Hele’s is an aspirational school where high standards and high expectations are nurtured. Visitors frequently comment on the calmness of the school. It is a safe and caring place, and where students show high levels of social responsibility, helping others around them, and contributing to the community and world around them. Courtesy, collaboration and co-operation are the hallmarks of the school community. With 500 PCs and 100 laptops, it is essential that Hele’s School has the tools in place to carefully control its network and online learning environment.
Hele’s had several software solutions in place, each addressing a different aspect of network and classroom management. Batch files had been written utilising PCTools to shutdown dormant PCs (saving on power), and RM Tutor was in place to control lessons in computer rooms where multiple PCs were in operation. Rather than being alerted to violations on the network or being able to run quick reports, staff would have to dig around and find the information they required, which often proved time consuming and ineffective. In 2012, Hele’s School wanted to move away from the managed system they had been using, in addition to upgrading to Windows 7 on the desktop machines.
After speaking with other local schools who had made similar choices, the school’s Network Manager felt that Impero Education Pro would provide the tools required for effective classroom management, simple print management and speedy remote support. The consolidated nature of the software would serve to replace several standalone solutions and would automate a range of manual or time-consuming processes, whilst keeping students focused on their learning and safe from potential risk.
Following a demo in October 2011, Hele’s School commenced a trial of Impero Education Pro in February 2012 and the Network Manager was so impressed that she placed an order. A member of Impero’s technical support team connected to the Hele’s School network to assist with the installation, which went very smoothly. They also spent some time ensuring staff were comfortable using the application and provided training on the software’s functionality.
Since implementing Impero Education Pro, Hele’s School has realised several benefits including:
focuses learning – a comprehensive suite of classroom management tools enables straightforward, simple and trouble-free control. Teachers can ensure that students remain on task; provide on-screen assistance to those who need it; lock screens when students need to be looking at the whiteboard; or broadcast their own screen if they wish to demonstrate a task.
keeps students safe – a combination of live thumbnail view, keyword detection and violation alerts helps staff across the school to provide an enhanced digital learning environment, while safeguarding students.
saves time – remote control functionality allows the IT technicians to provide remote support to staff and students. Technicians can view a user’s desktop for visibility of the exact issue a user is experiencing, along with any error message, saving a considerable amount of time.
Q&A with Sally Cammann, Network Manager
how has Impero been beneficial to you in role?
The ability to support users remotely – to actually view error messages on the screen rather than having issues reported verbally (and sometimes inaccurately) – enables myself and the wider IT Support team to respond to and resolve technical issues quickly. We can take control of a user’s PC in order to troubleshoot a problem, without having to leave our desks in many cases, which saves us huge amounts of time and shoe leather! We use the power management feature to schedule shutdown of dormant PCs, saving us more time, as well as saving energy and reducing costs for the school. Technical problems with the software are also very rare, which is vital for streamlining network management, and this is where other solutions we’ve used have failed.
how has Impero helped to improve teaching and learning?
The live thumbnails of student machines allows teaching staff to have an overview of their students’ activity, which helps to ensure that all students are on task and kept safe. Knowing that they are being watched, students are also more likely to use the PCs responsibly. Since implementing Education Pro, students have become more engaged with their lessons and are less likely to be distracted by the attractions of the internet. In particular, visually impaired students benefit from having the teacher’s screen broadcast to their own laptops, where they can see it more easily than the whiteboard at the front of the class. The user interface is extremely clear and intuitive; when new teachers join the school, they have a brief introduction to Impero and within a day or two are using it confidently to manage their classes in computer rooms.
what are the next steps?
We are currently looking at using more elements of Impero Education Pro, such as the Confide system, to provide our students with a method of disclosure should they need to report any concerns they have about themselves or another student.
how would you sum up the software?
It just works!