with such a large number of users relying on the network.
The team found it difficult to keep computers up to date with the regular updates provided for programs like Flash and Shockwave. Putting anti-virus software in place was even more complex, as the process was incredibly labor intensive and slowed workstations down dramatically.
“Every time something went wrong on a machine, the first thing we did was turn off the antivirus because it was so hard to handle – it got very aggravating,” said Wiley.
Deep Freeze Cloud Connector makes IT easier to maintain
Realizing the district needed help, Wiley reached out to the team from Faronics to help make things more manageable. After evaluating the needs of the district, Faronics’ expert service providers determined Gilchrist would benefit the most from implementing Deep Freeze Cloud Connector. The district already employed the Deep Freeze Enterprise program, allowing them to keep better tabs on their machines and do more with the limited man power they had to work with. By adding Cloud Connector, Wiley and his team were able to connect all of their consoles in the cloud and manage the district’s thousands of workstations from anywhere.
“I can pull up a list of computers in a group and see their status,” explained Wiley. “Are they up to date? Is there anything I need to worry about that’s not being updated? Is everything included in their profile? It provides a great snap shot.”
Cloud Connector’s Software Updater feature proved to be especially beneficial for Wiley and his team, as it allows popular software to be updated from a central management console. Maintenance periods were also able to be specifically customized for each school based on individual needs and special events, like parent open houses, could be accommodated and IT adjustments made in real-time as needed.